October 24, 2004

Attack of the Gasoline Powered Neighbors of DOOOOOOMMMMM!

When I was a child, there was an unspoken rule amongst the gentle inhabitants of WASP-y suburbia, Southern Chapter: No Mowing On Sunday. There was a little known corollary to that rule, governing the use of lawn mowers prior to 10 a.m. on Saturday mornings, but folks were apt to cut you a tad more slack if you fired up the ol' John Deere at 9:30 or so, particularly in the heat of summer. The No-Mow Sunday Rule, however, was unbreakable. You could rake, plant, seed, clip hedges, or putter all you wanted, but firing up the noisemaking lawn thingamajigs on God's (and in the Fall, the NFL's) day was seriously verboten. And there were consequences for the occasional scofflaw, as well: shunning at the block party! Pointed comments about your clover to fescue ratio! Anonymous lawn service cards left in your mailbox! So the No-Mow covenant was faithfully kept, and we lived and prospered in peace.

I never realized how lucky I was to live in a card-carrying No-Mow community until I moved to the city, and was exposed to heathens who had apparently never heard of the Sacred Sunday No-Mow, or worse, didn't care! At first I was merely politely shocked in the time-honored Southern tradition, and would purse my lips in a moue of disapproval at the tractor jockeys rattling by. Hublet and I soon moved out of the city, however, and I forgot my No-Mow trauma.

Then I had a child. A child whose Sunday siesta (from 1 - 3 p.m.) was a blessed, blessed respite for the entire family. I began to love Sunday afternoons with a passionate intensity formerly reserved for A-Team re-runs and the latest Doom release. As we lived in a quiet suburban development, our Sunday naps and the lazy afternoons following them were a thing of beauty.

And then, the barbarians arrived. First it was one guy who lived up the street a ways, so the faraway droning of the mower wasn't so bad--in fact, it was a nice background white noise that was nice for sleeping. In hindsight, I should have put the kibosh on the fellow at once, because the lack of consequences for this Sunday Mower emboldened others to follow suit. Soon there were leaf blowers, riding mowers, push mowers, power washers, tillers, chainsaws and more gasoline-powered, muffler-challenged Home Depot specials than you could shake a stick at roaring into my Sunday nap. And more importantly, into my DOG'S Sunday nap. See, The Boy can sleep through armageddon. The dog, however, is a high-strung, half-blind light sleeper with the World's Most Annoying (and Frequent) Bark.

Still, I soldiered on, putting the dog in her kennel and a pillow over my head. It wasn't perfect, but it was okay. Until today, when at approximately 2:37 p.m. I was awakened by the following:


Repeated every three minutes for half an hour. I finally gave in to the inevitable and got out of bed to see what the hell was going on, and about two minutes later a helmeted teenager on the World's Stupidest Looking Miniature Motorbike came zipping up the road, arms and knees akimbo. It looked like he was riding an electric blue roller skate suppository. Naturally, his very existence sent the Hell Mutt into a barking frenzy, and our nap time was over.

I carefully marked the driveway he pulled into when he finally ran out of gas (or got the bike lodged completely in his nether regions--both possiblilites being equally likely), and noted that he waved to his father, who was happily (and loudly) blowing pine needles around the lawn. Tomorrow I shall collect business cards from every lawn service within a 50 mile radius. And possibly a few business cards from the local bike (non-motorized) shops as well. And if that doesn't work, the block party is being held weekend after next. Woe betide the No-Mow Lawbreakers! The nappers shall inherit the block!

Posted by Big Arm Woman at October 24, 2004 09:09 PM

There's a lawn mower microphone available at http://rhhardin.home.mindspring.com/lawnmowermic.ram (3 clips) if you need lawnmower sounds.

Also a lawn-scything microphone http://rhhardin.home.mindspring.com/scythemic.ram

Mowless Ohio backyard bird noises June 19 , June 20 , September 5 , October 5 Tranquility is available on the Internet.

Posted by: Ron Hardin at October 25, 2004 04:51 AM

You're pussyfooting around here. Go ahead and lower the boom on them, and sign him up for swimming pool repair or aluminum siding. If you want to be decent, tell them you're going to do that first if they don't stop.

Posted by: Scott Chaffin at October 25, 2004 10:29 PM

As much as I hate the Sunday afternoon leaf-blowers (and seriously - is it THAT much harder to rake?), I'm still suffering from karmic payback from two years ago when I had to replace the roof on my house, and the roofers arrived (unexpectedly by me) at six each morning.

the worst "enforced endurance of noise" I've had to deal with, though, was when they decided it was necessary to jackhammer a patio out of the building where I work. And didn't tell us. And started when I was right in the middle of class in the room right next to it.

Posted by: ricki at October 26, 2004 08:51 AM

Our Yankee neighbor, Godblesshim, cranks up the hedge trimmer at 8am SHARP just under our bedroom window every Saturday and Sunday. Our plan was to gather some of the lengthy trimmings, and sneak out at night to place one long twig poking sky-high from the neatly sheared top. Next morning, he would mow it down. That night, sneak another twig in the same spot...Lather, rinse, repeat. Go visit neighbor in nearby mental hospital. Being mannerly Southerners, though, we didn't follow through and instead laughingly told his wife about our plot. She thought it was hilarious and wished we would have done it. So little time, so many ideas to implement...one of these days...

Posted by: Sally at October 26, 2004 01:30 PM

In our little vision of paradise, you can't do construction (no impact hammers, no nail guns) on Sunday and you aren't supposed to start before 8 the other days.

Most folks cut slack during the summer, though, especially if it going to be over 90 during the day--those guys can start early and knock off early.

Our local constabulary are REALLY good about responding to brat kids riding unauthorized vehicles (and noise there from)--I believe there was either a fatality or a gruesome accident in the district, leading to good enforcement.

So call the local law enforcement during the week--not 911 but the business number--and ask about your recourse.

Posted by: Liz Ditz at October 27, 2004 03:56 PM