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Since the neighbors moved in next door to us with their German shepherd puppy, our neighborhood is awake or asleep when he is. When anything moves outside, he starts barking. If by some miracle they keep him inside for the night, they send him out about 5:45 a.m., and he starts barking. When he barks, their little yappy dog starts, as does the yappy dog to the south of us, and the big dog south of them. And Heaven forbid we send our own dog out into his own back yard…all hell breaks loose (not from Chance, he just wants to go to the bathroom and then come back inside). And my lovely tea table under the tree? I can’t use it until everyone else is ready to be awake, lest the same untrained, unloved, bored pup start in again.

Chance, the world's most mellow dog, and the girls he loves.

Chance, the world’s most mellow dog, and the girls he loves.


Today was a red-letter day. Not only was the neighborhood barkfest on, but we heard the dulcet tones of a leaf blower at 7:15. Who mows lawns and blows leaves at 7:15 in a neighborhood with houses close together? We learned something today, though: By City noise ordinance, gardeners may start work at 7:00 a.m. with impunity. So even though we hate the noise at that hour, it is completely legal. Ugh!

Driving down our street one can tell in an instant who is abiding by the drought-driven water conservation rules. There are two types of lawns: bright green ones (where the owners are cheating and watering at least every-other day) and brown/dead ones (where the owners are complying and watering twice per week…if they remember to do it on the right day). And our across-the-street neighbors and their friends, who enjoy sitting in the front yard drinking bottled beer in the evenings, have somehow missed the memo that says beer bottles should be thrown away when empty. Theirs end up in a pile on the brown dead-grass strip by the sidewalk, adding to the already beautiful view from our front windows. This morning, after waiting two days for them to throw their own bottles away, I walked across the street and picked them up for our recycling. I’m tired of being able to describe our house as “the one with the dead grass across the street from the one with dead grass and empty bottles in the yard”.

Re-reading this, I realize it isn’t my usual unicorns and rainbows message, and if you came expecting one, I apologize. And if you have a suggestion for any of this, I welcome it…just leave me a note in the comments. Here’s to quiet dogs and quieter gardeners.