My roommates and I had our lawn mowed Thursday for the first time in a year and a half.
“How do you let it get to that point?” my mom asked as though I said I hadn’t showered in a year and a half. I responded, “I live with three girls, we’re full-time students, we all have jobs and try to maintain somewhat of a social life and mowing the lawn is not too high on my priority list, Mother.”
We got away with it for most of the year and a half. Sure, it looked tacky, but so do a few houses around the corner, so why does it matter? We thought the snow and ice would kill most of the grass around the time it reached 3 feet, but we were wrong and looked even more tacky with 3 feet of brown brush surrounding our house. Taking out the trash became a chore because no one wanted to trek through the jungle and get those awful pricklies all over them, so trash began to build up, and after the skunk, a buildup of trash was the last thing we needed in our house. The skunk probably chose our house to spray because he felt protected by the lush vegetation surrounding his burrow. Every couple of days one of us would say, “Wow, we need to get the lawn mowed.” The rest of us would glance outside, raise our eyebrows and nod and go back to what we were doing.
Spring came around, and when we thought it couldn’t get any worse, the weeds bloomed.
We’d heard rumors about getting fined by the city for having such a revolting yard, and our neighbors are trying to sell but probably aren’t having much luck because of the “ugly house.” By the grace of God, a gentleman with a mowing business left his business card with a reasonable estimate on our front door, and on Thursday, I took a stand.
The poor guy didn’t realize we had a backyard and said he would have doubled the rate, but he was kind enough to stick to his original price. He did, however, leave me with a chilling statement: “The city is charging $500 fines for yards that look like this with no warning. It’s a miracle you haven’t gotten one yet.” Not only was he saving us $500, he was doing it for a price that made us feel we were robbing him blind. I wanted to embrace him, figured that might be too much and instead eagerly wrote him a check and made conversation to get to know this saint of a man. Unfortunately, he wasn’t much for small talk; he had plenty of work to do and seemed a bit intimidated by it.
It took about three minutes to pick up the phone and call the number on the business card – it wasn’t a difficult thing to do. But we could always find better things to do, and we always will find better things to do, deadlines to meet and assignments to finish. That tiny effort made our house look brand new.
We immerse ourselves in school and forget there’s a world of duties outside of our ACU obligations that we can’t forget about: getting the oil changed and the tires rotated, paying the bills on time, taking out a semester’s worth of recycling or mowing the lawn. The semester is almost over, and pretty soon, we’ll be left to deal with those non-ACU obligations and wish we could claim homework as an excuse. Don’t forget about the little things; responding to them can make all the difference in the world, and at some point you’ll realize you really don’t have much of a choice. The challenge is learning to not let it reach that point.