Wilder by Far

A look at life with the Wilder family. Updated most weekends and some vacation days. You can contact me at movingnorth@gmail.com..

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Saturday, December 10, 2005

"Remember what you were saying about people in the 'burbs, people who mow their lawn for the 800th time, and then snap? - Tom Hanks, The 'Burbs


No matter what anyone says, I'm not gonna mow this for months. This is, by the way, high noon on a clear day - the sun won't hit any part of our house. You can click on this for a larger version - note the thermometer at -40F.


Well, I know that Thanksgiving is over, but I thought I’d weigh in on one topic that’s near and dear to my heart. I’m thankful I live in Alaska.

I was reading in the news this week about an elderly lady living (where else) but Florida. The officials of her local city had, for some time, attempted to get her to mow her lawn. For whatever reason, she wouldn’t. In a place where property rights meant anything, well, that would be a cue for the local authorities to say, “thanks for listening,” and go do something either useful (find the real killer) or at least not harmful (playing Microsoft Solitaire comes to mind).

The authorities waited 22 years, and then hit her with a bill (when she was 83) for $1.8 million. For not mowing her yard. Admittedly, not mowing your yard for 22 years is a bit much, but the point is that it was her yard. The local town extortionists government noted that there might be “snakes and rats”. As if there aren’t snakes and rats in Florida already. Most of them in her city. In her government.

She plans to fight. Go for it!

This is such a polar (pardon) opposite from Alaska. I cannot imagine that taking place here. We don’t even have snakes (true fact – Alaska’s too cold). Oh, and we try not to take property from little old ladies.

I guess what I’m trying to get across is that after the time I’ve spent up here, I can barely understand that story, and completely fail to understand why there isn’t outrage about the treatment she’s getting. Here, I’ve seen that the majority of residents just want to be left alone and don’t take the time and effort to be nosy about the behaviors of those next to them. On a drive to Fairbanks proper, I often see a house worth several hundred thousands, with a yard as neat as a pin right next to a collection of walls and a roof surrounded by a pile of cars previously owned by Desi Arnaz so large that you’d think you’d reached the mother lode of junky cars from the 1950’s (well, I guess that would be Cuba, but I digress).

That queer combination of neighbors is where I live, and, frankly I like it that way. Don’t you folks down in the lower 48 get tired of all of the rules and regulations that say what you can and can’t do on land that you and the bank own? I know that many locations have gated communities with strong covenants that don’t allow you to put a tree in the wrong place, let alone not mow for 22 years, but that’s a choice that you make when you buy into that conforming location. Doesn’t it bother anyone to have a legion of Gladys Kravitz-type people telling you what color you can paint your porch?

To add some contrast: if I wanted to (and I don’t, really) I could burn all my trash in my front yard. Not sure if it’s legal, but I do know nobody’s checking. I do know my neighbor has done that from time to time, and, well, I’m not offended. I even shared a chat with him while he was doing it.

To give an example of the attitude up here, I met a young (22ish) man who was running a family store. He was wearing an official, government issue looking t-shirt that said,

Alcohol

Tobacco

Firearms

(who brought the chips?)

That’s the prevailing Alaskan attitude. Oh, sure, there are folks (six, I think) up here who don’t know anyone who owns a gun (we call those people bait) and who wear jute sandals to the “Vegans Against Hunting, Drilling, Fishing, and Beer” rally and regularly smoke the reefer. Well, good for them. Alaska’s a big state, and there’s room for all of us. Not so much when one group wants to stick their nose into what some other group does. Go ahead and be against hunting. Just don’t spoil my aim.

Well, in order to show solidarity with that little old lady from Florida, I intend to not mow my lawn for eight months. I’m already three months into this vigil, and will be for the five months until the snow melts.

So, I’m Thankful to be here, Thankful to be Alaskan. Oh, and Thankful for beer.

Next: Wilders Outside.

12 Comments:

Blogger the Witch said...

Just you wait ....

As floriduh gets pounded repeatedly by both hurricanes and community boards, perhaps her residents will flee to the land of personal freedom known as Alaska...

Just you wait - you will tanned folks dressed in cruisewear at any moment now...

Any moment....

2:00 PM  
Blogger Woofwoof said...

How are you going to adjust if they follow that guy's advice and sell Alaska back to the Russians? By the way, I mowed my lawn today. Nobody made me, but it was warm, 60F, and I just had to fire up the mower. For the smell of cut grass, if nothing else.

6:16 PM  
Blogger Jonathan B. Horen said...

Not jute... hemp. And they're "huaraches", not sandals. Yeah, we still listen to Jimmy Buffet; especially his "Floridays" album. And the refer's homegrown, with South American ancestry.

Back to TV Land's 24-hour "Miami Vice" marathon, broadcast in Pastelevision.

9:09 PM  
Anonymous loren97 said...

Its the Jones' fault, always their fault because you gotta keep up with them. Then if you don't, the city smacks you with a fine for decreasing property values. Stupid capitalist consumer society! ;-) Could have used your snowblower here...we got a nice 8 inches of snow. Our Burough mandates that our sidewalks be shovel, that's almost like mowing the grass...

4:59 AM  
Blogger Aaron the Truck Driver said...

i say sue the bitch!

A person who doesn't mow for that long.. Gotta be something going on there.... More to the story..
A lot more I'm guessing.

I don't think anyone would would choose to live next door to that!
IN A CITY!! Or farm even!
Imagine what else might be going on within that home.

After thirty something years of suburban life.. Even if i were in AK.. id like to have the neighbor who puts a little effort into their property/home/life.

I do see what your saying though.

8:55 AM  
Blogger John said...

witch,
Like the swans returning to Vegas, the cruisewearing tanned folks show up every May. The bring lots of nice money!

woof,
Well, like the Russians ever really cared what was going on in Siberia . . .

BTW, nice image. It's 10F here today, and I'm wondering what to do with this bounty of warm weather.

jonathan,
See, the things I learn! Thanks!

loren97,
You have hit the nail on the head - it's spillover property value impact. In Alaska, everybody expects it, but in the lower 48 the darn Jones family expects conformity.

aaron,
I'm thinking you're right. Not many folks with a $1,000,000 do that.

I must say, though, I haven't mowed my 10 acres of forest (and I don't think anyone has for years) so that must decrease my property value . . .

11:27 AM  
Blogger Lady Luck said...

That is a crock!

One, who waits 22 years to mow their lawn?!?! If she wanted to live in a jungle why did she move to the city?

Two, who besides the IRS keeps an ongoing bill for 22 years?!?!

Three, how come the guy next door didn't just mow the lawn for the old woman?!? Even if she didn't want it mowed he could have mowed it while she slept! ;)

6:42 PM  
Blogger Carolyn H said...

Plenty of places down here have the kind of stupid regulations on what you can do on your own land. I know a guy who was fined because he planted one of those "meadows in a can" things in his yard so he wouldn't have to mow.

*I*, on the other hand, moved to a township without zoning, where I have native plant-life right up to the front and side doors of the cabin. I became a rabid anti-mower as a teenager when my father insisted I rake up the lawn clippings from the 4 acres he insisted on mowing. He wasn't forced to mow 4 acres, he wanted to do it.

4:47 AM  
Blogger Woofwoof said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7:41 PM  
Blogger Aaron the Truck Driver said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8:48 PM  
Blogger Aaron the Truck Driver said...

inspired by woof x 2
I wanted to be refered to as AUTHOR.
So i deleted my post too.

And i didnt mean to say bad word.
In public.

*bow*
*nod*
*curtesy*

*Shouts* John W. rules!!!!

8:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, Just reading your blog, very interesting and amusing. We are nurses at the VA in Indiana. Thanks Kim and Rob

9:58 AM  

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