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November 3, 2013

KNISELY: Mother is a bad influence

As the months have passed since I made the transition from apartment dweller to house dweller, I’ve made no secret about my growing disdain for yard work. By that, I mean I have complained profusely about it.

But as autumn has been settling in, I have noticed something unsettling about the type of yard work I am having to do lately. I have noticed a distinct shift in work caused by my own volition and work caused by my neighbors.

During the summer months, I had to weed my garden and mow my grass. The operative word in those sentences is “my.” If it is work I have caused myself, such as planting the garden in the first place, I will gladly do it. OK, gladly is probably too strong a word.

But now, as the days grow shorter and the temperatures drop, I’m raking leaves that fell from my neighbor’s tree to the west and picking up walnuts that fell from a neighbor’s tree to the east. I am paying in both directions for the poor plant choices made by others. I find this to be unfair and just plain unneighborly.

For reasons I can’t fathom, my mother decided she wanted the walnuts that were trespassing on my lawn. “The squirrels will love them,” she said.

For even more reasons I can’t fathom, I don’t have squirrels. I have a gazillion walnuts and no squirrels. My mother has zero walnuts and a gazillion squirrels. I argued that instead of me picking up the walnuts and her hauling them home, she should load up her squirrels and bring them to my house. I thought this was a brilliant plan. She did not.

So, since she wasn’t willing to take one for the team and become a professional squirrel wrangler, I set out to gather the walnuts. After about an hour of crawling on my hands and knees, filling bucket after bucket of walnuts, mom shows up to claim the fruits of my labor.

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