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April 25, 2013

ABBOTT: Trading one backyard eyesore for another

Why do I have a 250-pound concrete dinosaur in my yard?

The honest answer is because I can.

I’ve always liked the towering green Sinclair dinosaurs, and I was a big fan of Dino on “The Flintstones.”

The story begins with removal of the big Baggie in the back yard, otherwise known as an above-ground pool.

Around here, owning an above-ground pool puts you lower in the food chain than folks with in-ground pools. So one makes excuses, like:

• “It was here when we bought the house, and it was too expensive to take it down.”

• “The kids really wanted it.”

• “We’re too close to the river to dig that deep for an in-ground pool.”

We enjoyed our Doughboy for 12 years. When our son and his friends emptied the nest, the pool sat unused but still needed daily maintenance.

So we took it out, along with the deck that surrounded it. What remained was a giant pile of dirt. I wanted new landscaping in its place, but I kill everything I grow.

We put in a lilac bed, and I added a concrete bird bath and turtle. To my credit, I have yet to kill the lilac beds.

Around the perimeter of the house, we added edging and rocks, several tons of multi-colored rocks. Impossible to kill, and they look great (well for someone who likes “The Flintstones” and kills plants.)

Something was still missing.

We searched in vain all over the tri-state for a replica of the Sinclair dinosaur. Every little burg and ville has a concrete place, where you can buy anything in molded concrete, like a purple hippo or a giant chair shaped like a hand.

I found a pineapple for the front of the house, but no dinosaur.

Finally, a friend from New Albany told me about The Concrete Lady. Her central location is just off Interstate 65 north of Louisville. The Concrete Lady has a Sinclair-type dinosaur right in front of the lot. It weighs about 2 tons. That delivery wasn’t going to happen.

Disappointed that the Sinclair-type dinosaur was not coming home with us, I selected a modest 250-pound concrete dinosaur. We dubbed him Desi (as in the ’60s rock group Dino, Desi and Billy). Desi wouldn’t fit in the back of my 12-year-old little Honda. My friend volunteered her husband’s rattle-trap truck.

On a sweltering summer afternoon my friends delivered Desi.

When they arrived, we were in the sanctuary of our air-conditioned house.

Our friends pulled into the driveway, and within minutes, neighbors hurried over to talk to them. While we are not unpleasant, we don’t know them very well.

They don’t know us either, as they misidentified our hot friends as us, and started talking.

“Really like what you’ve done to your yard! It looks tremendous. We’re so happy that pool [translation: meaning eyesore] is gone.”

Our friends truck didn’t have air conditioning. After the two-hour drive from Louisville with no a/c, they looked like Granny and Jed from “The Beverly Hillbillies.”

Our friends corrected the mistake and came in.

Had the neighbors looked inside the truckbed, they would have discovered Desi.

Desi was moved to a prominent place in our backyard, in full view of the neighbors.

Somehow I’m surmising our neighbors, so delighted over the pool removal, aren’t as happy about the presence of Desi.

Wait until I paint him purple and green this summer!

Amy McVay Abbott is a freelance journalist and author of “The Luxury of Daydreams.” She can be reached at amymcvayabbott@gmail.com.

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