So, it’s time for the annual rites of spring in mid-Michigan. Clean the garage, plant some flowers, put away your winter clothes, oh, and keep your car from falling into a pothole. Outside of avoiding the potholes, what happens when you live in a condo and some of those “rights” of spring are taken away from you? Well, for my wife Brenda and me, who just celebrated our six month anniversary of moving back to Lansing, we’re going through a little home improvement withdrawal. You see, we moved into a condo with a short-term lease until we could begin our search for our new home. Living in a condo certainly has its benefits, more so in the warmer months when you can relax by the pool and not sweat behind a lawnmower, although shoveling snow is another spectator activity I’m fine with. But when it comes to the planting of flowers or the quest for a well-manicured lawn, we are both going through landscaping envy. For me, the pursuit of the perfectly manicured lawn bordered on fanatical. Looking back, I recall how as a kid growing up in Haslett that I disliked mowing the lawn. I would have been far happier if my father asked me to stick a hot poker in my eye. What was I thinking? As I matured and became a homeowner myself, a newly found sense of pride to have the best lawn in my neighborhood overtook me. I became obsessive: watering, fertilizing, cutting, trimming, admiring, and more watering, fertilizing, cutting, trimming, admiring, a little more admiring. What a wonderfully vicious cycle I enjoyed. Being a farm girl from Indiana, Brenda enjoys getting her hands dirty, planting flowers and maintaining her flower beds throughout the growing season. I can recall many epic battles she had with the Japanese Beetles who found her lush carpet roses too delicious to pass up, their meals cut short as Brenda, armed with her bug sprayer and a steely determination, would look to ruin their appetite. Just picture in your mind Bill Murray’s character and the troublesome gopher from the movie Caddyshack, only this time it’s Brenda and the Japanese Beetles. Luckily for me, explosives were not involved. So, how do we get our fix on our “rights” of spring? For me, I just wind down my car window when I pass a freshly mown lawn and breathe in a chest full of summertime. As for Brenda it’s a little trickier. If you look out your window and see an Indiana farm girl with dirty hands and big smile in your garden, please send her home.
Pete Ruffing is the Sales Director at M3 Group in downtown Lansing. He and his wife of 14 years Brenda live in Okemos.