Get Out Of My Yard!

Dear Neighborhood,

How can I put this kindly? Get out of my yard… please? As the warm weather makes its way to Pittsburgh to stay, I am reminded of the baseball season that will begin in my back yard. For those of you who don’t know, we live with our backyard leading up to a park. The ball field is directly behind our yard and last year when baseball season began, Brian’s and my blood pressures rose.

One of the reasons that we bought this house was for the park right behind us. With two young children, what could be better? There is a pavilion,  swings, a slide and monkey bars. It is a decent park and it keeps us from having to splurge on a swing set in our own yard. Why bother when we can walk down the hill for free!

While the park is awesome for us by day, it is right around six o’clock that things start to tense up in my chest. The minivan parade begins down the park driveway and I dread the next two hours. Cars are scattered on the grass and everywhere they can find space all around the park and that includes in front of our house as well. Now I know that the road is public property so it is no trouble to have cars park in front of our house. The bother is when they park on my lawn. Rude to say the least!

Once parked everywhere I can no longer let my dog out as I am sure it will give him a heart attack from the constant stance of protection as people walk on and through our yard. He would go crazy outside and rightfully so. I go crazy as well.

I really wanted to move to a great neighborhood where people were close and everything was like a movie. Wave and smile and everyone is friendly. I should have sensed something when our neighbors put up a fence immediately after we moved in. The said that they would have done it years ago but the prior owner of our house argued over the property lines so they just waited until they sold and moved. It was a month of us living here before the fence was up.

We have since realized why. Our yard has become part of the park. It hosts parents and children every ballgame. Don’t want to sit to close to the field? Come sit in my yard. Want some shade on the third base line? Come sit under my trees. Need to let your younger kids run for a bit? Run in my yard.

Now this has been a source of internal conflict for me since we moved here. I want to be hospitable and I want to allow people to enjoy our shade and our yard. I feel so selfish for even writing this. Why shouldn’t I share my tree and yard? What’s the big deal? I want to but…. for every respectful person that we say nothing to and let sit in our yard, two disrespectful individuals follow.

My goal for this season was to put some sort of planter bed at the corner of our property. I assumed that this would define the line of where our property began because the florescent orange corner markers are clearly there only for decoration. So I spent Mothers Day making what I thought to be a fairly large planter with a corner fence to mark our yard. I think that it turned out quite nice. So to watch as a small child dug up my flowers at yesterdays ball game just about made me go looney!

That’s right, this little boy, maybe about one and a half, took a stick and dug at my flower bed while his parents  sat in my yard, under my tree, and paid no attention. They paid equally as little attention when I ran down the yard like I had just escaped an asylum and yelled at their little boy to get out of my yard. “THIS ISN’T THE PARK. IT’S MY YARD, GET OUT OF MY FLOWER BED!!!”

A woman sitting close by picked the boy up and apologized but remained in my yard and continued watching the game. The boy’s parents looked at me like I was rude as I stormed back up to the house. Not a single person moved.

About ten minutes later the boy’s father had a phone call and needed to walk even further up in my yard to hear better.I can see where his son gets his manners because dad just walked on my freshly planted grass seed.  No worries, next game I am going to post a sign with my wireless pass on it and hand out cookies so that everyone can have all of the comforts of home.

All of this was irritating to no end but this morning when I walked down to the bottom of my yard and got to pick up the tissues and baby wipes that were left behind I really boiled with anger. Last year a man had the nerve to walk his dog in our yard and let it do its thing! The park doesn’t even allow pets so why would my yard?

Brian and I have discussed this at great lengths and we are aware that a fence is the only solution, if we could afford one. We can not. So we are left with dealing with the inconsiderate in the meantime.

I am not sure why I thought something in the corner would be an obvious division of property. I am not sure why I had faith that people could be respectful of another. I am not sure why I had hope that this season would be better than last year because we were prepared. I tried to be understanding and kind but the reality is, that if I were one of these people in my yard…. I wouldn’t be in my yard.

I don’t think it is that difficult to see that they are out of place. My neighbor has a fence and so do a few other houses on the same path. All the fences come to right around the same area. Why would my yard be any different? I  think that people just don’t care any more. They have blinders on to see only what is best for them. “Who cares if I walk in this person’s yard. Who cares if I park in their grass. It’s not my yard. I’m hot, I need shade. I can sit under any tree I want to. Oh well.”

I’m not sure what solution we will come up with. We really can’t do a fence and Brian just isn’t sold on the idea of planting jagger bushes to line our yard. I still think it has potential. This really stresses me, I want to be kind but I feel like it is going too far. Say nothing and next week I am picking up dirty diapers in my yard.. also a warning from our neighbor’s previous experience.

So in short… I don’t know how to say it nicely but, Get Out Of My Yard!

Love, Cherise

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