Surburanites are strange people. I should know. I have lived in the Chicago suburbs for most of my life. We are hardworking people and very competitive. The Joneses live in the suburbs and for whatever reason, people try to keep up with them. I’m not talking about cars or vacations or even kids’ sports. I am talking about lawns.

The weather in Chicago is unpredictable and we usually get too much of a good thing. Want rain? We get so much that rivers overflow and houses flood. Want a little snow so the kids can sled this winter? We get a blizzard that closes the schools and local businesses for two days. Want summer to come because we missed out on spring? We get 100 degree days with 115 degree heat index. The weather has been HOT and HUMID for days with no relief in sight.

My flowers and garden need to be soaked every night to combat the heat and sun. Even with the watering, I still find them drooped from heat exhaustion at the end of the day. And the lawn? It has gone from a lush green to a sad, burned out brown. With no rain in the forecast, we suburbanites are forced by the Joneses to water the lawns ourselves. I have to ask – What is wrong with a brown lawn? Isn’t brown a natural color? I could see if it was charred black. That isn’t very attractive and sort of alarming. But brown? More colors go well with brown than with green.

Regardless, I found myself out in the yard watering every other day as allowed by our city. We can water on odd days as we are on the odd side of the street, from 6-10 twice a day. I am not alone. Some of my neighbors have a sprinkler system, but many of us are out there moving hoses in the early morning and at night. I waved to a couple neighbors who were out in pajamas this morning. The sound of a ticking sprinkler is just part of suburbia. There is a comfort in that sound. It means we are all in the same boat – trying to save the hundreds of dollars we poured (literally) into the lawn in the spring. We can’t let it die after only a month of summer! We have to make it to the end of September before we can give up. By then, we are done with the yard and all the work it brings.

This morning, I set up the sprinklers in the same spots that I have been placing them in all week. After turning on the water, I stand there and watch where the water goes. If it is too close to the house or watering too much of the driveway, I have to adjust them a little. To avoid getting wet, I wait for the sprinkler to move away from me or I kink up the hose to stop the water flow while I move things around. I let it go again and may have to stop to make another adjustment before setting up the next sprinkler. This goes on for the next several hours (can’t wait to see my water bill!) until 10:00 when you run the risk of being caught by the Sprinkler Patrol.

Laugh if you want to, but these people exist. We live on the south end of town in a cul-de-sac and are often forgotten by the city. We are the last to be plowed, the last to get brush pick up (if they remember at all) and the last area to get drive by police check ups. The only exception to this is the Sprinkler Patrol. They roam the area regularly, ticketing people who are still watering at 10:30.

I told you. Suburbanites are strange people. I could elaborate on that more, but I have to move the sprinkler again.

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