Saturday, August 28, 2004

My Life as a Radical

The jungle that was my yard has finally been hacked into submission (thanks, Charlie!), but that one tiny battle is a long way from winning the war. My neighbors and I have been lambasted for complaining about the landscaper, Davey, in the wake of Charley, since they have been busy trying to save the trees. What those who toss snide comments our way on the intranet don't realize is that Charley simply brought things to a head. We have dealt with poor-to-non-existent lawn care for at least a year, and the overgrowth that was not mowed from August 5 to August 28 finally spurred the triplex/duplex/townhome owners into publicly breaking their silence.

Interestingly enough, since I posted my photos of the East Village jungle, which can still be found, along with some new photos from South Village, by clicking here, I have heard from several others in the same situation. I am going to dig out my pre-Hurricane Charley photos to post for the naysayers who blame our poor lawn care on the tree-saving efforts. Hopefully I will be able to post some neighbors' photos too, and some of them are much worse than my yard!

All of this has turned me into a radical, championing my very first Celebration cause. Since I have learned that the problem is by no means isolated at my lone triplex, I plan to harness the power in numbers. I am going to start a petition asking that duplex/triplex/townhome owners be provided with the following in writing:

-An exact explanation of the services that we are supposed to receive. At present, we are told things like "You'll get mulch twice a year" (we've never gotten it once, maybe because no one ever specified which year, and "Your lawn is mowed less frequently at some times of the year because it has to be mowed more frequently at others. I think we should know exactly when the mulchings will occur, how often our yards will be weeded, and what criteria (e.g. grass length, rainfall, temperature, or whatever) dictate the frequency of the grass care.

-A procedure for making reimbursement claims for damage. One of my solar lanterns was destroyed by a weed whacker, and I've learned that was relatively minor compared to what some of my neighbors have suffered. Collateral damage caused by carelessness is not acceptable.

-An effective complaint procedure. Right now, we call Town Hall with our complaints, and while things might improve for a while, overall we're in the same boat now as we were a year ago. I think we should be able to deal directly with someone at Davey. After all, we would be able to do that if we were homeowners hiring our own firm. Why should it be any different just because we live in attached houses?

To be fair, this might not entirely be Davey's fault. I suspect that they are geared to large commercial accounts, and using them for the triplexes/duplexes/townhomes was an afterthought since they already do the public areas of Celebration. I'm beginning to think they just aren't equipped and experienced in dealing with small, private yards. Charley has shown quite graphially that while they might respond well to an emergency, it's at the expense of other customers.

If that is the case and they just can't give us the service that we should be receiving due to their own business limitations, we'll petition for our contract to be awarded to another landscaping firm. There are plenty of landscapers who do a beautiful job on the yards of the single family homes all around us. While our jungle grew around us for the past three weeks, I watched as the lawns of all my neighbors were mowed by the various companies they employ. I don't think any of them went longer than a week after Charley with their grass being mowed.

Enough of my ranting and raving. I know that there are bigger issues in the world, like Save the Whales and whatnot. This one is of absolutely no importance to anyone but me and my fellow duplex/triplex/townhome owners. But I'm sure that most other great radicals and agitators in the world started small. You have to cut your teeth on a minor issue before you move on to the big stuff.

So the Great Celebration Lawn Crusade will be the first battle for me. If you live in a multi-family home in our lovely town, watch for me to turn up at your door wielding my petition the week of September 6th. And if you're not a resident, let this be a lesson to not believe all those myths about our town. Perfect lawns are not a reality in Celebration, and if you maintain a jungle, you won't be fined or publicly whipped and placed in stockades in front of the lake. If that were the truth, my neighbors and I would be on permanent display downtown.

Now there's an interesting idea. Maybe we can publicly stockade people who do unneighborly things like not picking up dog poop, letting their cars get rust spots, and hanging tie-dyed curtains in their windows. Then we charge tourists five bucks a piece to toss tomatoes at them, will all proceeds going towards building a combination library/multi-level parking structure downtown.

Hmmmm, maybe the newly molded radical has found her next crusade!

If you have any comments about my blog, or if you happen to be a fellow disgruntled duplex/triplex/townhome owner, email me at

For general information on Celebration (which is a wonderful place to live...despite my occasional tirades, I'd never want to be anywhere else), visit my website at

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