Sunday, March 24, 2013

Somewhere that's green

Two years ago this month Bracken started his new job in Walnut Creek.  We spent the next few months hunting for a place to live.  I would sit on our couch in Citrus Heights and look at ads on craigslist, then look up the school, see how it was rated, and if everything met our criteria, I would forward the information on to Bracken.  He would then spend his lunch breaks looking at these houses, trying to find the right one for us.  We quickly discovered that if we wanted a house with two bathrooms in our price range, it wasn't going to have much of a yard.  If it had a yard and two bathrooms, it didn't have a school we wanted.  And with three girls, and one on the way, we knew we couldn't settle for one bathroom. 

We finally found a house in Martinez and put a holding deposit down on it, but I really just wasn't feeling it.  I kept looking and found a house in Concord that looked promising.  It had a good school, two bathrooms, was in a great neighborhood.  It even had a covered porch like our old house did.  But the yard, the yard was pitiful. (So was the kitchen, but that's a whole other post.)  Still, it was bigger than the one in Martinez, and I just had a good feeling about it.  So, we forfeited our holding deposit and signed a lease on the new place. 

I'm so glad we did.  We love our ward.  Our school is great.  We have made wonderful friends and really feel like we are in the right place for our family right now.  But the yard (and the kitchen) has been a struggle for me.  We went from 1/3 acre of green grass and garden--
To this.  11 feet of dirt with a rock border. 

Sure, it's a little green in that picture, but by midsummer, all those weeds are dead and gone.  The landlord likes to keep the yard "low maintenance," so putting in grass was out of the question.  I tried planting some baby tears groundcover, but no matter what I did, it just kept dying.  The ground here is terrible.  I planted a zucchini last summer, and though I watered it and fertilized it, the plant never got bigger than my hand.  A zucchini!  How is that even possible?
 What made the dirt patch even worse was that with the addition of the slightest amount of water, it turns into the slickest, gooiest mud patch.  Shortly after we moved in I made the mistake of putting the girls' pool down in the dirt.  The above picture was taken about 30 seconds after I filled it with water.

And so, we have made do.  Our community has a green belt and parks and lots of grass to play in, but it's not the same thing as having it in your own yard.  We brought our trampoline with us when we moved, and that has provided hours of entertainment.  I've put all my vegetable garden into self watering planters with great success (I ate my last tomato from my vines in February!).  But I have still longed for something green in my backyard.

A couple months ago, we went to Children's Fairyland in Oakland where my kids had a delightful time sledding down a hill on pieces of cardboard, a hill covered in artificial turf.  Brilliant!  I realized that was the solution to my problem.  I ordered 150 square feet of grass from Costco last week and eagerly awaited its arrival.

Of course, no great plan can go off without a hitch.  Thursday morning I got a call from the delivery man, informing me that he was about 10 minutes from my house.  In Citrus Heights!  Though I had changed my address on the Costco website, they only updated my billing address, not my shipping address!  In a panic I explained my situation to the driver as my mind frantically raced through the possible scenarios of how I was going to get my grass.  He calmly asked where I lived now, then told me he had several deliveries in Concord later in the day and it wouldn't be a problem.  Amazing!

I spent the next morning clearing the weeds from my yard and preparing the ground for the turf.  I didn't go through all the proper steps for its installation since it definitely won't be a permanent addition to the yard.  But at soon as I unrolled that grass, the magic happened. 

Behold, Rosie's rejoicing at playing on grass in her own yard for the first time in her life.
She was just delighted. As was Maggie, even if it doesn't show.
 And Chloe and Addie were just as excited.  They all spent the whole afternoon playing out there.  Every time I'd look out the window my heart would swell, overjoyed that this patch of green in my yard was just as magical as I'd hoped it would be. 

 Most of their weekend has been spent outside.  Meals have been eaten on the grass, homework has been done on the grass.  I just couldn't be happier, and neither could my children.  Even Bracken, who was unsure about this crazy venture, is now convinced.
Here's to a wonderful summer in my new backyard!

1 comment:

Laura said...

I just love it when you know you made the right choice in the first 30 seconds.
Now I gotta go watch "Little Shop of Horrors."