Domestic Wars: Backyard Bargaining

There's a war afoot in the Swirley household. Now that spring has arrived, we have to decide what to do with our backyard. I, being the loving mother who would like to keep her child occupied while she gardens, reads, lazes about, am lobbying for the purchase of a used slide for EK. Mr. Swirley, however, is not convinced such an acquisition is necessary and "will just be one more thing in the yard". For the record, with the exception of grass and punk-ass squirrels, our yard is empty. This domestic battle got me thinking about my yards growing up.

There was my grandparents' yard in Orland Park, IL. After lightning struck their above-ground pool, they created a massive terraced garden. That is pretty much all I remember. Oh, and that my aunt would use baby oil when she tanned. Like every day. No slide, unless you could me flying off her slick legs.

My dad's backyard was a freaking dream-land for kids. He built a three-story pirate ship out of salvaged wood, including a 20 foot deck and flag atop the poop deck. My friend Katie and I would run an extension cord up to the top floor and watch fuzzy black and white daytime TV while eating frozen orange juice concentrate straight from the can. Slide? Check.

I don't know if  my mom's backyard really qualified as a "yard" because it was about the size of my non-existent linen closet. That said, she let us plant all of her flowers (in ridiculous patterns) in her wood-chipped yard and hack away her outdoor plants. No slide, but we did have a jacuzzi and free rein to act like idiots.

Our stoop in DC consisted a tiny, neglected plot of land I appropriated from the condo association for my personal use.

our garden

No slide.  But we had a bathtub-sized pool that got really uncomfortable when more than three people were swimming in it, so that should count for something.

The front porch (not so much a yard) at our Wicker Park condo provided the most shameful play space ever. Hot metal below your feet and at your back doesn't bode well for a good time.  It was also a haven for sunflower thieves.

a cheeky note to the sunflower bandit

And that brings me to our current greenspace. It's a double lot with room to grill, eat and run around. And bistro lights because that was a requirement for me to commit to moving again.

Let there be itty bitty solar LCD light(s)

Let there be itty bitty solar LCD light(s)

This past weekend, with the help of my aunt and uncle, we filled 18, 20 gallon bags of yard waste,  mulched the front yard and power-washed the fence.  As far as I am concerned, we are living the g-d American dream and for that I am incredibly grateful.

I mean, if we are going to spend our free time sprucing up the joint, shouldn't we hang out and enjoy it? And because I am too lazy to go to the park. That's my other argument.

There, I have just convinced myself to get the slide so I can ignore EK while I tan EK can safely explore the outdoors.

So it looks like I won this battle since I have the car and will go pick up the contraband before Mr. Swirley arrives home tonight. Unfair advantage? Perhaps. But I will do anything for a little solo time reading trashy magazines  my beloved offspring.

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    Annie Swingen

    Chicago-based hyperbole enthusiast. Mom to a kid and sometimes my mom. Overboard (1987) obsessed weirdo. I like the funnies in life.

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