Saturday, June 7, 2008

My backyard is a mullet . . .

What you need to know is that the title of this post is not meant to be read but sung, specifically to the tune of John Mayer's "Your Body Is a Wonderland." You also need to know that this is one of those titles that likely only makes sense to me, but that, once conceived, could not be discarded.

Mullets themselves are not actually the topic of this post, but I do think I should pause to give you some interesting mullet facts. I remember, maybe eight years ago, checking out a website entitled Mullets Galore and thought you'd like to know that it still exists and is still amusing. Maybe three or so years ago, one of my brother's friends-who works in the flooring business--told him of a flooring company down South called Mullet Flooring and claimed that everyone who works there grows a mullet. I was able to confirm that Mullet Flooring is a legitimate business, but could not find any evidence that its employees all grow mullets. If they do, however, I truly applaud the creativity of the business model. Final fact: if my Bub does not get a haircut in a the next couple of weeks, he will start to have a mullet-esque look in back.

In my mind, the mullet has come to represent disconnect -- disconnect between front and back, disconnect between personal style/preference and more mainstream men's hair styles. Several years ago, a family friend of ours specifically grew a mullet before having his driver's license picture re-taken when he turned 21. I believe he kept using the phrase "all business in front, all party in the back" or something along those lines. Thus, I guess the mullet might also represent multi-dimensionality of some sort. If you have a mullet, you can be the business guy and the party guy, the guy who specially tames and coifs his mane but can change a tire or lay a floor with ease.

My backyard is a mullet because it is a place of disconnect and because it is a good symbol for the dimensions of our life around here. Let me try to show you in pictures.

This is our back deck. It's not really a deck one is justified in bragging about, but it is nice enough. Note the lattice work, the flower boxes of begonias, and the healthy-ish green plants bordering it on the bottom. Not bad.

See this table. Do you imagine that it would be nice to sit around it on a summer evening and enjoy some grilled chicken and vegetables and a cold beer or glass of wine? It is pleasant, and we do enjoy eating outdoors when the heat is not too oppressive. Of course, the past two years, the soundtrack for these meals has been the crackling and static of our baby monitor plugged into the outdoor plug. Or, when the Cubs are in town, we listen to the loud cheering and the singing of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame," which despite all my bitching and moaning about the Cubs, is a pleasant kind of experience. The whole deck is sorely in need of a power wash, but again, it's a nice deck and we like it and what it represents: a haven of quiet in the city where we can relax and enjoy the outdoors.

When we purchased our home, it was billed as having a "huge backyard," a laughable notion by suburban standards (I would estimate that it is maybe 15 feet by 15 feet, maybe a bit bigger--it takes my husband longer to start the lawnmower than it does to cut the grass) but a fairly accurate one by the standards of our neighborhood. NTB. Check out the following photos of our yard. If our deck represents the adult, relaxed, peaceful, fairly organized dimensions of our lives, the backyard represents the childlike and chaotic dimensions.

Perhaps a yard full of plastic toys and other debris speaks for itself? If you cannot identify the items, they include: Cozy Coupe car, upturned plastic shopping cart, toppled basketball hoop, slide/bird poop magnet, vacuum cleaner Bub brought from inside, child's pretend lawn mower (fueled by the alternative energy source of play-doh, which is what the Bub has shoved under its gas cap), a roller coaster, a sandbox, a digger, a tailgating chair, and fallen branches from our tree. I should also note that I was able to capture our yard from this vantage point because a portion of the fence dividing our yard from our neighbors' blew over in a windstorm a few weeks (months?) ago, and our yards have been open to each other ever since (we are getting a new fence this summer, but until then, we have found that "bad fences make good neighbors" as Bub and the kids next door love playing in both yards). The missing fence does add to the sense of chaos, clutter, and overall mullet-ness though.

Close up of the hose, typically strewn and twisted about the yard.

Another classy view.

I think the Bubby (Hillbubby?) looked around the yard yesterday afternoon and sensed that it was not a collared shirt-type environment.

None of these photos was staged and, for the record, I did tidy up the yard before we came inside yesterday. I guarantee that by the end of today, the yard will look as chaotic and cluttered as it did at the end of yesterday. Those mullets, they tend to grow back if you don't stay on top of them. But that's okay, I'm fine with all the dimensions of our life, even if I sometimes wish it wore more deck and less yard . . . a little less mullet-esque, if you will.


LAP said...

It took a lot of focus for me to read about the mullets, not because it wasn't an enjoyable and well-written post (because it was), but I found myself distracted by the new background. Is the green here to stay or are you tinkering? I'm sometimes slow to adapt to change so just want to know what I should mentally prepare for....

I never thought of mullets as any type of disconnect, but I like the thought process there. So, for instance, a really nice car in the driveway of a really run down house might be mullet-like? I feel like I will be incorporating this type of extended mullet lingo into my conversations...because really, who doesn't want to talk about mullets?

Mom o'Bean said...

I have to admit, when I saw the title, I had absolutely no idea that this post would go to the mullet philosophical depths that it did. As a former city resident (although Bawlmore, not Chicago), I can say that IS a luxurious backyard. My city house had a 12x20 concrete pad that served as our backyard. I did my best to garden it up, but when you're fighting rats (shudder) for control of the planter boxes, its an uphill battle.

The Bub sure is a cutie, btw.

Anonymous said...

It appears your neighbors share the same backyard chaos. So you have that going for you, which is nice. m

MEP said...

Mom O' Bean -- rats! oh my! I could not deal. There was one mouse in our basement back in November, and I avoided going down there for two months even though we killed it immediately and the other four traps I insisted my husband set sat completely untouched.

LAP, I know you are wary of change and have already heard that the green background was the subject of some skepticism at a recent social gathering I could not attend. Rest assured, I am just experimenting. I do want the blog's appearance to be more personal and more worthy of the writing quality (NTB), but I think I will need to enlist some outside help to really realize my vision.

M, you're right, the neighbors yard is just as chaotic, but since they have three kids, it is more excusable!

jen said...

I thought this post was going to be about those week when there's no time to cut the grass, so I tell the husband to just cut the front for appearance's sake, meanwhile the back is long and unruly and full of snakes (snakes having parties.)

cake said...

does bub love his rollercoaster? cosmo has played on one of those at a big-box-home-improvement store, and i thought it was pretty cool.

i also thought the post was going to be about mowing the grass.

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