My neighborhood, like so many others, has a few homes that aren't occupied. Foreclosed or not, maybe just walked away from. Not a lot, but they are there. Sign of the times, or at least the economy, I guess. With nobody living there, the yardwork doesn't get done. Lawns are brown, flower beds are infested with weeds.
Frankly, I view these homes as a good thing. Because my goal when it comes to yard maintenance is to not have the worst-looking yard on the street. I am a cyclist. And as a result, I spend most weekends racing my bike. If I'm not racing, I'm training for an upcoming race. When the training ride is over, I am recovering. Mowing the lawn may occasionally (no more than once per month) be active recovery, but pulling weeds is not. As a result, my yard looks like crap.
This condition--cyclist yard--is usually remedied in the off-season. Which in the past has meant taking one weekend in the fall to pull weeds, winterize the sprinklers, and fertilize the lawn. One weekend in the spring is then dedicated to dethatching the lawn, applying weed and feed, and making sure the sprinklers are working again. The problem is that this year there is no off season. I started racing in March. The last cross race of the year is next year. In January. When my yard will be covered in snow. The first road race of the season is six weeks later. Which is six weeks before the snow will even be melted. Clearly I have a problem.
I mentioned this to another cyclist friend over the summer, and he said that he hires out his yardwork. Which I could do. For approximately the same amount of money as I spend on race fees, I could hire out all my yard work and have the best-looking yard in the neighborhood. But then I would have no money for race fees, would therefore be home on the weekends, and if I'm home, I couldn't possibly justify hiring someone to do the work for me. You see my predicament.
The solution is to come to accept it. Which I have. The neighbors evidently have as well, since I am yet to receive love letters from the neighborhood association about the condition of my yard (they were quick, however, to send one about the team trailer being parked in my driveway, so it's not due to lack of attention on their part).
The problem I am unable to accept is the similar affliction of cyclist car. The floor pump, three pairs of shoes, two pairs of gloves, helmet, sunglasses, and water bottles that are almost permanent residents* of the back of my car are not the problem. These I accept and even embrace--I just keep everything in my car so I know where it is. If I'm not going to drive, I'm going to ride my bike, so I just take what I need and put it back in my car after the ride. It's when I leave my dirty kit in the car and forget about it for three days that the symptoms become problematic. I could learn to live with it, but it's hard to drive when I can't breath and my vision is obscured by watering eyes.
*Actually, more like seasonal residents. They are removed in winter and replaced by skis, boots, poles, beacon, pack, and climbing skins. But there's no practical difference except that perhaps ski clothes only require about a day to reach the unbearable level of toxicity, while cycling clothes seem to take a bit longer.