Dear Abby: Some of your answers seem to come so easily, it makes one think that not much thought goes into them. Such was your answer to Richard Schuh - a Northerner like yourself who complained about his neighbor's mowing the lawn as early as 8 a.m. You responded with agreement, adding that 10 or 11 a.m. seemed "reasonable."
It is obvious that you've never mowed a lawn in Texas in mid-summer, where the temperature by noon is often 95 degrees. The heat combined with the humidity can result in a heat index of more than 100 degrees. (Later in the day, it can reach 115!)In far northern climes, you can mow later in the day in relative comfort but not in Fort Worth! This is especially true for older folks. My husband and I must have our yard work finished by 9:30 a.m. at the latest. This means we usually begin our mowing at 8 a.m., and make every effort to do it earlier. As I work full-time, and my husband recently broke his arm, this means most of the yard work is done by me on the week-ends at a time you consider to be too early.
Abby, please rethink your answer, especially since this summer, even the North has experienced excessive heat, with many deaths among older people.
As for Mr. Schuh, he can buy himself a pair of earplugs!
- A Cool Lady in Fort Worth
Dear Lady: You're right, my answer was a dud, and a number of readers wrote to tell me so. As you and many readers suggested, I should have told Mr. Schuh that earplugs can be purchased at any drugstore or sporting goods store, and that he would be wise to invest in a pair, because it's impractical to ask neighbors to begin their yard chores in the heat of the day during the summer months.
Dear Abby: While I realize that many people like to sleep on week-ends, it's unreasonable to expect the rest of us to wait until the entire neighborhood is out of bed to start our day.
Most people observe either Saturday or Sunday as the Sabbath. That leaves one day a week for yard work and recreation. While we try to get our mowing done on Friday evening, I will not begrudge my neighbors mowing theirs in the early morning when it is cool, in order to spend the rest of their hard-earned free day with their family. Eight a.m. is neither "crazy" or unreasonable. After all, construction crews start using their heavy machinery promptly at 7 a.m.
We are becoming a very selfish society to bicker about when our neighbors mow their lawns. Recently we were awakened at 6 a.m. by our neighbor's power saw. It annoyed me very much, but my husband got out of bed, ate his breakfast and went to help that neighbor reroof his house.
My husband realized that the neighbor had no choice - he had to complete a much-needed repair in the time he had available. I only hope that in the future I can remember to be as generous as my husband was when our neighbor needed him.
- Kerri Anderson, Ogden, Utah
Dear Kerri: Your husband is indeed a very generous gentleman; everyone should have neighbors like you.
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