On our flight home to LA, we compared notes. We definitely knew where we didn’t want to live: no golfing for dollars, no stepford mistresses and no quarry kaboom. And the houses close to the city were not only expensive, but closer together with a lot more street noise. If we wanted that, we could stay in LA.
There was one neighborhood we drove into that we both got a good feeling from the minute we ascended the first curvy hill with rows of mature trees on either side. The houses were set well apart, and on different levels of grade– more set back and not all facing one-another. Close enough to Atlanta proper that you felt part of it, but far enough that you weren’t. We decided this was the perfect place for us. A few months later we were moving in.
About two hours into unpacking, a guy approached me in my driveway. He looked like he could be a neighbor so I greeted him kindly despite the fact that I was tired from cowlick to toenail from the move. This guy was dressed in khakis and a polo shirt with a nondescript baseball cap on his head—and he was very tan. The tan should have been my first clue.
“Welcome to the neighborhood,” he said, “I’m the landscape manager next door.” I still thought he was my neighbor just telling me what he did for a living. “I’m Kirk, I’m in sales,” I said as I shook his hand. He then pulled out a business card and tried to hit me up for work. I finally got it—this was my neighbor’s lawn guy with a fancy title. I was too tired to negotiate with him, so I just told him to feel free to look around and send me a quote.
That first week as we drove through the neighborhood, we noticed what looked like a film crew in front of a house. We’d seen this plenty of times in LA where you could tell by the amount and size of the trucks and trailers how big a shoot it was. This one looked to be a low to moderate budget production (which in Hollywood can still run in the millions) but as we got closer we saw a giant riding lawnmower rolling down and out the back of one of the trucks. This was no film crew, but a massive gardening crew whose trucks were as big and nice as some Hollywood Star Wagons.
“Guess we’ll be mowing our own grass,” my wife quipped as we drove by. That was reiterated when we got our quote from the eager landscape manager from next door—about the same price as a nice new push mower…. monthly.