OK, here’s the deal…the neighbor across the street got SynLawn — that’s synthetic grass for those of you who haven’t heard about it. Two days ago they were digging up the turf in her front yard, today there is some kind of granular ground covering where I assume the SynLawn will be laid next week. She got SynLawn in her back yard months ago. I think she’s dating the SynLawn guy actually.
Here’s the dilemma…we kind of like the idea of SynLawn, it’s better ecologically–we do live in a desert and it takes a lot of water to keep the grass alive. We’re both allergic to grasses. But mainly, eliminating the real lawn would also eliminate the need for a gardener and save us $75-90 month. Of course we could also save that money by just doing the yardwork ourselves, which we did right up until Grace was born. Then Tammy started working more hours and bringing more work home on the weekends, the all-day task of tending the yard was a real source of frustration so we finally called Mr. Lee, the nice Southeast Asian man who has dutifully dropped his flyer on our front porch for seven years. He gave us a ridiculously low bid (we shopped around), does a really nice job, and aside from a tendency to mow over sprinklers–we’re very happy with him. But still, it’s a budget-thing, and we are physically capable of doing the job.
So here’s my dilemma (really this time)…I am conflicted about letting Mr. Lee go. I know that he’s had to lay off most of his crew, he used to come with five guys, now he’s down to two…sometimes three. The landscaping cost is figured into our monthly budget, he’s never raised his rates in the two years we’ve used him. Technically we can afford it, but the SynLawn would probably pay for itself in a year to 18 months and then we’d be saving…and isn’t that what we’re supposed to do? I’m just very torn about putting somebody like Mr. Lee out of work, though I realize I am not his only client, my guess is that his number of clients has shrunk. If he were driving some snazzy truck with grass painted on the side and a catchy logo, I might feel less conflicted. But he’s been driving the same old pickup, dropping the same yellow flyers weighted down with a pebble on my porch, for as long as we’ve used him. He barely speaks English, but I know he’s got a family, and he works hard.
Even if it makes financial sense not to be, shouldn’t I still be my brother’s keeper–especially in times like these?