The Crap in Back

There is not one mosquito in all of Arizona. They can’t live there because there is no such thing as their beloved standing water. Any water gets quickly sucked into the roots of trees and cacti or into the scorched earth. When I moved to Texas after thirteen years in Arizona, I had forgotten mosquitos even existed.

Almost all the homes in Preston Hollow where I live back to an alley. These are old neighborhoods and the minute an ancient house goes up for sale, it’s swooped up by a builder, torn down and a new, impossibly gigantic home is built in its place. As a result, even the nicest neighborhoods are mixed with small, old homes and huge new ones. Most of the homes are beautifully maintained in the front yards and then there are the alleys. The alleys look like slums. They are overgrown with poison ivy and other sinister foliage, the pavement, if your alley even has it, is uneven and chopped up giving way to dirt or mud and there are bits and pieces of trash which escape from the decrepit garbage cans on Monday mornings when the trash trucks come blasting through. It’s such a juxtaposition to the front side of the neighborhoods that when my mom was here, and I pulled my car out of the garage into the alley, she said, “What!? The alleys don’t count?” No, mom, apparently they don’t. All the people of Dallas are in some kind of collective denial about the alleys.

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This is the front of my house.

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This is the alley. Note the look on Steve’s face.

The second day I lived here I was desperate to feel some sense of control so I went out to clean up my little area of alley. I weed whacked some overgrown vegetation, hosed some mud and dirt to the neighbor’s little area of alley and used all my might to overturn my trashcan that was filled with standing water. Then, I was promptly swarmed by hundreds of breeding mosquitos and before I could run to the house, got bit eighteen times. The next day, I was driving down the street, Calamine lotion covering a third of my body and saw a sign that said, “Attention! Public spraying for West Nile Virus begins this weekend!” Welcome to Texas.

9 thoughts on “The Crap in Back

  1. Ye gods, mozzies. They scarcely bother me, but that might be because my husband reacts so badly to their bites (welts, itching, swelling, you name it), and thus he is their preferred dish. If I get a mozzie bite, it’s a little white bump that might or might not be itchy, and it’s gone in a few hours. Naturally high levels of antihistamine, I reckon. 🙂 I have few enough genetic advantages; I’ll take that one!

    In Vancouver, we have alleys between the back yards. Not all of them are beautifully maintained, but many of them are. And since “garage homes” recently became a permissible method of housing densification in the city, “alley appeal” is as much of a selling point for houses as “curb appeal” is. Dallas needs to adopt this attitude.

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    • Great to hear from you, Wendy! I sometimes wonder if I can appeal to the entire neighborhood to clean up these alleys but it would be a HUGE undertaking with some people being able to afford it and others not. Just gotta live with my alley, I guess!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Mosquitoes are nonexistent? Take me to Arizona! I agree with Laura though, looking forward to your first giant spider encounter. And then there are the giant [flying] cockroaches, everything’s bigger in Texas right?! I hope you are settling in better, it’s a wonderful state to live in!

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