By Kathryn Leehane of Foxy Wine Pocket
Welcome to our suburban community! Life here is relaxing, enriching, and carefree. For maximum enjoyment, we have etched the following guidelines (in marble, actually). Please read them carefully. Your first offense will result in a $1,000 fine and public shaming. Multiple infractions will result in ejection from the neighborhood.
1. Neighborhood Blight
Properties shall be kept free of any unsightly, non-naturally occurring objects at all times. While we prefer recreational activity to occur only in backyards, developmentally appropriate handmade toys are permissible in front yards during the hours of 4 to 6 p.m. Cleanup must occur daily. Any items left in front yards shall be destroyed. No remnants of fun allowed.
2. Noise Ordinance
Outdoor noise must remain under 50 decibels during daylight and 20 decibels at night. Open windows are only allowed if the interior noise level is under the preceding limits when measured from the sidewalk. Swimming pools are permitted for beautification purposes; no one shall be allowed to swim as it is disruptive in nature and often interrupts late-afternoon Mahjong tournaments.
3. Children and Pets
Houses with odd-numbered addresses are permitted one domestic animal. Allowable canine breeds are AKC-certified retrievers, poodles and Yorkshire terriers. Mongrels and shelter pets are not permitted unless they are at least 90 percent of the aforementioned breeds (DNA testing required). Felines are allowed indoors only. Households may have a maximum of two children, preferably one of each gender. Unattended animals or children shall be detained and reported immediately to the proper authorities.
4. Animal Waste
Control your canine’s bodily functions. Coffee enemas can be a useful way to keep your pets’ bowels and your indoor plumbing clean. Any and all outdoor elimination must be done in your own yard and deodorized immediately. If your canine relieves himself in another yard, complete sod and/or plant replacement must occur within 24 hours. As felines are not allowed outdoors, any cat caught eliminating in any yard shall be shot on sight.
5. Landscape Maintenance
All yards must be manicured regularly and free of weeds and/or non-conforming plants. Edges of lawns should be trimmed with straightedges, and grass must be maintained to at least 99 percent within the proper Pantone 16-0233 TCX Meadow Green color specification. In cases of drought, promptly replace all landscape elements with indigenous, drought-tolerant plants and shrubs using the approved neighborhood design plan.
6. Waste Receptacles and Yard Debris
All waste, recycling and yard debris must be placed at the curb no earlier than 6 a.m. on pickup day. Bins must be washed monthly (consult the approved contractor list) and taken inside within 15 minutes of being collected. When not placed at the curb for collection, all bins must be hidden from sight.
Only locally grown, organic vegetables and grass-fed, free-range meats are allowed on neighborhood grills. Random inspections will be performed to ensure 100 percent compliance.
8. Interior Cleanliness
The interior of your home must comply with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines for hospital cleanliness at all times. Exceptions given in extreme cases of holiday angst, major illness, or death.
9. Outdoor Recreation
Your children are darling, welcome members of our growing community. Children are allowed to engage in recreational activities outside during the hours of 4 to 6 p.m. on weekdays and 1 to 4 p.m. on weekends. Groups can be no larger than four at a time and must be supervised by a parent at all times. Any child who crosses the property line of a child-free residence shall be gently reminded to respect legal boundaries by the administration of a small but sharp electric shock.
10. Prohibited Activities
Car washing, solicitation of any kind, nude sunbathing, outdoor texting, wardrobe adjustments, singing, whistling, physical contact without first using hand sanitizer, outdoor slippers, chewing loudly, and welcoming a new neighbor when devoid of a baked good are strictly prohibited at all times.
Any grievances between neighbors should take place via anonymous, passive-aggressive notes left in mailboxes in the middle of the night. No face-to-face contact shall be made so as to avoid any uncomfortable or combative interactions.
12. Human Interaction
Smiles and friendly waves of the hand are encouraged, but excessive socialization is discouraged. Answering questions honestly is strongly dissuaded. Keep replies short, simple, and generic. Knocking on doors is prohibited unless you have received explicit written permission or are a Girl Scout selling Thin Mints.
We truly hope you enjoy your life in the suburbs.
© 2015 Kathryn Leehane, as first published on Club Mid.
About the Author
Kathryn Leehane loves to laugh and tell stories that make you spit out your drink. She pens the humor blog, Foxy Wine Pocket, and has contributed to several anthologies and a dozen popular collaborative web sites, including Redbook Magazine, Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop, The Huffington Post, and Scary Mommy. Follow the shenanigans on Facebook and Twitter.