This week I bet my neighbor that I can grow a bigger weed than he can. No, not the illegal kind of weed. I’m talking about the kind that have sprouted up all over my backyard ever since my #$@%! gardener decided he no longer wanted my money.

Every Friday morning, for nine months, he showed up, mowed the lawn, kept the trees and plants trimmed and the front and back yards weedless. But one Friday in late March, he didn’t show up, and so I called him. He told me he was out of town and would call me back the next week. He never did. (I don’t know what happened. Great guy. I paid him well. I gave him water when it was hot. I gave him a Christmas bonus. I wrote really nice notes about a job well done when he performed big cleanup jobs. What happened?)

He disappeared on my neighbor, too. That’s the third gardener my neighbor’s hired who just stopped showing up for no reason. Apparently this happens frequently with gardeners because a landscaping company recently left flyers in the neighborhood, stating that “we show up.” My neighbor called them. They didn’t call back. We’re now waiting for a landscaper who advertises that they call back and show up.

In the meantime, I keep the front yard clean to keep the HOA off my back, but the backyard? It’s gotten seedy – literally. Weeds all over the place. And thus, the bet with my neighbor. In one month, we will whip out our measuring tapes to determine who has the tallest weed. A few nights ago, I told my neighbor to peek over the wall and proudly showed him my tallest weed. It’s about 3 1/2 feet tall now. He dismissed my little bundle of joy, saying, “Mine’s are already taller than that.”

Darn. Would it be cheating if I gave my weed some plant food?