This is definitely an over-achiever

Note from 2020: This post is a little snarky and I don’t make fun of stranger’s home decor anymore, but I had to leave this post in the archives because I had NO memory of this fountain until recently when E reminded me that we drove by it and said, “JESUS FOUNTAIN!” every time. When I found this picture for the entry I was like, “HOW DO I NOT REMEMBER THIS?”

There’s a house we pass a few times a week on our way to Super Target or the bookstore. Awhile back we noticed there was some sort of odd construction going on right in their front yard. As the weeks went by, we started thinking it was going to be a marble tower. But then one night we drove by and there were spotlights shining on it and we saw what we have since called, “The Jesus Fountain.” There is a tall fountain with mosaic marble/glass type tile with a shape of a cross designed on the fountain. The same mosaic pattern builds a wall around the yard and the driveway. It is quite an impressive piece of yard decoration, that’s for sure.

The artistic quality of this structure demands respect. It looks like it took a lot of time and a lot of skill. HOWEVER – isn’t it a strange thing to see in someone’s yard? Wouldn’t that be better suited for a church? I mean – at night there are SEVERAL spotlights shining on the fountain. The spotlights actually light up the entire yard and there’s even a wooden walkway around the fountain. It’s definitely not what you would call “simple”. Now – I come from a long line of catholics and we are very big on the religious monuments – but this even seems much for me.

And my question is – would you pay more or less than normal for a house with that in the yard? I mean – it’s definitely a high-quality piece, but wouldn’t you consider it a negative on the house? Or is that just me and my hell-bound soul talking? I keep thinking that if it didn’t have the cross in it (which is more obvious at night with the spotlights), and if it were in the back yard, it might be considered a positive quality. But a religious structure on the front lawn? Not so much.

Or what if you lived next door? How would you feel watching this transpire? Would you be peeking out the window constantly trying to guess what it was going to be as it was being built? And would it cause you to question your own property value?

But most importantly – what do you think the inside of the house looks like?

14 thoughts on “This is definitely an over-achiever”

  1. I consider myself a pretty conservative Christian and I just don’t know..I think its all well and good to put up a cross or whatever. BUT can we at the LEAST make it match the house?? Could the marble/tile be anymore out of place with that style of house? I think they just devalued their home on that alone. At the least do the pillars ect out of the same brick as the house and then do just the cross in the marble/tile stuff. That is just tacky and someone was not thinking!

  2. ah, alabama. my sister is in birmingham, and sends me pics like this from time to time… this is absolutely something you would NOT see up here in connecticut, we just don’t do it like that…

    not so much, indeed.

  3. Yeah, I think you’ve got two problems here. One, that sort of thing is not to everyone’s taste and could definitely make it harder to sell the house. Two, it doesn’t match the house or blend in with its surroundings, making it something of an eyesore.

  4. Hi Zoot,

    Pretty fountain, but not something I would want in my front yard.

    But on a different subject, I’ve been reading your website for almost a year now and more than once you’ve had me giggling here at my desk. But I need your help on something serious. My 23 year old son is heading out to the Birmington Alabama area at the end of the month. I’m in California and I have a few questions about the area he is visiting. If you wouldn’t mind me emailing you with these questions since you are the only person I know in that part of our country, would great appreciate it.
    Thanks Zoot!
    Cecelia – the overly concerned and protective mother!

  5. There’s a guy who lives here in Memphis that built a 15 foot tall statue of Buddha in his front yard. It’s made out of concrete. It’s the craziest thing I’ve ever seen.
    His neighbors were pissed but none of them had enough money for an attorney so they just let it be.
    (I tried to find a pic but couldn’t)
    And there’s a church here in town that erected (HA!) a replica of the Statue of Liberty minus the torch. She’s holding a cross instead. It cost them $250K.

  6. onesmartcookie – Ok. FINE. I will finally create an 'about' page. But I will not be original. Oh, no. Instead I will rip off the '100 things' list that is already used on approximately EVERY BLOG EVER CREATED. So there. 1. I live in Massachusetts. 2. But I grew up in New Jersey. 3. I moved here for college (Boston University) and never moved back. 4. I was an overachiever through elementary, middle, and high school. 5. But not so much in college (although I didn't flunk out or anything - I just didn't get straight A's.) 6. This possibly has to do with the fact that I worked full time while going to school full time in order to pay the bills sent by said (overpriced, snotty) school. 7. I learned a lot about myself and came out of school with more budgeting, time management, and general life skills than many of my classmates. (That sounds snotty. But when you consider how many of my classmates had trust funds and Daddy's credit cards...) 8. I've worked for the same company since I was 16 years old. 9. Obviously, I am not working in the same position as I was when I was 16. 10. I like the company that I work for. It's a large retail company, and currently I work at the corporate office doing marketing. But that's all I'll say about my job. 11. My oldest friend (I mean, she's been my friend the longest. She's not old.) is Liz. She is currently a PhD candidate at Stanford. In Chemistry. She's wicked smaht. 12. Liz is the only person I know who is more bitter and sarcastic than I am. I admire her for that. 13. She's also really pretty and funny, and she actually LIKES to excercise. 14. But I knew her when she had braces and bad hair and no self-confidence, so it's ok that she's perfect now. 15. She's the only person from my high school that I actually keep in touch with. 16. My brother goes to that high school now. 17. He's 16. 18. He's my only sibling. 19. I used to think he was a demon child but now I think he's pretty neat. 20. I love to read. I would read all day if I could. 21. I read really fast. Matt says that it freaks him out to look at my eyes when I'm reading because they move really really fast. 22. Matt's my boyfriend. He's awesome. 23. We bought a house in June of 2006. 24. Holy stress, Batman! But it was worth it. 25. Even though now we're kind of poor. 26. Is this list really only 1/4 over? You've got to be kidding? 27. I like ice cream. A LOT. 28. But I don't really like other sweets all that much. I mean, I might eat it if it's there, but I never really crave cookies or brownies or cake. 29. Chips (and other salty things), on the other hand, might be my life's nemisis. 30. I am notoriously bad at cooking. 31. But I like to bake. 32. I am also a really picky eater. 33. Matt's even pickier than I am. 34. I am really pale. 35. And I never tan. If I forget to wear sunblock, I will be burned inside of 15 minutes. 36. I used to say that I wouldn't mind being so pale if I was a redhead. 37. Being a redhead would have also taken me one step closer to becoming Anne of Green Gables. 38. I really wanted to be her. (All right, fine, I still do want to be her.) 39. Instead I just walked around moaning that I was "in the depths of despair." And reading the books over and over. 40. I love holidays. 41. Halloween and Christmas are tied for favorite holiday. Because I can't decide what I like more, dressing up or presents. It's a hard decision. 42. New Years is also high up on the list. 43. But only because my birthday is on New Years Eve. 44. I have some weird fears. One of them is a fear of boats. 45. I know how to swim. I don't know why they terrify me so much. But I can not get on a boat without having a completely melt down. 46. I had a teacher in high school who told me that I didn't like boats because I had been on the Titanic in a previous life. She was a little... um... wacko? 47. Another weird fear is a fear of parking garages. I hate them beyond words. 48. I also hate beetles. But I don't really care about spiders. I think it's the crunch factor of the beetle that freaks me out. Also, as Ray Romano would say, "I don't know if it has the gift of flight." 49. I love stand-up comedy. Even if it's bad, it's not really, because you can always find something to laugh at. 50. Is this list really only 1/2 over? How do all you other bloggers have so much damn stuff to write about?? 51. I'm a total klutz. 52. My first broken bone occured while jumping off the monkey bars in 4th grade. (Right ankle. Rainbow cast.) 53. Another incident occured when I (stupidly) wrapped the dog's leash around my wrist. The dog wanted to eat the cat across the street. The dog also weighed more than me. (Right wrist. I think the cast was pink.) 54. I also broke my right arm at work when a case of paper fell on it. I did not sue, because I am cool like that. I did have to wear a sling, which sucked a lot. 55. The worst injury was to my right ankle when I was in 7th grade. I was in gym class and some kid twice my size ran into me while we were playing kickball. I fell and my ankle twisted in a way that ankles are not meant to twist. It was broken in 3 places and I was on crutches for EIGHT. WEEKS. 56. Less than two weeks after that cast came off, I stepped in front of my mom while she was carrying a pot spaghetti to the sink to drain. The water was boiling. It spilled over the edge of the pot and onto the same damn leg that just got out of the cast. 57. As a result of that incident, I am absolutely terrified of hot things. 58. I wear pot holders on both hands whenever I use the stove or oven. 59. Apparently, it is weird to use pot holders when putting something in the oven, because the pot/pan is not yet hot. 60. However, I don't think it's weird because, hello, the oven is hot, and do I not seem like the type to accidently touch the side/door/tray to the oven? I would like a little protection in case that happens, thankyouverymuch. 61. My favorite color is pink. 62. I have horrible vision. 63. I've been wearing contacts since before I turned 8. 64. I NEVER wear my glasses. 65. I really want laser surgery someday, but I am kind of a wimp about it. (It's my EYE!!) 66. I dream a lot. 67. Or maybe I dream an average amount, but I remember more of my dreams than most people? 68. I have a lot of dreams of people chasing me or where I am trying to stop some disaster from happening. 69. These dreams don't stress me out at all. I wake up thinking, "Huh. Cool." instead of being scared. 70. I also have a lot of dreams where I have super powers - usually the ability to fly or to be invisible. 71. I don't think that my dreams have any secret meaning. People frequently try to tell me that my dreams mean that I am stressed out or scared of something, but I think they just mean that I watch a lot of 24 and action movies. 72. I also talk in my sleep. 73. The most interesting thing that I've said in my sleep (that I know of) was a time that I said to Matt, "You're just a pile of bolts waiting in a parking lot to receive a task." Just try and read some meaning into that - I dare ya. 74. I also woke myself (and Matt) up once with a bloodcurdling scream. When he asked what I was dreaming about, the only thing I could remember was walking in a cornfield. 75. This list has got to be more than 3/4 over. I've written AT LEAST 500 things! Damn you, list!! 76. I don't floss. 77. And I don't lie to the dentist about it. I feel that he should know the true state of my oral hygiene so as to take appropriate measures. 78. My last name is very complicated. 79. It is Czech in origin. 80. It is 11 letters long. 81. No one can ever spell it or pronounce it. 82. I had imaginary friends when I was little. 83. One of them was an imaginary pet rock. 84. I wish I was making that up. 85. The other ones were tigers. 86. I am an exceptionally good french braider. If you ever need something french braided, I am your girl. 87. My favorite artist is Jack Vettriano. 88. "Back Where You Belong," "Dance Me to the End of Love," and "The Waltzers" are my favorite painting of his. 89. I love Peanuts. The comics, not the food. 90. I really identify with Lucy. 'Cause she's bitchy. 91. I wasn't allowed to watch much TV as a kid. 92. Basically, if it wasn't on PBS, I didn't watch it. 93. So I missed out on a lot of 80's culture. 94. I love my TiVo like it's a family member. 95. I'm allergic to candy dots. You know, that candy that comes stuck to paper. 96. My doctor is also pretty sure that I'm allergic to Tylenol. Which is pretty freaking weird, I think. 97. I hold my pen differently than most people. I hold the pen in between my index and middle fingers instead of between my thumb and index finger. 98. I want to go on a game show. I think I would kick some ass at Wheel of Fortune. 99. I also love board games. Cranium is my favorite. I also like Balderdash and Othello. 100. The list is over! The list is over! You cannot possibly want to know anything more about me. THERE IS NOTHING MORE TO TELL.
    One Smart Cookie says:

    This reminded me of a house in the town in grew up in. This house looked normal for most of the year, but come Christmas time, it was covered with huge amounts of religious decorations – at least THREE nativity scenes, giant light up crosses, and (my personal favorite) “Happy Birthday Jesus” in flashing lights across the entire roof.

    One summer we noticed that the house next door was for sale. We decided that the homeowners deliberately put their house up for sale in the summer so that the gaudy winter spectacle next door wouldn’t decrease the value of the house. I wonder what the new owners thought their first Christmas there!

  7. hahahahaha

    First, I love that you were too shy to show that you were taking a picture. I love being rude and taking open pics. It’s like saying “I take your Obnoxious and raise you another Obnoxious”.

    Second, Bah – I agree with a previous commenter that the structure doesn’t even MATCH THEIR HOUSE. I think a structure like that could potentially decrease the value of the house because you have narrowed your market of buyers.

  8. it decreases the value in my eyes….if they ever move out? and i was buying it? they better have built it in a way that it easily comes out and they can take with them or to expect for a lower amount than they wanted for the house and my ass would be out there with a sledgehammer.

    I am going to H-E-double hockey sticks.

  9. I think it definitely lowers the value. First, it’s subjective art. You know, ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’? They may love it but not everyone will share their opinion.

    Secondly, not everyone shares their religious beliefs. Who’s to say that if they were to put their house on the market that a Jewish family took an interest? Or a Muslim family? Or any other religion that doesn’t either believe in Jesus or that Jesus died on a cross?? They have narrowed their prospects to such a small margin that resale may be near impossible w/out them getting rid of it or lowering their prices.

    Yard art is one thing but religion puts it into a completely different category.

  10. I say yuk. I live in Birmingham were someone has put Jesus in a box. It is a clear glass box with Jesus in it. It freaks the neighbors out. Not that they don’t believe in Jesus. They just don’t believe in Jesus in a box in your front yard. I don’t think I would want to live next door to that either.

  11. We actually attended a garden party “in celebration of the installation of our new fountain” last weekend. I’m not even kidding. They had a party. To celebrate a fountain. It was a big ass fountain . . . and it was in their front yard.

  12. This is why it’s sometimes nice to live in a community with “deed restrictions”. You could definitely stop someone from doing something like that. It’s not about the religious symbols for me. It’s about the fact that it looks like crap and it’s the front yard!! I do think it would have an impact on the resale of the neighboring houses.

  13. Many years ago our neighbor down the street erected a giant wooden cross in his front yard. In 2004, he murdered his wife because apparently murder is easier in the eyes of God than divorce. He’d been having an affair while telling his wife he was at Bible study.

    So Zoot, indeed the inside of the house in your area may be stranger even than the outside.

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