Saturday, January 03, 2004

Yard Work

I hate yard work. I always have. Growing up, we lived in apartments, and it wasn’t until I was 31 years old that I bought a house. Up until then, I’d never had to do yard work, and that suited me just fine. Part of the problem is my allergies. I get pounding headaches from stirring up too much dust, dirt and pollen, and just the smell of freshly cut grass makes my eyes burn, so you can understand if keeping up a lawn isn’t one of my favorite activities.

That said, in my front yard there is a beautiful Bradford Pear tree. It is huge, and as the weather cooled, the leaves on it turned all shades of red and gold; a rare treat down here in the land of the Loblolly Pine. This week, though, my lovely tree dropped every single leaf. Well, there might be the odd straggler, but much of my yard and my entire driveway were covered with those leaves, now turning dark brown and black. The time came to clean them up.

One of the downsides of never having a father teach me how to do yard work is that I don’t know how to do yard work. Duh. Well, seriously though, when I get out in the yard, I always feel like the neighbors are peeking at me through half drawn blinds, laughing and pointing, saying “Marge, you ever seen such a maroon?”

I broke out my handy gas blower. Now, I don’t know if it is proper to blow the decaying leaves off your yard into a pile on the street, but without anyone to tell me otherwise, that is what I set out to do. And blow I did, my Weed Eater brand blower raging at 150MPH, I cleared off a swath the size of my truck, and ran out of gas. Dang. I had a gas can last year, but I don’t know where it is. Oh well, Home Depot is but a mile away, and you never really have enough gas cans. Plus, I needed 2 cycle oil. Those ratios scare me; what if I don’t quite get it right, and I mix 45-to-1 instead of 40-to-1? Will I blow up my blower?

I get home, with fresh gas, and fresh oil, and blow till I have a pile that is about 5 feet tall, and about 10 feet in diameter. It’s a nice pile. I even rake some to make it good and shapely. Then, I get the bright idea I don’t want it beside the driveway, but down at the corner of my lot, for aesthetic purposes, you know. A father at this point would have probably smacked me.

I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to blow a pile of leaves that big, but they just don’t blow. Whether it was mass, or inertia, or global warming, I’m not sure, but it wasn’t going anywhere, so I get out a large trash can, thinking the neighbors can’t laugh too much, it’s a lawn and garden can. Says so on the side. I fill the can, and walk it to the edge of the yard, and dump it. Repeat. Repeat. Now, the pile isn’t much smaller, but I’m starting to think that whoever invented the wheelbarrow was a genius. “Wish I had one,” I think to myself.

Nine trips later, the pile is moved. Aesthetics, you know.

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