Alone with the leaves

I knew earlier this week that I wouldn’t be able to put it off much longer.  I simply had to address the large number of fallen leaves in our yard this weekend.  I didn’t really want to do it all that much.  That’s not all that much of a surprise given my hatred of lawn mowing and snow removal.  Because of Heidi’s chronic pain issues, leaf removal, snowblowing and lawn mowing are all jobs that are exclusively in my domain.  This is not her fault and I know full well that if she were able, she would be out there with me.  All this wouldn’t be such a big deal if I liked removing leaves, blowing snow and mowing grass.

Part of the problem was that I put it off way too long.  I have a large amount of inertia to overcome when it comes to yard work.  Additionally, the weather did not entirely cooperate as many of my days off work were rainy.  But I woke up today with a firm resolve to get a lot done and, perhaps more importantly, not get angry at it like I so frequently do.  In hindsight, this was not something that was very realistic.  Yeah, let’s put myself in a situation guaranteed to frustrate the shit out of me and not get angry.

I started off pretty well.  I got the leaf fort that Anna and the neighborhood kids had built mowed up into mulch size pieces.  I wasn’t crazy about the big rocks that they’d hidden in the leaves, but I don’t think my mower is any worse for the wear.  I created basically a carpet of mulch for the yard.  Grass hardly grows in the front yard because of the trees, and really, doesn’t all that stuff just go back to nature?  I did leaf vac some of the biggest piles, but by and large, I just chopped them up and pushed them around with the mower.  I felt pretty satisfied with myself.

Things started to unravel when I went back to the back deck and tried to leaf vac those leaves.  A small hole in the bag of the leaf vac chose that time to get big enough to render the leaf vac completely useless.  Stymied by that, I went to cut down some brush along the fence between our yard and the neighbor’s yard.  That went pretty well until I realized that I had nowhere to take the brush.  The yard waste place in Ames only took brush the first Saturday in November.  The belt came off the pulley.  I vented my frustration with Heidi who helped me to channel it in a more positive direction.

Part of the reason I was frustrated is because it’s too big of a job for one person.  The flip side of this is I was too proud to ask for help.  The most obvious person to help is my dad, but I feel like he does so much for me already, why would he want to spend a whole day helping me with my hopeless yard?  Anna can rake, but that’s about it.  Clearly, the answer is I need help.

That realization in place, I got back on track and cleared the deck the old fashioned way.  I pushed all the leaves into a pile on the deck and picked them up in piles by hand and shoved them in a lawn bag.  After that, I tackled the back yard and got the leaves there chopped up more or less to my satisfaction.  I even started the snowblower so that I’m not out there doing that for the first time after Mother Nature has dumped a foot of snow on us.  Finally, I took my bagged up leaves out to the yard waste site.  Jesus, but I’m glad I don’t have to clean up out there!

As Monty Python says, always look on the bright side of life.  So many days, all I really wanna do is baby, be friends with you spend a day listening to music.  And honestly, even though it involved cleaning up the yard, I listened to 63 songs while I did it!  I set my iPod on shuffle and let her rip, no skipping allowed.  Here’s what I came up with (click on the image to be able to read it.)

A few thoughts on this playlist:

  • WTF is a song from Grease 2 doing on my iPod?
  • Left to its own devices, my iPod really loves playing live Kylie Minogue tracks.
  • I forgot how much I love the Scissor Sisters song “Tits on the Radio.”
  • The song that made me laugh the most was Cher’s “I Wouldn’t Treat A Dog (The Way You Treated Me).” A great song from the It’s A Man’s World sessions delivered as only Cher can.
  • My love of high-NRG covers and “gay classics” albums is revealed.  Oh well, as a friend once pointed out, if you can’t laugh at yourself, you’re just an insecure weiner.  And honestly, does the presence of these songs on my iPod shock anyone?
  • The Boston and Lindsey Buckingham will please Matt immensely.
  • The Olivia Newton-John “Magic” remix will make Steve shake his head.
  • All these songs made my day much much better than it would have been otherwise.
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