The Approach, Pt. 2
Shit, what time is it?
This is usually the first question that pops in my mind on Thursday mornings, these days. The newspaper keeps me solidly occupied from Monday afternoon to Wednesday deadline (anywhere from 2 to 6 PM), and obviously with class on Monday night and deadline work for agency clients, Tuesdays are especially long. So Thursdays are kind of like my Saturday, although they're generally fat packed with agency work, house work, and anything else that's been left out to marinate while I'm otherwise occupied.
Thursdays, in other words, are pretty good for me. A day that I get to spend on my own, slowly trying to get shit together. I try not to waste them, although the temptation is there. Over the last two weeks, I've done a fairly good job of staying on top of work stuff - one particularly large and stressful work project kept me very tied up. Where I got lazy was the raking, so the leaves just sat all over the lawn, mocking me, while everyone else got all raked clean.
Seems like we're the only people on the street who clear our own yard, these days. Everyone else has the land crew come by and with the magic of a small army armed with industrial leaf blowers, they get the whole thing spotless in about 20 minutes. We, on the other hand, have me and my dinky, underpowered electric blower and a tarp. And I have a pretty bad attitude about the whole thing - yard work will be low on my list of preferred activities until the day I die (probably while doing yard work).
Thing is, there's a scheduling tightrope that has to be walked with getting rid of those leaves. You have to wait until the tress have lost enough leaves to justify spending real time out there raking - regardless of the leaf count, the amount of time spent raking a section of the lawn is always the same - but you also have to get what's out there piled on the curb before the town trucks show up to clean the street. And you never know exactly when those trucks are going to show up. You can always hear them off in the background somewhere, the sound of their massive vacuum sucking up piles on a street somewhere unseen but nearby, somewhere in the neighborhood. Always coming closer. And if you miss it, they're not going to be around again for another two months, at which point you're stuck with the leaves.
I always ride this deadline - like I ride all deadlines - really, really tight. Although I don't like yard work, I don't mind doing it. Provided, that is, that I only have to do it once.* If you rake too soon, you just have to rake it all over again in another week. But tempt fate too long and deny all of the nice, clear and sunny days when you can really enjoy being outside, and you're in danger of having the rains come and make raking both messy and also eating away at precious pre-truck time. In previous years, I would take a half-day towards the end of leaf season and rush home to clear up, sometimes just finishing up as the truck pulls around the top of Cedar Street.
This year, I'd already raked the front yard three or four times. I may be lazy, but I still want the house to look somewhat nice, you know? And on Monday, the day I was sure, sure, sure that the trucks were finally going to come - I'd seen them on Lester Drive the week before last, and I think they did Summit Avenue last Wednesday - I spent an hour before trooping off to the paper clearing a big part of the back yard which was about three inches deep in leaves. But that still left the side yards, the other half of the back yard and all of the bushes and stuff (I consider clearing the bushes the bonus round).
Shit, what time is it?
Today was Thursday morning. I awoke around 8 AM, hearing the ever-present sound of trucks and leaf blowers quietly off somewhere. And I knew: it's now or never. I humped out of bed, headed out into the cool gray morning and broke out the gear. This year, I've even given up on the blower. Frankly, more trouble than it's worth. Just the rake and the tarp. Rake, pile, put on tarp, drag to the curb, repeat. By 10:30, everything was clear and the truck was thankfully nowhere in sight.
But you can still hear it. Come on, take my leaves. I piled them just for you.
*I only like doing work once in any area. If I do it, it's done, all right? I'll never be able to make clients understand that my original ideas are genius. Lord knows why they always need revisions...
11.13.09, 9 am - Edited to Add:I woke up to the sound of the phone ringing today, at around 8:45. As soon as I got off, I walked downstairs to let the cat out - and the leaves were gone. Lord knows how the trucks can wake me from several blocks away but running a giant fan right outside of my house doesn't stir me at all. Speaks volumes about the nature of the sleeping brain, no?