Last weekend was one of those where I was glad to come back to work so I could get some rest.
Regular readers of this column — both of you — may remember that I’ll clean a toilet, I’ll vacuum a floor, heck, I’ll even wash a dirty dish. I’ll mow, trim, sweep. Whatever.
But what I won’t do, what I absolutely refuse to do, is rake a yard.
Why? Because it’s just horrible.
I mentioned it in this column last year, noting that I’d rather just run over ‘em with a lawn mower until they’re chopped up enough that they don’t bother me any longer. Or blow them out into the street and make them someone else’s problem.
But I don’t have a leaf blower and there were simply too many to mow.
So what did I spend the weekend doing? Raking my yard.
With the paper short-staffed and the weather the way it’s been, the lawn was left unattended for so long that there really was no other choice.
And I can’t tell you how happy it made me.
The missus came out several times while watching little Mason (and cleaning the house) to check on my progress, only to find me scowling as I piled up yet another six foot by four foot pile of leaves.
Sweat was rolling. My attitude was black. I couldn’t see any progress at all.
“How are you doing, baby?” She asked with a smile, just as nice as she could be.
“I’m not,” I grumbled, wiping sweat while watching as hundreds more leaves rained down on a just-raked spot. “This sucks.”
Which did little to help the leaf situation, but it made me feel better.
So I spent hours over the weekend piling up some of the six-inch-deep groundcover, shoving it onto a tarp and dragging the thing to the curb, where I unceremoniously dumped it for pickup.
Then back to rake another pile while the leaves continued to fall.
And repeat. Over and over and over and over and over, ad nauseum. Sweat was a’dripping, back was a’hurting, attitude was… Let’s just say it’s not printable in this family paper.
Once enough of the leaves were removed that I could actually see my too-tall grass, I cranked the mower and away I went.
Then, suddenly, the lawn was cut and the leaves were gone, piled neatly on the curb. My home once again looked like an actual human lived there.
It was about this point that I made the announcement:
“That’s the last time this lawn will be touched until late March 2014,” I said.
“I’ll be the judge of that,” she said jokingly.
“Okay, let me put it another way. If anything else is done to the yard, someone else will be doing it,” I replied.
So later in the evening, while Mason slept, she and I went out on the porch to survey my handiwork.
“It looks good, honey,” she said quietly, putting her hand on my shoulder.
“Yes it does,” I replied. “And now that it’s done and I have the chance to think about it, a place as great as this is worth a little hard work.”
Keith Strange is a staff reporter with The Mount Airy News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 719-1929.