Sunday, April 25, 2010
I love my Saturday mornings.
The radio was on – playing the standard collections of old folk and classic rock – softly in the corner of the garage. My faithful black lab Suzy and I sat with a cup of coffee and smoke – struggling to wake up.
I had nothing planned. The girls baseball practice over at the Turtle Club was my only scheduled agenda item for the day. Then a bit of listening to Pat 'The Book on Sports' Caputo on the radio.
A great day's game plan indeed.
That's when the knock came at the door.
It was our next door neighbors.
He had his roto-tillar. She had a rake, gardening gloves, and a shovel.
It would appear that my lovely wife Darlene had made plans, but I wasn't consulted.
I did a big sigh as Darlene explained that our wonderful neighbors had offered to help us get our front yard ready.
Yup, this morning. Shot to hell.
I looked around the garage. Stacks of peat moss and sheep manure piled against my workbench. The work table was covered with various annuals of purples and reds and yellows and blues.
"When somebody offers to help you, you don't sit in the garage reading and listening to the radio", Darlene chastised.
I hate it when she's right.
I traded in my slippers for my sneakers and headed out front. The three were comparing ideas on what should be done to the gardens and to the lawn. The conclusion was drastic. Complete annihilation of my gardens and a deep and thorough thatching of my front lawn.
I pasted my smile on my face as I dragged out the peat moss and manure as the good neighbor plowed them up with his tiller. I poured the peat moss and manure in to each bed as Darlene and the good neighbor started spreading it around.
The result looked like freshly raked hazard on a local golf course – but rich reddish brown after the good neighbor tilled the peat moss and manure into the beds.
The ladies had already unearthed the existing plants that they decided to keep. As they examined their inventory with a fresh cup of coffee in hand, The good neighbor started thatching my lawn with his tiller.
The pile of dead grass left behind was huge.
By this time it was time to get my girls over to the ball diamonds for practice. I hurried them to get ready, pouring a coffee for myself to take with me.
For the next hour and a half I sat in the stands watching the practice and reading my emails – sipping my coffee – talking with the coaches – and hoping the work would be done when I returned.
When practice was over, we headed back home. The beers were out. The folks were sitting on the porch.
"Your timing is perfect", said the good neighbor.
Of course it is, I thought to myself – I am a master procrastinator you know.
But then I noticed the front yard was piled up about six inches deep with dead dethatched grass.
And there was nobody offering me a beer. Instead I was offered a rake – and a stack of paper yard waste bags.
I must be slipping.
I raked and bagged and raked and bagged and then raked some more then bagged some more – until the thatched grass was nicely packed in eight bulging yard waste bags.
"Now let's get this grass cut", suggested my lovely wife. But it was not a suggestion.
And the inspiration hit me. I took off to the back yard to get the lawn mower out from under the deck garden shed.
"Okay, I said – I just have to get the mower ready – you know – change the plugs, clean the blade, and change the oil, shouldn't take long."
"Nah, just use my new one", said the good neighbor.
"No, really, thanks – I just have to …"
The good neighbor rolled his mower around the corner.
"All set to go", he said. "Why work harder than you have to?", he smiled winked, and tipped his beer to me.
Do you know who you're talking to? I thought.
I think he did. I think they all did.
"Uhh .. okay, that'd be grand, thanks so much."
A gentle tug on the pull chord and the mower was going. It was brand spanking new. And it had the feature that when you compress a lever on the handle, the mower pulls itself.
I quickly cut the yard, as fast as I ever had, simply walking behind this new mower, while the good neighbors cheered me on – each sporting another nice cold beer.
Afterwards I went into my garage and got a bag of seed. I filled my spreader and walked it around the same path I had just cut.
Meanwhile the plants still sat in the garage. The new beds empty – save a couple of items replanted. The party moved to the back deck where the barbecue was just finished cooking a batch of hot dogs and hamburgers.
Beaten at my own game.
Set up to be beaten at my own game none the less.
But the lawn looks amazing.
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