AS I WAS SAYING: Diary of a leaf raker
10:02 – I am not the least bit deterred that I can’t find a matching pair of gloves or the fact that my rake has lost a tine or two over the summer. Here we come backyard!!
10:05 – Spent the last 2 minutes staring at the four corners of my property. How come I never noticed how big it was before?
10:09 - Filled up the first wheelbarrow load of the day!! Don’t think made a dent in the small pile.
10:11 – Seems a little cooler than I thought. Popped inside to grab a sweatshirt.
10:26 – Couldn’t decide on what colour sweatshirt is best. Decided on orange in case visibility is an issue. Oh yeah, checked my phone, went to the bathroom and grabbed a swig of pop.
10:31 – Stopped to listen to the young boy next door gleefully laughing as he threw a ball in the air and caught it. Smiled as I remembered the freedom of youth and the beauty of the great outdoors.
10:38 – OK, I have filled my wheelbarrow 3 times and somehow it doesn’t seem like I am making any progress. I stare at another corner and wonder if I started in the wrong area. Good problem solving.
10:44 – After the wind picked up, I saw leaves from my neighbour’s yard blow into mine, but not one of my leaves even budged. Do I say something?
10:50 – 4 wheelbarrows after almost an hour. That doesn’t seem like much of an effort. Then I remind myself that this is meant as a leisure activity and I instantly feel better. Then wonder what time college football starts.
10:57 – The first wave of self-pity threatens to derail my commitment to the task and I think that I am the only person in the world working this hard today. I determine that I will go in and see what my wife is doing while I am trudging like a beast of burden.
10:59 – I am back with my rake when I see my wife doing laundry, cleaning the kitchen and scrubbing the hardwood floors. With a smile on her face. And humming. I comment how we are both working so hard on a Saturday. Grab another swig of pop.
11:06 – Why does that kid next door have to laugh every time he catches the ball? It is kind of becoming annoying. The first time? Sure. It’s an accomplishment. Every other time since, it’s just gravity and inevitability. Good job.
11:12 – I’ve lost track. I think I have filled and dumped the wheelbarrow 10 times. Maybe 20. It doesn’t matter. The leaves are multiplying now faster than I can rake them.
11:18 – Convinced that I need another break I sit on the stoop of the back deck and devise a new plan. Instead of trying to clean up one area, I will just go in random areas around the yard. That way I won’t get frustrated as our ancestors surely felt as they cleared the brush to create civilization. With a rake. And a wheelbarrow. And mis-matched working gloves.
11:19 – Bothered by the fact that the gloves don’t match, I am easily convinced that finding the matching pair is good use of my time. That is if anyone asks. No one does. I stomp back to the garage filled with righteous indignation.
11:26 – Who put a single glove behind the can of deck paint where I clearly couldn’t find it? I know it was me, but you have to ask it anyway.
11:32 – Seriously, is there no other game the kid next door can play? I am beyond irritated now and have pledged myself to buy the worst Hallowe’en candy and blame him.
11:39 – I have now been outside in this frigid wasteland for what seems like days monotonously raking up these stupid leaves that could have come from anywhere. I start devising a “leaf to tree” identification system that, while cost-prohibitive, might win me a Nobel Prize.
11:47 – College football starts at noon and though I don’t know a single player from Colgate or East Carolina, that rivalry is just too fierce to pass up. Suddenly, they are my 2 favourite teams.
12:00 – I push the wheelbarrow one last time into the brush to dispose of another sorry sack of tree droppings and call it a day. Even though there is at least 6 good hours of daylight left and a warm fall afternoon ahead, I am too pooped to care.
12:04 – As I head inside and take off my shoes, my nose detects the delicious aroma of beef soup. My wife, clearly impressed by my manly display of brawn, has thoughtfully put together a warm autumn lunch for 2. As I slurp out the first spoonful, she rewards me with a peck on the cheek and congratulates me on a new leaf raking record.
She points out that it is the first year I’ve ever made to noon.
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