Love Me Or Leaf Me

Posted: Thursday, November 6, 2008 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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Oh my God, Linda…I have a Charlie horse in my thumb!
That’s what woke me up this morning; the painful sight of  watching my left thumb curling up like a rattle snake about to strike. Then, as I was rubbing the inside of my left hand I noticed I could hardly open and close EITHER hand.  
When I tried to stand up to go for some Advil, I nearly fell to the floor from the pain in my back, heels and knees. What is happening to me?  Then I remembered…oh, yeah, six straight hours of doing yard work the day before.
It was my bright idea to save the 150 dollars we usually shell out for a professional lawn cleaning service each fall by doing the work ourselves.
“We’re not in very good shape yah know, are you sure we wanna do this?” Linda said.
“Well, we’ll just take our time, there aren’t as many leaves this year since the neighbors cut down their big cottonwood and we had our maple trimmed back considerably.” 
While she went to the store to buy paper bags, I got the leaf blower out. That’s when I noticed a lot of strange leaves piled up in two foot high drifts in our landscaping.  They were gifts from trees all over the neighborhood that sailed in during those hurricane force winds in late October.
 This was not going to be an easy job.
“I got 30 leaf bags. With the five we already have, that should be enough..right?” Linda said when she got back.  Then we started raking..and bagging..and raking and bagging until the sacks were all gone and we weren’t even half done.And piles to go before we sleep.
“We’re both gonna have heart attacks if we don’t stop for today,” Linda said. I agreed even though I knew the remaining leaf piles might end up being soaked with rain or covered in snow if we didn’t finish. We sort of stumbled inside, had a beer, a bite to eat and a handful of Ibuprofen. By eight o’clock we were both asleep in front of the TV.
But it was a restless sleep. Neither of us could get the thought of the unfinished job out of our heads. So, when we awoke this morning to partial sunshine and temps in the mid 40’s we decided to shrug off the pain and desire to just let the dang leaves sit there and rot until spring and get back to work.When we bought this two year old Lincoln in 1992, it was the most beautiful car we’d ever owned. Now with 170 thousand miles and cancerous rust eating away at the wheel wells, she has been reduced to the humiliation of service as a pick-up truck. I feel bad about it but I wowed the old guys at the leaf-drop off when, on my fourth and final trip there, I had managed to cram 16 bags inside..a personal record for the Town Car.
When the last leaf was finally in the bag around noon, Linda asked, “How much money did we save again by doing this miserable job ourselves?”  “Well, let’s see. 30 dollars worth of leaf bags plus four trips to the leaf drop-off site cost ten dollars including the gas.”
“So we saved 110 dollars..not counting our labor and Advil expense,” Linda said as she leaned backward with her hands on her hips trying to stretch away the pain in her lower back. “I love you, she said, but let’s start saving up the money now because I’m not doin’ this ever again.”
“Don’t worry, I’ve already got the yard guy’s number on speed dial.”Free at at last, thank God Almighty, we’re free of leaves at last.

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