Tuesday, October 31, 2006

What I did this weekend

Ron loved trees. When we moved into the house, there were already five of them on the property but that wasn't enough for Ron. Over the years he planted five more. And we don't have that big of a lot! I think we have more trees per square footage than most homes in the city! They didn't all make it though. He planted an oak tree that was doing very well, but then he decided it was too close to the house and would cause problems once it really started to grow so he transplanted it further away. Sadly it didn't survive the move. Oak trees are rare around here and it would have been nice to have one. He also had a tree that was doing pretty good until a neighbour across the street kind of hit the gas instead of the break when she was in reverse and rammed very heavily into the tree. I was at work that day, but I guess it was quite the crash. I think she felt a lot worse about it then Ron did. The tree developed a gash over the years that kept getting bigger and bigger until finally a couple of years ago, Ron cut it down.

We also had a couple of fruit trees that were deeply affected by the summer droughts we had 3 years in a row and half of both trees died. Ron cut them back until now they look more like flowering bushes than trees. I never really minded this weird kind of hobby of his. They all gave nice shade in the summer. And since I rarely cut the grass, having to mow around them didn't really affect me. And as for raking leaves in the fall, well I helped in a very half assed kind of way. I'd rake for about an hour and then take a three hour break to read a book while he and the boys continued to rake.

But I've found out since, what a pain his hobby was. I cursed those trees when I had to start mowing. And I began to dread in August what I knew was going to be a killer of a job in late fall. Well, that day arrived last Sunday. Yep - time to really rake leaves. And boy oh boy were there a lot of leaves. I knew it was way to big a job to tackle alone so I had asked both boys if they could come and help me and I bribed them with the offer of pizza for dinner. Pizza and Sunday football when we were done.

Things started off bad when five minutes after we began, I told Brent, the oldest son to go home. Just go home! He's my Peter Pan son. I love him to death, but for some reason, he stopped maturing about the age of 14 even though he is now 28. He's the one I recently offered up to Romancelover as a possible husband so she could be my daughter in law but then rescinded the offer and told her in a Mr. T like way, "I pity the fool who marries him" He started of whinning and complaining - how he didn't see why he had to help, how this is the reason he would never own a house, how his back was so bad and on and on and on. Since he can't complain without interspersing four letter words throughout, I just didn't feel like listening to him and told him to leave. He stormed in the house but came back out 10 minutes later with a slightly better attitude. The scary thing is he's the one most like me. We're both left brain thinkers - leaning more towards the art side of things. And he can be quite the "Drama King" when he wants. He then proceeded to rake for the next 1/2 hour - while talking on his cell phone at the same time. Ryan and I just looked at him and shook our heads. This is son #1 who just the day before complained about his $300 phone bill.

Sometime later I managed to overhear a fascinating conversation between the two of them. Ryan was telling Brent what it takes to be a man. It meant doing things you didn't want to do, like raking leaves because sometimes that was what was the right thing to do. I kind of teared up at that and looked into the sky and told Ron we did good with Ryan. See in addition, the Atlanta Falcons were on, Ryan's favourite team, and he doesn't have cable and rarely gets to see them, but not one word of complaint did he utter. Instead he worked like a trooper and did the majority of heavy work. Ryan is the numbers son and more like his dad. He works 'til the job is done with no breaks. Now he's single too, but I think he's a bit too young. And he has a girlfriend although their relationship is kind of rocky. He's wants a commitment but she's dragging her heels.

It took us over 3 hours to rake those damn leaves and we didn't rake under one tree that still has most of it's leaves on. So I know there's probably an hour or more worth of work left, not all of them are down on the other trees either, but I can handle that myself.

But I look outside now and don't have that panicky feeling I did on Saturday.

And to show you just how much work was involved, and because I wanted to play with my new toy again, here are pictures!

And here is what we have ended up with - so far!

See - not nearly so scary anymore

'til later


Jenster said...

Leaves were fun when the kids were little. You know, raking them into big piles for the kids to jump in. Not so much anymore.


Kristie (J) said...

Jenster: I know! I have fond memories of leaves when I was a kid. But I sure wasn't thinking of them fondly on Sunday :) And I don't know if they used to do it when you were young - it might have been banned by then, but another thing I remember from childhood is burning them instead of having to bag them. I know it's very very bad for pollution now, but I used to love the smell of burning leaves in the fall.

Jenster said...

We could burn our leaves where we lived in Arkansas. Nothing says "fall" like the smell of burning leaves!

We can't burn leaves here, though.

I just found a picture of my kids in the leaves when they were small. I think I may have to go scan it and post it. Such bittersweet memories.


Jenster said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Kyahgirl said...

wowza-that's a lot of leaves!

Your story about your sons was really touching. Although, I'm a bit worried now. My son is only 6 but he whines about everything. I keep thinking he'll grow out of it but now I'm wondering if its an inherent trait. My daughter, who is 7, is like your Ryan...just gets down to it and does whatever needs to be done.

Oh well, we'll see what time brings!

nath said...

Wow, now I understand why you have to rake the leaves! Maybe could could offer Ryan to Romancelover if his relationship doesn't work out :P

Mailyn said...

I can honestly say that I hate household work with a passion and I am soooo glad we don't have that problem here. Yikes! I think I'd like hire someone just to do that. LOL.

Good on your for doing it yourself!

Oh and Amazon reviews, well, since the plot is already covered by Amazon itself [under the book description] a lot of people just say why they did or didn't like it. Hope that clears that up. :-)

Rosie said...

Since I'm having trouble with my back looking at all those leaves gave it an extra twinge. Yikes!!!

Jenster said...

Hey Kristie -

Here's a link you might be interested in:


I think with your writing talent you should take a look and give it a try. :o)


CindyS said...

Wow. That's a lot of leaves. I got on my mower the other day and chopped them all up. I know I have to rake but I'm in procrastination mode and once they all got chopped up they started to shrivel. Hey, might yet get out of work! Nah. They'll just be heavier. Ugh.


Lori said...

Holy cow! I can't believe all the leaves! I have only one tree in my front yard, and it only sheds once a year. The one in the back doesn't lose its leaves thank goodness. I couldn't deal with the raking. It's bad enough having to sweep all the leaves and dirt out of the dog run every week (the boys just never seem to do a good enough job).

Kristie (J) said...

Kyahgirl: Yes indeed, all those trees produce a lot of leaves in the fall. And I wouldn't start worrying yet *g*. It wasn't until the oldest hit his twenties that we realized he still had some pretty immature thoughts going. He does have some wonderful qualities - I mean he's the most like me - but at times I do want to smack him and say "get over it and grow up"

Nath: LOL I think he's too young. And he too needs a bit of work. He's got a bit of a chauvinistic attitude about sometimes. I tried! I really tried with both of them.

Mailyn: It is so tempting to hire someone, but with two healthy grown sons, I feel they should chip in. I mean, I did give them life. Surely they owe me something *g*. And as I kept chanting to myself " good exercise. It's good exercise."

Rosie: I tell you a VERY HOT shower rarely felt as good as it did that night!

Jenster: Thanks for the link! I checked it out and there isn't anything in Canada listed right now, but I bookmarked it in case something does come up!

Cindy: I'm still going to have to mow I think after doing another rake. I hate outdoor work like that!

Lori: yes nine! count 'em NINE trees and various and assorted bushes do tend to produce way, way to many leaves.

romancelover said...

Yawza! Lots of work. I used to think raking leaves looked like so much fun. Growing up in San Francisco, I didn't have to rake that many (try none) and it always looked so cool on tv. When I moved to NY for grad school, I rented a room in a house. The landlady went to England for a few months and she left me in charge of raking. Of course, being the procrastinator that I am, I never did...got lazy and let it all accumulate. When I had to rake it up, it took me hours and I was exhausted. Putting it all in bags is the worst part. Raking leaves sucks! I'm so glad I grew up in SF. There's something to be said about being a city kid!

Dylan said...

I wish we had leaves like that, here in Southern California, we have one season all year long...and that's sprummer. It's a mix between spring and summer, so we miss out on a lot of the goods that ya'll get to enjoy, but I'm too chicken to move away from, home...;)

The yard looks great sweetie!