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Cool Neighbor - cellophane — LiveJournal
the story of an invisible girl
Cool Neighbor
It is Fall, and my leaves are falling. Have fallen. Actually in truth they are partly my neighbor's leaves, but they are were over my yard nevertheless. They have slowly been taking over my front area, until eventually they reached the point this week where I could no longer see the paved areas of my driveway and front walk. It was just a vast expanse of dried maple leaves.

(view out my front window this morning)

Thursday I was on the phone for a job interview when my doorbell rang. I quickly looked out to see who it was. A man stood there asking politely, "Do you need help with your leaves?"

"No thanks," I told him. I returned to my phone call and joked with the guy on the other end, "I'm unemployed, I need to rake my own leaves!"

However I didn't get around to it on thursday, busy with job-stuff. My plan was to do it friday, but friday dawned gloomy and rainy. What's worse than raking leaves? Raking wet leaves. M came over friday evening, and had trouble finding my driveway to pull into. "Seems like you have a leaf problem," he noted.

"Yeah," I said. "I've been thinking maybe I should rake them. I'll probably do that tomorrow."

Saturday morning, today, it was raining when I woke up. Darn it! But then as the morning continued, the sun came out. Okay good, I thought, the leaves will dry off quickly in the sun, and I'll rake them in the afternoon.

I had to run an errand to CVS, and since it was shaping up to be a nice day I decided to walk. It's only 1.25 miles away. I messaged DH to see if he wanted to come, since his house is practically on the way. Unfortunately his affirmative text never made it to me (darn SMS, letting us down!), so I walked alone. Thus I was very confused when I received a text from him, as I was leaving CVS, that said "Are you coming here?" Well no, I said I was going to CVS....

A phone call cleared up the confusion, and I volunteered to walk by his place on my way back and at least say 'hello' -- despite having been deprived of his company on a walk by an evil text-swallowing phone. I did so, and during the course of our conversation he mentioned that the leaf-vacuum-truck had just swept his street that morning. Oh no! I still hadn't raked my leaves, and I thought the leaf-machine wouldn't be coming to my house this weekend so I thought it'd be okay.

I must admit that I hadn't actually looked up when the leaf-machine comes. I'd just kind of assumed that it wasn't coming, because I'd seen "Don't Park Here, Street Cleaning" signs on other streets but not mine. Now we all know the dangers of assuming -- but in truth I was just being a little lazy.

I had an appointment to meet somebody for coffee (a woman to whom I was selling some old sports equipment), so I couldn't stay long at DH's. Nor could I hurry home and rake, although that had been my first impulse. We exchanged goodbyes and I scurried back to my house. When I got there, my worst fears were realized: the leaf piles on the side of the road had been vacuumed up while I was gone!! I was too late.

Unable to do anything about it, I gathered up my equipment and headed off to the coffee shop. There I successfully got rid of a helmet, some shin guards, and a sharpening rig. I bought coffee and a sandwich, and still came home with fifty-eight more dollars than I'd started with.

When I got home, I moped for a bit and was unsure what to do. I still couldn't see my driveway, so I still needed to rake. But the urgency was gone, now that the machine had already swept the street. It would probably be a few weeks before it came again, and the pile on the street would get all messy, and I was generally annoyed with myself for not looking up when it would come and making sure my leaves were raked before that happened.

I took care of some business for a bit, putting off the inevitable. I procrastinated in a variety of ways, almost talking myself into not bothering with it until tomorrow. Then I heard a sound, the sound of raking, outside my window. What? I went to the front door, opened it, and there was my next-door-neighbor D raking my front yard. Ack! I'd delayed so long that my neighbor felt that I needed help!

"I think the leaf truck is coming back," he told me, "so I thought I'd try to get your leaves done before it got here."

"Oh! You think it's coming back? I was just about to say: you don't need to do that... but let me get a rake and help you!" I hurried to the garage to grab my rake.

"I thought you might be out of town or something."

"I was until this morning," I lied out of embarrassment. "And when I got back and saw the truck had already come by, I was so bummed that I'd missed my chance! You really think they'll be back?"

We raked industriously. "Well they've gone around the area a few times. And look, that area by the corner isn't done yet. I saw the truck come by, and I thought it was going there. So I thought if I hurried I could get your leaves done and it'd get you too."

"That'd be great if they came back. I was so annoyed I missed them.... wow, you're good at this!" I had paused to look at the lawn. He is an impressive raker! He was almost through with the part he was working on, and he'd done like twice the square footage that I had, and fewer leaves were still remaining on his part of the grass than mine. I wonder if his rake is better? It is a big plastic one, whereas mine is smaller and wooden. I might upgrade.

"Well I'm going to my sister's, but on the way I'll try to spot them and ask them to come back over here. Hopefully they will!"

He climbed into his truck to go find out leaf-vacuum-machines and bring them back, a concept that would never have occurred to me. "You're such a good neighbor," I effused, "Thank you!"

I continued to rake the last bit of my front yard. When I was through, I noticed that my neighbor on the other side had not done his leaves either. I raked his whole tree-lawn area, the part inbetween the sidewalk and street. Not being as impressive a raker as D, I didn't do the part between the sidewalk and the house, but at least I was able to pay D's helpfulness forward a little bit.

I didn't do my backyard, but it doesn't tend to get as many leaves as the front yard, so it's not as big a deal. I'll rake it soon though, maybe tomorrow or monday. There are still leaves left on my cherry tree, so I don't mind waiting a bit longer. As I was just finishing up my neighbor's tree lawn, the leaf truck came back. Hooray! It sucked up the enormous piles of leaves that D and I had just constructed, then trundled off to the corner area. I waved at the driver and thanked him.

Now my driveway is visible, plus the front walk, and the sidewalk. And my grass is unburied! There are still leaves around, but nowhere near as many. All thanks to my cool neighbor. Not only did he help me rake, but he fetched the truck back so the leaf piles would get cleaned up right away. Nifty!

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djinnthespazz From: djinnthespazz Date: November 8th, 2008 10:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
Wow. What a great neighbor!

cynnerth From: cynnerth Date: November 8th, 2008 10:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
I used to have helpful neighbors like that when I lived in Milwaukee. They sometimes helped with snow shoveling, and once he showed me a nifty tool for getting dandelions out of the lawn.

The leaves are all over our backyard just like in your picture. Kevin would be raking this weekend if he was home, but he's in Birmingham, AL. Instead of doing it myself, I'm just staring at them from inside the warm house. *L*
pstscrpt From: pstscrpt Date: November 9th, 2008 05:30 am (UTC) (Link)
The leaf truck? I think I get the idea from your description, but I've never heard of such a thing. Here, you're supposed to put yard waste out front (regular garbage goes in the alley) in paper bags on your trash day, and a separate truck will pick them up. But the yard waste truck stops running around the end of September, so it's no help for leaves.
devnul From: devnul Date: November 9th, 2008 12:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
They look like this. Basically, you just have to rake your leaves from your yard into big piles in the street gutter, and the city/town truck comes by on some schedule and just vacuums up the piles, shredding them in the process. Ultimately it dumps its load at a composting facility. Good stuff, we count our blessings that our city has one, too.
devnul From: devnul Date: November 9th, 2008 12:21 pm (UTC) (Link)

LOVE the leaf truck!

We were so psyched when we moved to discover we have leaf-sucking vacuum trucks here. I'd never even heard of them before!

That's a great neighbor you have, although I suspect he probably had the ulterior motive of not wanting your leaves to blow back into his yard. ;)
From: writerwench Date: November 9th, 2008 03:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
That's a GOOD neighbour. And nice that you passed on the favour! I've got a lawn nearly covered in beech and sycamore leaves - if it's dry tomorrow, I'll rake them up. I need the leaves for composting!
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