One afternoon a few months ago, when I came home from work, a guy who was raking the yard across the street yelled to me to ask if I wanted my yard raked too.
And so began my relationship with Careen and Robbin, my yard rakers.
The first day was a huge success in that they explained their business plan (rake yards to earn money instead of robbing people) and gave some insight into Rosie’s peculiar body shape (long body and short legs must mean she’s got some alligator in her).
After that day, they’ve stopped by often when I haven’t been there, leaving long notes on my door detailing their visit:
“We came over to rake your yard, but you wasn’t here. We would like to rake your yard again. We can hear your dog barking. We think you might be asleep though.”
When I returned from Costa Rica last week, I found another similar note. This one was the longest I’d gotten yet and explained that they’d come by four times and also that, no offense, but my yard had A LOT of leaves in it.
So, I called Robbin who said they’d be happy to rake on Sunday morning at 9 a.m. I agreed and said I’d see them then. But on Sunday at 9, as I was drinking my coffee, Robbin called to ask if I could pick them up. As I’d dropped them off after their last visit I knew where their house was so I said I’d be there in a few minutes. When I arrived, they both came out eating hot dogs with ketchup. At 9 a.m.
Somehow, inevitably, when Robbin and Careen come over to rake, they end up spending more time in my house than they do in the yard. Robbin is obsessed with Rosie, who she calls “Weenie Rosie” and prefers to hold over her shoulder like she’s burping a baby and Carreen is obsessed with my bar top liquor collection, which he has offered multiple times to come help me drink. On Sunday morning, Robbin wasn’t feeling good so I made her hot tea and we chatted in the kitchen—mostly about Rosie.
I’m sure I could call one of the actual professional yard services whose fliers I often find in my mailbox. And it’s likely they’d be cheaper—and there’s no question they’d be faster. But they’d probably want to just tend to my yard and leave. Sounds pretty boring to me.
Today is my birthday.
Last night I slipped out of my 28th year and into my 29th with my feet in the sand as the sounds of a Costa Rican band mixed with crashing waves under the full moon. For someone whose January birth date has been historically plagued by snow, this felt perfect.
Birthdays are strange though. I’ve never liked their forced attention- and now I’m also not a big fan of the way they serve as a brutal reminder of the passage of time.
However, birthdays do offer the chance to reflect on and be grateful for all I’ve been given in 29 years. And I have been given a lot. Today, I am exceptionally thankful for my family, who I’ve never deserved, but who have made me feel like I must be the luckiest daughter and sister in the world. And today I am especially grateful for my friends, who make me laugh and who have loved me like family.
Now, I’m off to put my feet in that sand again because on this particular birthday I’m also thankful for salty ocean breezes and beachside happy hours that are helpful for forgetting that whole “passage of time” thing.