In Which I Am Alarmed By My Neighborhood


I do not have pictures of this year’s leaf harvest for reasons that will soon be obvious. It’s not the most obvious thing: we did have a bunch of leaves. Start anywhere in our yard and walk eight feet in any direction. This will neatly faceplant you into a maple tree. Not the kind of maple tree that makes syrup you can use. I mean use as syrup.

But what normally happens come autum is all these leaves fall. They gather on the lawn and attract more leaves. I had plans to do something about this. I figured to run the leaves over with the lawn mower. I mean while the lawn mower is still mowing. This way I turn an unmanageable heap of leaves into an unmanageable heap of leaf chunks. But I never got around to it. This wasn’t my fault. Like, there was a lot of rain and you can’t go mowing down wet leaves. That leaves you with wet leaf chunks. How are you supposed to get anything done like that?

Then this guy knocked. I mean on the door. Our door. He was holding a bunch of paper leaf bags, and he had two rakes bundled against his back, held to him by his jacket. He asked if I wanted the leaves raked. And, here, I thought hard about this question. I mean, on the one hand, I could avoid spending hours puttering around the yard, cursing my inability to wear gloves in that way where my hands feel less cold, raking stuff up into two fewer leaf bags than we need for the job, and freeing up my weekend to do fun things instead. On the other hand, to say yes I’d have to talk to a person.

Well, I took the risk and let him go at the leaves. He really knew what he was doing, too, working swiftly and efficiently. I guess if you do a lot of yard-to-yard leaf raking you really pick things up. At least once you have a good rake. He probably had good tools. He seemed to know what he was doing. In maybe an hour the yard was cleared of leaves and we had five neat bags of lawn stuff, sitting on the extension, waiting to be picked up. Yes, he’d taken the rakes out of his jacket and used them like normal.

So, Sunday, we were out doing fun things and not worrying about the leaves. I admit even if we stayed home we wouldn’t have been worrying about the leaves. But while we were out, all our bagged leaves disappeared. They hadn’t gone getting scattered back on the lawn or anything. They were just off to wherever bagged leaves go.

Which is great but then how? The first explanation is that the city came and picked them up. But the city picks up leaves on Tuesday. Maybe Wednesday if they were quite busy on Tuesday. Maybe Thursday if they were quite busy on Tuesday and found Wednesday was a day they just could not. I could see also some eager types collecting leaves on Monday, before everyone’s set their leaves out, and so getting it done more quickly. But a Sunday? Who’s doing leaf work on a Sunday?

But the other explanation makes even less sense. Who would just go up to our lawn and take leaves? I know our neighborhood. You can’t get people to take a coffee table that’s in fair shape off your lawn. Who would take bags of leaves? If they’re hoping to take them to the store and get the deposit back on the leaves good luck. The machines at the front of Meijer’s take forever to handle even clean, dry leaves. Wet bagged leaves? It’s just not worth it.

So if they didn’t take the leaves for the deposit, then we have to suppose they just took the leaves to take them. It’s a somber thought to imagine we live in a place plagued with leaf thieves. But then my love pointed out you could call them “leaf thieves, or for short, leaves”. That’s made me smile about every 35 minutes nonstop since we discovered the leaves back on Sunday, and it isn’t showing any sign of losing its power. So it’s not all bad. It’s just peculiar is all.

Statistics Saturday: The State Of Apologies


Admittedly the results are thrown a little off by going down to the farmers market on a Thursday afternoon and leaving my cart off to the side by the health-food clones of normal breakfast cereals and then having people apologize for being in my way when I backed it up from them. Also from people apologizing for getting bags of coffee beans while I was looking over flavors of coffee beans. Also for being in the same aisle while I was looking for one particular brand of barbecue sauce that wasn’t there.

Also they do amazing things with “Golden Grahams, only kind of healthy” these days, but it’s going to be hard to win me over from Grape-Nuts brand cereals where if you mix exactly the right amount of milk in it’s like you’re chewing down on concrete. There’s nothing better. I’m not being snarky here. I don’t understand why you wouldn’t eat cereal like that if you could.

Given By People Who Didn't Bother Me In The Slightest, 45%. Not Given By People Who Did Offend Me 50%. Companies Expressing Their Shame For The Whole Situation By Crediting Our Account Like $6.33, 5%.
I’m not bitter. Why are you saying I’m bitter? I better hear some apologies for calling me bitter, but I know I won’t, because of next week’s statistics piece, My Acts Of Passive Aggression.

Another Blog, Meanwhile Index

The index skidded down nine points as traders discovered it had rained overnight and there were all these wet leaves on the sidewalk, and where are they even from? All the leaves left over from autumn were blown away in the windstorm last month, we thought. That’s suspicious.

123

November: Its First Impressions


It’s a strange start to November considering I haven’t put my first lip balm of the season through the wash yet. Combined with the ongoing leaf-bootleggers keeping our yard clean it’s got the month going in weird directions. Anyway, that’s all got me putting off the monthly review of what was popular around these parts because I was feeling lazy. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe next year.

Mostly, I’m just glad that Halloween night I’m pretty sure I was able to take the trash to the curb without anyone photographing how I was wearing my raccoon mask. That feels like it would be a little too meme-worthy for my style of living.

Meanwhile, I started reading a book on the history of Pythagoreanism because I figured I should do more than just make jokes about it. And then right at the top of the second chapter it mentions how one story has it that Pythagoras talked a greedy bull out of eating beans. So that is going exactly and in every detail just as I had imagined.

Another Blog, Meanwhile Index

The Another Blog, Meanwhile index broke out of its holding pattern at 94 and even rose a bit, giving traders hope that they’d get it back up above a hundred, at this rate, tomorrow. And if the trend continues they might even see 200 as soon as next month, which wouldn’t that be a treat?

97

A Very Momentary Last Thought About The Leaves


I was thinking hard, as hard as reasonable, about the problem of the leaf-bootleggers clearing out our yard. Then I got distracted by wondering … uh … hang on, it was right here. It was something stupid. Oh yeah, that’s it. I got to wondering whether the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were a species of land or of sea turtle. It must be on a fan wiki somewhere. And just think of the Discussion Page behind it. What if they’re an invasive species? Wouldn’t that be kind of fun in that obscure scientific-fact way? Well, maybe only to me. Also, I am still not reading about the history of socks.

Another Blog, Meanwhile Index

Four points! We’re up four points! The traders take back everything they said about lower numbers being better because up is definitely the way to go and they’re looking ahead to 98 or even 102 in the near future!

94

But Also About Those Missing Leaves


But if we are being visited by leaf bootleggers who’re running what should be covering our yard down to other states, when are they doing it? They can’t be doing it in the day. I’m usually in the dining room and I’d see them out the back window, or out the front window. Not right away, all right. But eventually. There’s no hiding that stuff forever unless they spend the whole operation crouching down. Not at night either, though. We stay up late and we’d see somebody stumbling around. We’ve got one of those side door lights that are supposed to light up when someone approaches the side door, and instead lights up as soon as you give up on getting some light out there. They’d be hit by that as soon as they got out of range of the side door light sensor. Are they waiting for when we happen to be away? I guess they could do that but it’s hardly a reliable business model. It’s getting more mysterious.

Another Blog, Meanwhile Index

The Another Blog, Meanwhile index was unchanged over the day. Analysts did send Steve down about 2:30 to tap on it and make sure the gauge wasn’t simply stuck. It wasn’t. “This is a complicated stuck if it’s any sort of stuck I’ve ever seen,” said Steve. “And I know complicated stucks, as I took a seminar course in grad school about how to tell simple stucks from complicated stucks. I got a B+ and a note I should’ve spoken up more,” he added, padding his part.

91

Leaf Shortage Continues


Again I’m not angry that we haven’t got nearly as many leaves in the yard as we’d expect for this time of year. It’s better than that year we had so many leaves that we overloaded the garbage truck’s ability to carry them away. We had to take extraordinary steps, bringing buckets of leaves to abandon behind the Kroger, carrying extra leaves in our pockets to drop on the floor at work, compressing piles of leaves into a pancake-like matter that we sold at the farmer’s market until they found out what “stroopwafel” was supposed to be and chased us out with rakes. In comparison this is great stuff.

I’m just — you know, I hesitate saying this lest I sound daft. But is it possible that we’re being victimized here? Like, how do I know there’s not someone coming in and bootlegging our leaves, swiping the bounty of our trees and running them down to some fallen-leaf-deprived area? And I’m not annoyed so much that someone might be stealing our leaves, since we weren’t doing anything with them anyway. It hurts to lose a bit of a revenue stream but I’ll admit we don’t really need what we might get from joining the legitimate maple-leaves-to-Florida network. But not being asked, that’s offensive.

So this is a long shot, but hey, if you’re the leaf bootlegger swiping them from our yard? Come clean. It’s all right if you keep taking them, we just want to know about it. Doing it ethically has value.

Another Blog, Meanwhile Index

The index dropped six points over the day. Traders have come out onto the street to admit they were maybe getting a little smug about getting back over 100 and fine, but don’t we all occasionally say something a little more optimistic than we should? Anyway they’re all very sorry and they understand they were getting to be a bit much and they hope we can put this behind everyone and go back to big, high numbers again soon.

95

In Which I Probably Just Stir Up Trouble


I know this will get me in trouble but I have to say something. It’s fall here. That’s not the part I expect to get in trouble about. The problem is the leaves. There’s leaves falling all around the neighborhood in about the right amounts. Three houses up the street the leaves are a tidal pool eight feet deep, rustling only as someone drives the car to the detached garage, with tethered rowboats bringing people from the garage to the main house. It’s like that all around. Except at our house, and the neighbor’s. Here we’ve just got little scatterings of leaves, not even enough to run the lawn mower over. I don’t know where the leaves are and why they’re not here. But I know this isn’t going to last either. It’s ominous, that’s what it is.

A couple leaves in the yard.
Our yard, as of Saturday afternoon. Not depicted: the red squirrel who’s always berating the trees and other squirrels and bird feeder and all that because the red squirrel mostly keeps to the backyard. When he’s out in the front yard it’s because something is really, really screwed up, such as there’s someone rolling the trash bins out.

Another Blog, Meanwhile Index

The index dropped to an all-time low of 97 today and traders do NOT want to talk about it. They’re all grousing and grumbling and saying the whole thing was the stupidest idea they ever had. And they do NOT WANT TO HEAR about how there’s always a turnaround and things change and all the people who shorted are feeling pretty smug. One guy slugged someone who just said the word “short” and they were talking about stacks of pancakes. It’s pretty nasty out there.

97

The Mysteries of Leaves


I was trying to figure why waking up today felt like such a foolish idea, and why when I did wake up it still felt like my back and my arms had been pummeled with large sacks of fatigue. They still feel a little bit like I’m wearing thick rubber pads buried under my skin. I have a hypothesis.

There was a heavy storm Sunday, the sort that doesn’t just blow all the leaves off the trees but that also finds wherever it was last year’s leaves were carted off to and brings them back for a fresh go-round. But with the yard’s drain plug pulled, the leaf levels had receded to the point they could be dealt with, so, we spent some of yesterday raking up the survivors. I didn’t think it was all that much, when we started, but we got fourteen lawn bags full just out of the little strip between the garage and the side fence. This is a strip maybe 26 inches wide, but it still took three-quarters of an hour to rake out and produce a pile of leaves large enough to leap my car into. (Lest I be accused of exaggerating, I must point out I have a sub-compact.) While I know suggesting there’s a link between doing one thing and experiencing another leaves me open to commenters reminding everyone that “correlation does not imply causation”, I think there may be a connection between hours of yard work and tiredness.

The Leaves and the Fishes


Some good news on the yard front. With the help of a pilot boat that the chipmunks sent out I found the main drainplug, and pulled it, and based on the leaf level it should be drained enough to start raking within about eight days.

Meanwhile, the goldfish in the pond have taken note of the increasing cold and told me that I have until the count of ten to do something about it. I asked them to put me on my honor while I work out a solution to it all and they’ve allowed this so far, but, obviously, that isn’t going to keep them satisfied forever.

The Leaves


Well, the leaves started falling in earnest over the past week. With the help of a little rain last night there’s now drifts of up to eight feet tall in the backyard, with a strong undertow when I go out to put recyclables in the giant monster bin. We’ve had to tie a safety rope to the Bauhaus Monstrosity bench we have in the front yard, so passers-by can tack their way down the sidewalk, and the squirrels have assembled a modest lighthouse by the pond so their kind can navigate safely. Also I’m pretty sure I saw a flock of maple leaves attacking Tippi Hedren. Going to be a heck of a November.

Once Again, Our Fish Protest


We had to put a net up over our pond in the backyard, because there’s about 700 trees in our and the immediate neighbor’s yards, and come this time of year we get approximately every leaf in the world falling on them, and it already takes roughly from the 15th of November through the following July to rake them off the land. The water just gets unmanageable. So we put up a net that catches the leaves for two or three days, then bows into the water, and then every weekend we go out and haul in a fresh supply of leaves which we bring to the farmer’s market, where the organizers throw sticks at us until we flee. It’s a very civilized process.

This year, though, we’ve got fish, and it’s their first autumn in our pond. They saw the net going up and now they keep banging on the side door and saying, “Hey, man, I thought we were cool. What’s with the net?” And they just are not getting the leaf thing. Also, they’re tired of this cooler weather and told us we should turn the summer back on. I’d like to oblige but we’re almost out of summer coupons for this year.

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