I was mowing the lawn tonight while it was overcast and cool. It took forever since the grass was wet from all of the rain and about six-eight inches high in places. As always, I find little presents in my back yard that neighbors on each side like to leave me because I am special.
From the south, Bad-Ass Harley Dude (wanna be only) works on his cars, trucks and motorcycles and throws me his used oil jugs, extra bolts and canvas cinch belts, the occasional muffler or air filter, and empty beer bottles and cans. (As an aside, Neighbor on the east was mowing tonight too, pushing mower with right hand, beer bottle in left, took him longer than me and I think he had four beers.)
All of the gifted items are tested out on my lawnmower since each spring the grass is very tall and for some reason I never Canvass the Area for Danger ahead of time. I remove the thing from the blade, start 'er up and keep mowing. It seems to work. Guy on the south also mends the wooden fence between us, which I appreciate, after his dogs chew on it. The dogs have finally stopped barking at me.
Fair Trade Act Notice #1: Neighbor from south is allowed to throw litter over the fence. In return, he mends the fence and his dogs no longer bark at me.
From the north, there are two rugrats. Although a delight to view from a distance, they are also litterbugs. I have mowed/mulched two batches of foam from their trampoline, torn off by their black lab. When I get to the rear of my shed, about two or three hours into the mowing--I lose count the yard is so damn big--I circumvent a used mattress, a dead mower, discarded toys and have to smell their lawn compost. I let them use the back of my shed. In return for? Smiles, waves, and hellos from all of their cheery faces.
Anyway, their dog likes to do his dumping in my yard. For awhile, they called him off. It seems he delights in my tall grass and believes it hides the foul deed. I mow the crap along with the stray toys they leave hidden in my grass.
Fair Trade Act Notice #2: They get to let their dog poop in my yard because--ah ha!!--my cat Sparkle uses their flowerbed every morning for her BM. She buries it, of course, but I don't imagine it smells very nice when you get up close or, er, when weeding.
Since it takes nearly two hours to mow, I now put on headphones for self-entertainment. Last time I listened to Def Leppard "Slang" at a volume higher than the mower and my left ear drum was sore for two days. Tonight, I listened to some music from the Mediterranean and I have to tell you: It's the sexiest set of dance bar saloon drinkin' sitting on the sidewalk in front of the cafe music I've ever listened to. It just puts me right there in a seaside-hillside town drinking wine under a red and green umbrella and munching on olives while watching the street musicians in the terracotta sun. Twenty different instruments are used and I can't pronounce half of the stringed ones. Lots of percussion. Love it.
Fair Trade Act Notice #3: If I have to mow, I at least get credit for my 10,000 daily steps and am justified in purchasing new CDs as needed and/or desired. Maybe an iPod if the rainy season continues exploding the grass from the ground.