Dave LeCompte (really) (tsmaster) wrote,
Dave LeCompte (really)

The Big Book of Virtues

Not in any way related to William Bennett, I assure you.


I slept in. Not a big thing, this being Saturday. But until late this past week, I wasn't sure if I'd be going camping in the office this weekend. As campgrounds go, it's got nice facilities, and it's usually pretty quiet on weekends (which is odd, because the total hike from the cars to the site is pretty short). I'm not sure what the policy is on building fires - I suspect they frown on flames of any sort.

But priorities shift on this project every couple of days, and the 20 hours of work that I might have done this weekend wouldn't have been time well spent, so instead I got to NPR-nap for a few hours.


I had a hard time convincing myself to exercise this morning. But I'm proud to say that I did end up exercising. I'll be thin as a rail in no time. You know, in case you've got a dangerous balcony or something.


I've got some number of friends coming over next Saturday. Each year around this time, I have a barbecue. This helps compel me to get my yard presentable to guests. I think that the lawn will be about the best that I've ever had it looking (thank you, John Deere). I did a quick pass on the lawn this morning (sandwiched between the constraint of not annoying the neighbors by mowing too early, and the constraint of not subjecting myself to sunstroke by mowing in the middle of the day). It continues to amaze me how much my lawn grows per day, and how much volume that much grass takes up. I love my yard waste can, but I'm unsure when I might be able to mow my lawn and collect only a can of clippings.

Today, rather than collect clippings, I left them on the lawn. This is expedient, but it's ugly. And the place with the thickest carpet of clippings is the chunk of lawn where I hope my guests will be playing volleyball. Tomorrow, I hope to at least get that area picked up. Then, my lawn will look perfect. Really good, at least.


After mowing, I climbed into the car to see how much I could knock off my 'To Do' list. First on the list was to stop by Parrot's Lawn Equipment. Twinkly music, please, we're about to do a flashback montage.

Time: Fall, 1999 In closing on my house, I got a call from the previous owners. I forget what else was said in the call, but they offered to leave their old riding lawnmower on the property.

Time: Spring, 2000 I start the old riding lawnmower (which I'll call 'Lil Red', a name I made up for this journal entry, but it's useful), and it sort of works. It needs help, and I ask Redmond Lawn and Tractor to fix it.

Time: Late Summer, 2000 I finally get it back from Redmond Lawn and Tractor. They lost it in their warehouse at one point, and I'm pretty sure the guy that I was talking to throughout the process was incompetent. It worked better, and that made me happy, as Lil Red is a step up from trying to do the whole lawn with the walk-behind mower. We won't speak of The Robot Lawn Mower Episode.

Time: Spring, 2001 I swear I will not do business with Redmond Lawn and Tractor. I contact Parrot's Lawn Equipment. Much closer to my house, even if they aren't a Honda dealer. Perhaps they'll make me happy.

Time: Late Summer, 2001 Parrot's Lawn Equipment has kept Lil Red limping along all summer. The supplemental walk-behind lawn mower that I sometimes use slowly begins to succumb to the abuse I'm giving it.

Time: Spring, 2002 I take the walk-behind lawnmower in to Barnett's Implement (the local John Deere dealer that isn't Redmond Lawn and Tractor). They seem eager to fix it. I contact Parrot's Lawn Equipment to resuscitate Lil Red. I am without any lawn equipment. The neighbor's grandkid mows the lawn once, chaching.

Time: Summer, 2002 I contact another local kid who does a good job, for a while, and then stops doing any job. I fire the kid.

Time: Late Summer, 2002 I get the walk-behind back. The lawn and I do battle once again, but the lawn, it knows that I have become soft, and while yielding to my attacks, it plots (ha!) its revenge.

Time: Early Fall, 2002 Lil Red (remember Lil Red?) shows up again in my carport. Just in time to be winterized. I do no such thing.

Time: Spring, 2003 Hello, Parrot's? Yeah, it's me again. Yeah, the red Honda ride-on. Yep, it just won't go. You'll pick it up in a week? Great.

Time: A month later Lil Red is still sitting where it's been for 6 months. Parrot's hasn't picked it up. It doesn't go. I mow the lawn with the walk-behind, but in order for the lawn to look good, I'm going to have to do many passes... I calculate how much time that will take, and it's upwards of 80 hours with the walk-behind. I pull out my nearly-paid off credit card, and make one of the biggest impulse purchases of my life, a John Deere ride-on lawn tractor. We've caught up to LJ-time, now. See the related posts if your eyes haven't totally glossed over by now.

Time: 1 week ago My lawn and I are beginning to understand eachother. I have escalated my weapons, and the balance of power seems to have shifted. The lawn looks pretty good, and I'm not up to my elbows in grass clippings 10 hours a week to maintain it. This is when Parrot's decides to finally pick up Lil Red. I was wondering what I might do about getting rid of the poor old thing, but now it's gone, which is good. I revel in this thought for a while before it occurs to me that they'll want to bring it back, which isn't a good thing at all.

I also wonder if the old guy behind the counter at Parrot's (Mr. Parrot? I don't know. I know that I've heard his first name, but it clearly hasn't stuck in my brain) will be offended that I bought a new lawnmower, and not from him. I feel a twinge of guilt that he'll see this discarded old red thing dwarfed by the beauty of the Extravagant John Deere Tractor.

Time: 1:30 today I walk into Parrot's, and tell them that I don't want the lawnmower back. Thanks for your help, I'll be happy to pay for the work you've done, just don't bring it back to me. Mr Parrot (I wish I remembered his name) smiles and his eyes twinkle when he says "We'll make it disappear". His eyes always twinkle. I'm not sure what that means. Maybe he really likes working with lawn equipment. But I am pleased and relieved that Lil Red has gone to a better place. Maybe a house in the suburbs with 2 square feet of grass to mow every 3 years. I'm sad that Twinkle Eyes Parrot and I won't be doing business anymore, though.

The Love of Money

After putting Lil Red to sleep, I did some shopping for my barbecue. Got maybe a third of my list out of the way. One thing that I've discovered - when it's hot out and I have frozen food in the car, especially ice cream, the traffic on Highway 522 crawls.

However, I got home without all of my groceries melting into one indistinguishable pool in the back of the car. Having cleared out the back of the car, I put three compost bags in the back of the car, and set out to find "Bailey's Compost", which I have been told is a cost-efficient means of getting rid of yard waste in bulk.

I drive up to a farm, and I'm overwhelmed with quaint. A kid in overalls comes up to my car, and I ask him how much I owe him to allow me to dump my yard debris. "Uh, I dunno, three bucks?" All right, it's a deal. They're open from 8-5 Monday through Saturday. I'll be back, oh yes, I will be back. I have several bags of yard waste that I've been meaning to get rid of, and people ask me why I don't compost them. I find it hard to communicate the sheer volume of grass clippings that I plan on trafficking. (Hm, I believe that's the first time I got to use 'traffic' as a verb in the first person.) This is a solution to a nagging problem - mental note, fill the car with compost before going to work on Monday. You know you're a grownup when you say that sentence with a straight face.

To explicitly tie in my heading, I'm thrilled that handing a kid $3 made the bags in the back of my car no longer my responsibility. I'm going to make sure I always have $3 from now on.


An Important Lesson: Some Hansen's Natural Sodas are tasty.

An Important Exception to the above: Vanilla Cola doesn't taste like vanilla, it doesn't taste like cola, and it doesn't really taste good.

Sloth, again

I think that I'll allow this post to come full circle. I'm sleepy. I've got a big day of trafficking in store for me tomorrow. Maybe I'll take it easy some. It'll be my birthday, after all.

I'm surprised that I made to the end of this post. Even moreso that you made it to the end of this post.

Tune in tomorrow for exciting(!) ramblings about weed-eaters.

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