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Thursday, Nov. 17, 2005
When I was in home ownership phase back at the old house, there were multiple trees which festooned the front yard with a wild variety of leaves every year at this time. Leaves = raking, much raking.

So I had a tree guy come in one fine day about 5 years ago and cut down damn near every one of ‘em. Fall reverted to being, as it should be, a fine time for football and wood fires in the fireplace, fueled by the scattered offal from the tree guy’s chainsaw.

Now, in the rental house, I have exactly one tree out front, but it’s a honker. A live oak with a tremendous canopy. I spent most of the day yesterday raking, and we’re not talking about a huge yard, either. I ran to the store for more leaf bags, stuffed and compressed leaves with an anal fury. Piled a full two dozen bags at the curb for pickup. I stared up into that tree, as leaves continued to plummet, and noted that the folks at Hefty have little to worry about - I’ll be buying their bags for quite a few more weeks.

And I have little option in these matters. I mean cutting down a big live oak at a rental house might just make the owners a wee upset, you know?

I had to write the above thrill packed missive as an expression of what my ordinary day consists of. Leaf raking. It may explain why I don’t update quite so often.

Andrew, our Diaryland cheerleader and mullah sans kaftan had me in stitches the other day when I read his landmark explanation for “How to have a well read blog (I refuse to call it a diary, I just do) and get many new friends on the Internet”. His biggest premise was to write every day, write something, anything, and watch the hits roll in.

Uh huh. Most of my writing is reactionary in nature. Something happens and I report on it. Leaves fall, I rake. That’s about it. I mean, consider my normal day when there’s not much work going on:

4 am ‘til 7 am: Read. Everything. Internet.
7 am ‘til 7:45: Still reading but taking 5 minutes here and there to boot Ally and Ben out of their respective beds and off to their respective work and school.
‘til 11 am: Read some more, maybe go out to the garage and tinker, some. Putter.
‘til 5 pm: Puttering, Water Holing, light shopping, one or two phone calls.
Dinner. Ten minutes conversation with Ally.

Working days? Just substitute “Work like a one-legged fool from 6 am until 6 pm” and leave the rest alone. It’s all very simple you see.

Of such is the material to draw from for those high drama posts that will have the hits rolling in. There is little contention in my life right now and a whole lot of boring repetition. I mean there’s only so many time I can clean out the truck, have a light lunch or a beer with Chief Mo. I’m beginning to see why retired people look forward to grandchildren, crocheting and, well, raking leaves.

I know that part of it, the semi-inactive life that is now mine, has to do with the solitary nature of it. I’m more alone now than at any time since living by myself in college days. There’s a huge difference in having a job to pursue with other employees, or having kids around the house all day, or going to school with hundreds of others versus doing what I do now. Which is to sit or work in solitude for the large part of the waking day. I’m not used to it, it’s a different sort of way to go about things, but I’m not exactly complaining about it either. I tend to enjoy my own company. I get along well with others and get along well with myself, too.

Still, there is this:

Today is the 18th birthday of my youngest - the heir to the Outfoxed Empire - Ben. High school senior, part-time pizza king, budding carpenter. I hope he has a good day. I’m trying to remember just how insufferable I was at 18 and make the appropriate allowances. One of my breaks from the norm today is to get his birthday present. What might that be? How about a nice skilsaw? I think every kid should have one. In his case it might actually be interterated as a career move on his behalf.

I’m still considering building a small boat in the Dwarf Garage over the winter.

I ought to be out there right now building something. Anything. A custom rack for my rakes, nicely done out of cherry and oak with a misty sort of lacquer finish, maybe.

Jeez, when did I get so god-awful dull?

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