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Leaf Me Alone.
Leaf Blowers and Inconsiderate Neighbors Rile Doc.

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Leaf Me Alone . . .

           Just like the other swimming pool cleaners, Marco's latest pool man got angry and quit.

           My neighbor Marco is trying to sell his house so the appearance of his property is critical to him. And lately, Marco's swimming pool has always been filthy. If you ask me, Marco should fire his gardeners and leave the pool cleaners alone. All of Marco's pool cleaners were doing a pretty good job but his gardeners are rude slobs.

           When Marco's gardeners start their leaf blowers, I need close my windows. When they run their leaf blowers next door, shrieking noises overpower every civilized sound within my space. Forget listening to music, forget hearing dialog on the TV, forget conversation, forget listening. All there is to hear is leaf blower.

           If I don't hurry to shut my windows as soon as Marco's gardeners start their leaf blowers, smelly blue exhaust and clouds of lawn trimmings will waft inside to pollute my house and sprinkle a fine layer of dust over the carpet and furniture. Later, when Marco's gardeners get done with their blitzkrieg, I have to wash down the exterior of my house and wash the screens to get rid of all the newly acquired dust and debris. I really look forward to that quality time!

           I think the leaf blower is the most useless invention since the electric toothbrush. It is just another ingenious way to squander to natural resources in its manufacture and waste nonrenewable energy in its utilization. A bigger waste of natural resources than the electric can opener, more polluting than a driving the biggest gas- guzzler SUV, the leaf blower was conceived as a labor-saving device to perform a task that could be done better, quieter, healthier (albeit slower) using a rake.

           The suburban chore of raking leaves that has been the mainstay of Sunday Comics every fall has been replaced with a machine that shatters the peace of a Sunday morning while filling the air with dust and noxious exhaust fumes. Does this seem absurd to anyone else? Raking leaves in the fresh air could be considered an excellent form of aerobic exercise. People purchase electric treadmills to get exercise and then buy leaf blowers to make their raking easier.

           A leaf blower is supposed to be a means to an end not the means itself. But don't try to tell that to anyone who uses one. According to the directions the proper use, a person should lay out a tarp and move the leafs into a pile in the center of the tarp and then . . . and then . . . (Here is the key:) . . . REMOVE THE LEAFS TO THE COMPOST HEAP OR OTHER PROPER DISPOSAL CONTAINER. Judging by the way I see most leaf blowers being used, I am sure most people don't know or care that they should do something responsible with the trash they kick up. No, it's enough to just blow it around. . . . blow it away!

           Marco is the fellow who owns the house just north of mine. Marco is a 'very frugal individual'  (a.k.a. cheapskate)  who is trying his hand at being a real estate developer. He bought the place next-door strictly to resell it. He doesn't care one whit about the neighborhood or the town I call home. He doesn't pay his taxes. He doesn't get his trash cans out of the street on Thursday afternoons. He doesn't live in the house. He has been trying to "flip" his investment ever since he bought the place.

           Marco doesn't live in the house. To keep the place looking fit, Marco hires various people to look after the house, the yard and the pool. Of course, Marco is trying to maximize the potential profits on his "fix-and-flip" investment. So, to keep his costs to a minimum, he hires workers who are (I'm trying to be polite here). . . the low bidders. Believe me - low bidders. Low, low low. The lowest of the low. LOW BID! Get the picture?

           To take care of the lawn and grounds surrounding his investment property, Marco utilizes the services of 'Care-Free Gardening Service'. They certainly are. Care-Free that is. They really couldn't care less. They don't care about anything other than accomplishing the bare minimum requirements of their agreement with Marco and quickly moving to the next job.

           A few weeks ago, Marco's gardener's were 'cleaning up' by blowing all their trash onto my front yard. I ran out to the lot line to confront the 'Care-Free Gardening' supervisor.

           "Hey!", I shouted over the din of the leaf blower, "Please don't blow those leafs on my lawn!"

           The Gardener throttled down the leaf blower and shook his head, " No hablo"

           I struggled to recall the right words, "Por Favor, No sople hojea aqui."

           The Gardener shrugged. He revved up his blower and shot the pile of leafs all the way across the street into John's yard.

           "That's not what I meant! Pick up your trash!"

           "No hablo"

           "Yah, right."

           The following week, I arrived home from work to find a mess of leafs and grass trimmings sprayed all over my front yard and driveway. Marco's yard had been recently mowed and the hedges had just been trimmed. Marco's gardeners had cleaned up their mess by blowing all of their trimmings onto my lot. They were long gone now but the blast pattern of the debris in my yard left no doubt Marco's gardeners were the culprits. After surveying the evidence, I swung the car around and headed directly to the 'Mega Lowest Home Headquarters' to purchase my very first leaf blower.

           I was never very good at basketball. But with a little practice running my brand new leaf blower, I was able to pick up Marco's yard trash from my front yard and do a full - court - press down my yard. Dribbling back and forth moves Marco's trash around the patio and into my back yard. Now, a quick fake to get the cloud of debris to go around my the tool shed to the back corner of my yard. Then . . . Get those leafs up! Lay it up, up over the fence into Marco's back yard.   SCORE!   With further practice, I mastered the correct angle using three quick wrist strokes to lift the leafs up high enough to get them to settle into the (formerly) sparkling water of Marco's swimming pool. Best of all, my technique leaves no incriminating blast pattern in Marco's yard.

           The other day, there was a commotion next door. I silently slid the back bedroom window open to eavesdrop on the conversation next door. Marco was loudly arguing with his pool cleaning service man:

           "How do you expect me to sell this place when the swimming pool looks so bad? I can't show this house when the pool water is green! Look! There is trash rotting at the bottom and floating scum is stuck in the skimmer cups! You call that clean? What do I pay you for?"

           The Pool Guy threw his skimmer net down in disgust, " I can't keep the pool clean if your gardeners keep blowing trash in the pool every week! For what YOU pay, this job just isn't worth it. I QUIT!"

           I guess Marco is having trouble finding another 'inexpensive' pool cleaning service. The pool is almost the color of pea soup. For some reason, every time the gardeners mow the front yard, the back yard swimming pool gets a little bit dirtier . . .

           If Marco doesn't get that pool water cleaned up pretty soon, I'll have to lodge a complaint at city hall. Dirty swimming pool water is a health hazard, you know. I'll give it another week before I complain to the health department.

           I have to admit, I never had this much fun with a rake.



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