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Wednesday, June 11, 2003

The crows are in hog heaven because the gardener was here today, cutting back the high grass again. They love picking through the mown grass, and they're not a bit afraid of the mower. They'll follow the man around the yard, and they think nothing of walking right in front of the machine. They always seem to move away in time, though. It's a fast and furious lifestyle the crows lead.

But when I walk out there, no matter how quietly, it's another story. The crows are gone before I can focus the camera. And it's an auto-focus digital, at that.

He showed up at nine this morning, before I was even dressed. He just went straight to work, and by the time I was showered and ready to open the blinds, he'd done most of the side yard already. It seemed to go easier for him than the last time, although the grass was nearly as high. He'd told me he'd be bringing a heavier machine, maybe a tractor, this time, but instead he used the same mower as before.

My landlords who live across the field have had a tractor in their vacant lot for the last several weeks. They've leveled about half the field behind their house. That's the area just beyond my yard. They have to move the tractor through the corner of my yard to get there, so they've taken down a section of my back fence. Apparently this doesn't entitle me to any of the services of their tractor, though. At least, they've never offered to clear any of my yard.

It's probably their way of letting me know that my rent is too low. It's rare that they're here doing anything, unless I call for a specific repair. The last time the gardener was here and had to replace the pipe he ran over, I thought my landlord would want to check the job he did. After all, my guy is not a plumber, and the landlord is. "As long as it doesn't leak, I don't care," was all he said.

One thing I know for sure is that I couldn't do what this man does. It's not just the physical strain of pushing the mower around through the tall grass. It's also the fact that I can hardly breathe when he's out there working, even though I'm safely tucked away in the house. If I walked out the door, my lungs would probably shut down completely. I could see the grass flying behind him as he mowed, and it didn't seem that the goggles and mask he wore would have been enough protection.

So I was pretty much willing to pay anything he asked for the job he did today. Therefore, I'm now broke again, thank you very much. I gave him every bit of cash I had on hand. It's okay, because I got paid today. It's not totally okay, though, since I couldn't get to the bank or the ATM because he was here all day. And I'll be away all day tomorrow, but at least my lunch (at the St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco) is already paid for.

The weather has been gloomy and gray all week. It hasn't been cold, but we haven't seen the sun since the weekend, until a wee hazy shaft of light tried to poke through the clouds late this afternoon. The days tend to run together when it's like this, and I've been thinking of this week as one long Monday. But with the activity today and the outing tomorrow, I think I'm in a better place mentally than I've been for several days. See? It doesn't take much.

It would be awfully wonderful to see the sun come through for me, but it's not something I count on when I go to the City. Nobody ever calls it "sunny San Francisco," even those of us who love it.

11 June 03

Crows on the new-mown ground. Dead snake on the flat rock.

On the other other other hand (I lost track), I got a whole lot of paperwork done today. Having someone working so hard just outside the big picture window tends to help me focus on what passes for work in my world. It's not that he could see what I was doing or that he'd even care.

I think it's partly from being on my own for so long, working at home with no one around. There's a different feeling when someone else is on the premises. It kind of makes me think I'd get more done in a real office, with co-workers and all. I don't really want to have to find out if that's true, though.

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Jesse Foppert is a rookie pitcher for the Giants who's from just down the road from here, in San Rafael. He's pitched very well in his first season, but he's had the bad luck of losing several close games. Tonight his teammates gave him the support he hasn't had all year, and when he left the game in the eighth inning, he was pitching a one-hit shutout and had an 11-0 lead, playing in front of a hostile crowd in Chicago. The Giants won the game, 11-4, to hang onto their first place margin.

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One year ago: Magic Carpet Ride
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