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Sunday, May 23, 2004

It wasn't exactly nature's soothing sounds. I tried to sit down and read a book while the gardeners were here today, but the droning of weed trimmers and lawnmowers wouldn't allow me that escape. There were two machines going all day, at two different pitches, and the combination made my brain rattle. (And it's usually so quiet in there.)

When they showed up at 10:30 this morning I'd already been working for an hour. That's because the phone rang at 9:30. All the typing I'd done yesterday was wrong, because the Boss and his fellow nitpickers had forgotten a factor or a multiplier or some such arcane nonsense.

To be honest, I didn't even read what I was typing last night because it made little sense to me. When I know what they're trying to say, I try to edit as I go along. Otherwise I just leave their mistakes in, knowing that I'll end up retyping every page eleven times anyway.

Nobody is ever satisfied with the early drafts, and there are so many people with so many different ideas that it doesn't make sense for me to look for my own meaning in any of it.

But the kicker this time is that they knew. Last night, fairly early, the Boss knew that this letter had some major problems. Julie told me this morning that he wouldn't let her see it then because he wanted to go out to dinner. So she got the task of calling me early this morning and asking if I'd be available to do more typing today. What could I say, no?

So I spent most of my day typing to the whine of garden machinery. By mid afternoon my head was aching from the combination of steady noise and flying grasses. I kept the windows and doors shut all day, trying to avoid the swirling weeds, but it didn't help much. It'll turn out to be worth it, once I stop sneezing. That moment of relief hasn't arrived yet.

23 May 2004

The newly mowed side yard, in the late afternoon shadows.

The gardener and his son were here until almost six o'clock. They did such a great job that I gave them all the cash I had, the money I'd set aside for this three weeks ago plus everything in my wallet. Then I found out why they worked so hard today. They needed a favor.

The older man's granddaughters want to raise some lambs. They would like to keep them in my side yard (the area shown in the photo above) for a few months. They'll take care of them, and he'll put in a temporary fence for them. I won't have to do anything, and in exchange he'll take care of my yard all summer, at least once a month.

I guess I'm crazy, but I agreed. My thinking was that I need to have the yard kept under control, and it would give me something to write about and a new photo subject. So you see? Maybe I am crazy ... crazy like a doorknob!

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My landlord said I couldn't have any pets. You don't think a couple of little lambs in a fenced area of the yard will be a problem, do you? I felt as if I'd been put on the spot when the gardener asked me if it would be "possible" to keep his granddaughters' lambs here. I don't like making decisions without a lot of agonizing, but I like even less saying no to a nice man trying to do a nice thing.

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One year ago: Silence
"It was sort of like examining my conscience before confession. Bless me, Father, did you need anything today? (A tiny carafe of wine, or a cookie?)"

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