A major cleanup was one of the things that really needed to be done when we bought our first house. I’m not just talking about mowing the grass and picking up some litter, I’m talking about it’s dumpster time.
I called and ordered a ten-yard dumpster. I thought it was a bit high-priced. They charge $200.00 for one. That’s the cost; if you want one, you pay the asking price. Besides, I was sure that it would be sufficient for all the junk that I inherited with the house.
I forget now which lesson number I was about to learn. I lose track when there are so many, but I do remember they were coming fast and often.
The dumpster was delivered late in the afternoon and the driver took my money with a smile. I had it placed on the end of my driveway next to the street. I was thinking it would be easy to remove when full. I was looking forward to getting out early the next morning and getting a good start on the major cleanup that was ahead of me.
I awaken all excited and looking forward to the cleanup. There is something that feels good inside yourself when you are going to take on a major task of any kind.
I made a pot of fresh coffee, put it in a thermos and headed outside to survey the job ahead of me. No time to waste! I figured that I might as well get this show on the road.
Imagine my surprise when I came around the corner and spotted the dumpster. I saw a dresser sticking above the sides of the dumpster. That was just the tip of the iceberg. The dumpster was already three-quarters full.
Anything and every thing you could imagine, it was in the dumpster. You name it, and it likely was in there.
A prompt phone call to the dumpster company didn’t make me feel any better. In a nut-shell – if you want a dumpster with a top that you can secure, it’s an extra fifty dollars.
While On the phone with the dumpster company I swear I heard snickering in the back ground on the other end of the line as I was explaining my situation with discovering my dumpster being over half full.
This was a costly lesson. I hoped I had enough money to learn all the lessons it seemed I needed to learn about becoming a real estate baron.
With one eye on my yard work and the other on the almost full dumpster, I got to work filling it. This didn’t take very long.
Three dumpsters later, the yard looked like it was totally new. I trimmed the brush and dismantled and removed some old metal sheds. I untangle and removed old clothes lines. To this day I have no idea why they were there, but I struggled to remove several metal posts that had been driven in the yard. I can only guess they were for an old snow fence as I threw out several rolls of that also.
The cleanup was hard work and I was grateful to have help from my business partner and roommate from college because with one dysfunctional hand, I wasn’t very productive. I did the best I could. I kept a steady pace all day. Although tired at the end of the day, I felt a sense of accomplishment.
“I don’t do cleanup!” The carpenter I hired to do the remodeling had made it very clear.
No wonder he didn’t seem to care how big a mess he made, he never had to clean it up. After repeated trips down the long driveway from the piles of demolition material to the dumpster, I question the wisdom of my choosing to place it near the road. It was while making one of many trips back and forth loading the dumpster that I noticed the “neighbor lady from creeping charlie hell”, had come outside and sat down in the tall grass behind her house.
She was surrounded by three broken-down lawnmowers, an old table, a crumbling fire pit, old flower pots and tall grass. Her lawn-chair definitely had seen better days.
Trying hard to conceal the fact, she watched me intently, as I was her.
Not a word was spoken as I keep working.
Finally, I finished with the pile of demolition material and was about to quit for the day. Earlier in the week I mowed the front yard. I then knocked on her door to offer to mow her front yard thinking that perhaps her mower had broken down. There was no answer, so I mowed it anyway.
This gave me a perfect excuse to break the ice and call over the fence and introduce my self.
I did just that.
She got up and walked towards me. I couldn’t help but notice she had a major limp, had trouble walking in the tall grass, and was not in very good over-all shape. It was obvious she had struggled with her appearance and weight over time. As she got closer, my attention was drawn to here hand. It hung there like mine. Hers was quite deformed and even looked more out of place than mine.
We exchange introductions. Small talk was made. She informed me she had lived in this house for 60 years and if I wanted to know anything about the neighborhood, just ask.
She then thanked me for mowing her front yard. She explained she was bed-ridden with a migraine headache and couldn’t come to the door. I told here I understood and was hoping she wasn’t angry at me for mowing her front yard. She assured me that she wasn’t and was very grateful as she had been having trouble with both her knee and the lawnmower. I offered to look at the lawn mower.
She gladly accepted. She seemed genuinely warm and very nice. She was hardly the woman I had pictured from the description we had from the previous owners of our house.
Besides she had a deformed hand and somehow because of this I think we both were able to trust each other a bit and let our guards down faster than usual.
She had to sit down and invited me to do the same. I did.
She commented on the pretty flowers I had already planted. She was very excited about seeing the rose bushes when they bloomed. She said that she was surprised to come home and find us doing remodeling work on the house. She asked me if I was doing the carpentry work. I told here no. I had hired a carpenter that a friend had recommended. She wondered if he would be willing to build her a storage shed. I explained that his work was fine but he was very hard to get alone with.
She commented, “I suppose because no one wants to do these small jobs. I’ve tried for a long time to hire some one to build this shed and they all say they are interested but never come over to look at it.”
I told her I would ask him but really wasn’t recommending him. She said, “Beggars can’t be choosey.” I though where had I heard that before.
She thanked me for taking time to ask him.
We sat and visited for some time. I found out she lived alone in the house. She had never been married and that her mother was the best friend she had. When I inquired about her she explained she had passed away five years ago.
She commented about our dogs. I told her about them and apologized for them barking and explained that as soon as the remodeling was done we would fix the fence and they would be coming to stay with us. Until then a good friend of mine had been kind enough to keep and care for them while we found a house.
She said she loved dogs – no worries.
She asked if we planed on working tomorrow morning. I said yes. We were going to work everyday until done.
In short, it seemed she was a very gentle, well-meaning good Christian woman. She appeared untidy and looked a bit messy.
I could tell she was just lonely and liked the company.
That made two of us.
copy write all rights reserved D.Jerzak 2-04-07