Given A Free Hand

Dearest Rachel –

It’s taken the better part of the month, and several miscommunications and missed connections, but we’ve finally gotten a team of landscapers working on the yard.

This is the same father and son team that have been working on the folks’ place for years, but it never occurred to us to hire anyone to deal with our lawn. After all, we hardly ever use it; so what is there to do as far as maintenance? All I ever bother with is to make sure that it’s mown on a regular enough basis that the village doesn’t get on our case about the grass growing unacceptably long. That was the extent of yardwork as far as I was concerned.

Then again, I rarely paid attention to the work you and Daniel did while (and more to the point, before – you tended to be quite insistent that I let you know when) I mowed the lawn. If I remember correctly, you tried to make sure that all the weeds were pulled from the roots up (you didn’t want me just cutting off the tops of the dandelions and thistles – the only way to make sure they wouldn’t come back was to pull them out completely), while Daniel cut down on all manner of weed trees that grew up around the fence. But I didn’t give those tasks that much attention; I let you have a free hand to take care of what you considered to be ‘your’ part.

So each of us had ‘our’ part in the process. And now that we’re down one, there are things that aren’t getting down that still need attention. Since Dad has been using a landscaping service, he suggested I contract them to work on our lawn and take care of all the things. But each time he tried to talk with them about adding me as a client, there was confusion as to where and when we were supposed to meet and discuss the arrangements. Just this week, he told me that I could talk with them when they came over to the house, only for them to drop by our house while I was at theirs. Evidently, they were scoping out what they determined needed doing before coming up with a proposal.

But ultimately – without my ever meeting them beforehand – they came up with a plan, which I only got by way of Dad, that they would be coming over to work on everything on Saturday. Without the ability (or motivation) to do all the work myself, I had no objections to whatever they’d come up with.

Best to give the experts their own free hand to deal with our yard as they see fit.

It’s a little weird, honey; It turns out we’re the last ones in the family (when you count the folks and Jenn & Bill) to be farming out and maintenance of the house (both inside and out) to the professionals. And it’s not that we lack the means (at least, not any more); I guess it just never occurred to us to deal with these sorts of things.

Anyway, I had to admit to having been a little worried this morning when I was at the men’s group this morning – I didn’t want them showing up when I wasn’t there to let them in to the backyard and all. Turns out, I needn’t have worried; they didn’t show up until after noon. And while I was worried about whether they’d still be working when I had to leave for church – especially since I wanted to make sure I paid them for today’s work – by the time I had to pull out, they’d made an incredible amount of progress:

I would have never gotten around to cutting down the raspberry bushes like I was told I needed to. Meanwhile, these guys cleared out the area completely. You’d have been pleased to have this kind of access to the back of the chimney to clean out the ashes – except we haven’t been using the fireplace as much as you used to.
They also cleared away that pile of branches and sticks that had been sitting behind the master bedroom, after it had been sitting there for years on end. Hopefully now the seeding that we had done can finally take root.
They even cleared out that mess on the side of the house by Mrs. M’s house. This is probably the cleanest this yard has been since we moved in.

And all this was done without even knocking on our door. Apart from the sounds of the machinery (which for the first hour, I took inexplicably to be from next door), I wasn’t even aware of what they were doing. But they really accomplished quite a bit when they’re given a free hand.

Now, if only I had done this sooner. Then it wouldn’t have mattered to give my old lawnmower a tuneup. Oh, well.

They actually acknowledged that they wouldn’t be able to finish everything today. But they assured me that they’ll be by later on Monday to finish the job, along with coming by later in the month to clean up the leaves. Which is another load off my mind, as that particular job took us so much time and effort back in the day; I’d never have been able to do that by myself. And now I don’t have to.

As always, I find myself wishing that you could be here to appreciate what was getting accomplished around here. But I always have to remind myself that, no matter how smoothly things are going down here, life is nothing compared to eternity. Whatever you’re experiencing is so many orders of magnitude better than anything earth can produce that it’s all irrelevant.

And yet, somehow I feel compelled to tell you about it anyway. Hope you don’t mind.

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I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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