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I Am Never Raking Leaves Again. Ever.

November 8, 2009


I’ve bitched here before about my awful condominium association.  It’s not like I didn’t already know how much the people in my building sucked but I let myself succumb again to the notion of “community.”

For some reason, even though we pay ridiculously high association dues, our building does not pay to have anyone rake the leaves from the seven huge deciduous trees on and next to our property.  We pay to have the lawn mowed and the snow plowed, we even pay someone to replace the burned out light bulbs, but the leaves don’t seem to show up on anyone’s radar.  For the past five years we have managed to get the raking done.  One year we organized a successful resident raking “party” but everyone who showed up resented doing the work for the others who didn’t bother to show.  After that, the work was left to whoever decided to initiate it on their own.  That, of course, was usually me.  The leaves would sit all over the property, covering the side walk and driveway until I could no longer stand it and I would begin raking.  Invariably one of the other residents would pop up just as I stuffed the last bag full of leaves and say, “Why didn’t you tell us you were raking?  I would have helped!”  Yeah, right.

This year I waited.  At our last association meeting one of the other residents said he didn’t mind raking.  As the leaves piled up I anticipated him doing the work.  Weeks passed and nothing.  So last weekend I spent three hours raking and yanking the dead leaves from the numerous hosta plants on the property.  My back was aching, I had rubbed the skin off of one thumb, and it had started to rain.  I had only managed to stuff 6 bags full of yard waste and I couldn’t do any more.  So I left the remaining leaves in several piles on the lawn.  I was really hoping that one of my more responsible neighbors would see all the work I had done and take it upon his or herself to finish the job (who knew I was such a hopeless optimist at heart?).  All they needed to do was scoop the already raked leaves into bags.  That was Saturday.  Sunday came and went and the leaves remained.  The week passed and the leaves didn’t budge.  Another Saturday closed, the rest of the leaves fell off the trees, the wind whipped my leaf piles around and yet they were no closer to bagging themselves.  Finally Sunday dawned and I realized that no heroic leaf bagger was going to ride in on a white John Deere to save the day.  Once again, the task fell to me.

Frankly I would have just left the damn leaves piled all over the lawn until they rotted into the ground, but we had an appraiser coming to view our unit and I wanted the property to look presentable.  I figured that piles of leaves all over the place would not exactly boost our property value.  Although my back and shoulders had not completely recovered from my last raking session (my physical therapist had even commented on how tight my muscles were 3 days afterwards), I strapped on my iPod and went to work.  Another three hours and 15 more bags of leaves later, the job was done.  I type this as I sit with a heating pad against my back.  Will I get so much as a thank you e-mail acknowledging my efforts from any of my condo neighbors?  In this, I am not an optimist.

The longer I raked and bagged today the angrier I got.  I could not believe that in the past 8 days not a single person had stepped up to the plate.  They were content to either A) leave the job to someone else or B) leave the property looking like crap.  I resented the 5 owners who no longer lived on site and therefore never even observed let alone conceived of the work that needed completing.  I resented even more the other 5 owners who did live here and therefore did see the work, yet did nothing about it.  I was also angry at myself for being the only one who still cared.  When was I going to learn?

Was I wrong to expect others to chip in?  Was I completely out of line in hoping that people have an investment in their home and care about how it looks?  Was it ridiculous of me to feel such anger when no one came to lend a hand?  Whatever the answers, I do know one thing:  I am not putting myself in this situation again.  Next fall, I am not touching a single crumbling brown leaf.  They can coat the sidewalk 3 inches thick and cause the mail carrier to slip and break his tailbone for all I care.  And when I have my own home I will go without lunch for 3 months if it means I can pay a neighbor kid to take care of our leaves.  It is resolved:  I am never raking leaves again.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. November 9, 2009 6:01 pm

    Get together with a couple of other people and purchase a lawn sweeper. It looks like a push mower but has brushes that pick up the leaves and dump them in a hopper behind the unit. Then you dump them into bags.

    They sell for about $100 and are a whole lot easier to work with than rakes!

    • mjjaaska permalink*
      November 9, 2009 9:59 pm

      Brilliant idea, Britney! I think everyone else in the building except me should have to pay for it!

  2. November 9, 2009 6:44 pm

    Why? Why pinch a pig toe?

  3. MacFanBoy permalink
    November 10, 2009 4:13 pm

    Why bother raking leaves in the first place? They’re food for the lawn.

    Are Americans still so shallow as to rate a property’s value based upon how many leaves are on the ground? In that case, why not erect plastic trees to go with some shiny new astroturf. No leaves to rake, lawn to water/mow/weed, or trees to prune. Perfect!

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