Michael showed up at my door early yesterday morning. The dog began to bark, letting us know someone was outside. It was early, too early for 'callers,' and when I pushed aside the curtains at our door, there stood a middle aged man, whom I had never seen before, waving his arms and smiling. He was disheveled, wore a thread bare tee shirt that hardly covered his portliness. I opened the door, feeling more than a bit apprehensive.
"Good morning, " I responded, not quite sure of why I even opened the door. "Can I help you?"
"Well, I noticed your yard needs mowed."
"Yes, my son moved out and I haven't gotten around to finding someone to mow for me."
"Well, I lost my job and times are tight for me.' he shuffled his feet and looked down.
"I'm looking for work. I really need the money. I lost my job. And my house."
Okay, I'm a sucker, especially for someone who is getting up and about early in the morning, ringing doorbells to find some means of making money.
"How much do you charge?"
We set a price.
"I don't trim shrubs and I don't bag the grass cuttings."
Great, I thought. He needs money but he's setting his conditions of employment. I hire him anyway.
He went to the back of his pickup truck and pulled out a lawnmower and a weed whacker. He set a cigar in between his teeth and began to putter with the mower.
"Hey, you got any oil I can use for this machine?" he asks.
"No, I don't."
"That's okay. I reckon I have enough to do this yard."
Michael starts up the weed whacker and set to work. I lock the doors. It took him the better part of two hours to mow. I'm praying he doesn't ask to use my bathroom because I'm not too keen on letting this man into my house while I am alone here. he has a Dr. Pepper in tow and I am wishing that he would slow down on his drinking..what goes in must come out and tho I am not normally a harsh person, I do NOT want him in my house for any reason, not even to relieve himself.
I keep glancing out the window to see how his is doing. Things look a bit scraggly. Eventually, he rings the doorbell.
I open the door. There stands Michael, chest all puffed up to where I'm wondering if he's going to pop through the thin tee shirt.
"Ms. C., come see how beautiful your yard looks!"
I step outside and notice high weeds lining the front of my porch. To my right is a strip of unmowed grass. I point these out to him and he looks like his heart is about to break.
"Oh I'm sorry! I missed those. I'll take care of it right now."
He sets to it and in a while he rings my doorbell again.
There he stands, all puffed and proud.
"What do you think now?"
I look around and this is what I see:
That, in case you can't make it out, is the sidewalk leading up to my front door.
'Isn't it beautiful?" Michael's eyes shine with pride.
"Well, it looks better than it did..."
"But isn't it beautiful?"
I don't answer.
Come check the backyard." he says.
I go around the side of the house and into the back. This is what I see:
That is my otherwise gorgeous back patio.
"You want me to come back every other week to do your yard?" he asks.
"Sure.."I tell him, not knowing what I'm getting myself into, but I figure we are going to get the house ready to sell and I'm sure I can find stuff for Michael to do.
I pull out my checkbook. Michael waves his hand.
"Ms. C., can you pay in cash?"
"sure.." I say again, putting my checkbook away.
Michael loads his lawnmower and weed whacker back into his truck.
"Michael, next time can you trim those shrubs in the front of the house?"
"Well, ma'am,"He scratches his sparse hair on his head.."I never did that before.."
"Never mind Michael..I'll do it."
He smiles, gratefully.
After he leaves, I go out back with the leaf blower and notice all in all, Michael did a pretty good job:
And while I'm out there with my camera, here is a photo of my mardi-gras jasmine, which sends a heavenly aroma all over the yard:
I would love to dig this up and take it with me when I move but I have a feeling it wouldn't make the transplant. My sister is a master gardener there, and I'm sure she'll help me find something that smells just as wonderful.
And my plum tree with its abundance of plums:
They are difficult to see unless you look very closely.
Michael will be back in two weeks. I'll let you know how he does, tho I'm sure his work will be...
Week Three Summary
3 years ago