A happy me

A happy me
family - is everything

Saturday, June 25, 2011

A day in the Life of your Lawn Care Provider

Ok, so I was going to title this blog 'The Day in the Life of the Lawn Care B*tch', but didn't think it looked too good to public eye, so I toned it down for you.

I'm actually going to drag you along for the ride for a day in My life.  Oh yes.  I work with my hubby (Mr. Eye Candy) in our lawn care service.  I'm the Weed Wacker.  I have several names for this job, but we'll just leave it at that.

First off, if you have lawn care people that come to your house, and you pay REAL money for this service...let me enlighten you a bit to the struggles and hard labor they provide you in ANY type of weather.  Just so your lawn/property can shine and make you look good to the "jones'".  So if you're one of 'those people' that have that extra wad of cash that can afford a housekeeper and lawn care service....don't call them and bitch at them because they missed your property on the scheduled day (after it's just rained like a monsoon for 4 days straight).  They are playing CATCH UP and working 12 hour days.  Sometimes 14 hours.

5:30 a.m.:  Get up and start the coffee.  Pack lunch for hubby (Mr. Eye Candy) and self in cooler, and fill used Cranberry juice bottles full of water and place in other cooler. (yeah...used containers because we're poor!) Every penny counts.  Plus my mamma told me to reuse if possible. Hey, and I'm saving it from a landfill!
6:00 a.m. Enjoy 45 min. of peaceful bliss and check my computer for emails etc.  This will be the only time today I will have any time to myself.  Hence getting up so early.
6:45 a.m. Load and start Dish Washer.  God knows you can't have dirty dishes in the sink when the babysitter gets here....would make you look bad. Although the floor needs to be vacuumed. Oh well. Maybe squeeze that chore in at midnight?
7:00 a.m.  Wake up Mr. Eye Candy and listen to him whine about how early it is.  Wait 5 min. and go wake him up again.  Reminding him he has to get up and have coffee, and get dressed and go get the Riding mower from the shop....because IT BROKE DOWN AGAIN and has been there for a WEEK! (putting us behind again in the schedule for some of the bigger properties!!!....and the mower is going to cost almost $300 fixed.)
7:15 a.m.  Make sure there are clothes laid out for the kids to wear.  Can't have them in their pj's all day ... well at least not when the babysitter is here! Check the weather and realize it's going to RAIN again ALL DAY. (or be 95 degrees...whichever is worse)
7:30 a.m.  Empty the dryer (fold those clothes so they don't wrinkle!) and start another load in the washer.
7:45a.m.  Make sure Mr. Eye Candy is moving and getting dressed.  Tell him not to forget to feed the chickens and get the eggs.
8:00  child #2 is awake and wanting breakfast and Dora on T.V. Drop everything to wait on him. Even though he doesn't know what he wants for breakfast so you have to go through a list of 4 things to see what he wants.....and he says M&M's. Um...no.
8:10 a.m.  Make sure Mr. Eye Candy is getting MOVING. He's already late to get the mower from the shop.  Try to go over the daily schedule with him as he is glassy eyed slurping coffee.  He nods.  I think that means he heard me.
8:15 a.m. Get child #1 up and get her breakfast.  Make sure both children have toothbrushes out so they can brush teeth...and get dressed for babysitter. Scream a couple times for good measure to get them moving.
8:40 a.m. Get dressed on the fly, and yell at kids to get their shoes on (because today they have to go with you to PICK UP the babysitter).  Race to car and speed down the road to get babysitter (realize I forgot to brush my teeth!)
9:00 a.m. pick up babysitter and explain it's going to be One of THOSE days....really long.  Hope she can manage.
9:15 a.m.  Leave house in seperate car (yes there are days we have to drive Both vehicles - imagine the price of GAS! at $3.59 gal in our town....and that is cheap).  Drive like a bat out of hell to get to first job and be done so I can meet up with Mr. Eye Candy when he gets the mower at next job site.

Now this is where time takes on no meaning. This is where I spend the next 1/2 hour (in the rain) or so pulling out poisen ivy on someones steps to the BEACH so they don't get it on themselves while they walk to the Lake and enjoy the afternoon sun.  I have to remember to throw those gloves away because Mr. Eye Candy is very allergic to poisen ivy. (although I have to admit this time that particular ivy job was done for love of a good friend and her dogs!)

I race to the next job site and have to WAIT for Mr. EC.  This gives me time to go over the days schedule again.  We have to fit in 5 properties.  When Mr. EC arrives we get to work.  Seriously. GET TO WORK.  I run (and yes run is about the speed you need to walk) the weed wacker or also known as the 'trimmer', and get every tree, fence line, flowerbed, all around the boarder of the house, etc.  Sometimes even stepping INTO a large bed of ground cover to trim down shoots that have gotten too tall....now this is fun because I always imagine I'm going to step on a snake!  The client wants everything to look pristine.

After I've trimmed everything in site....and spent 45 minutes making that gorgeous stone pathway weed free and trimmed down to the dirt for the homeowner....I can then take a 5 min. break and wipe my glasses off.  By this time they are covered in wet clippings that shoot up into my face.  My pants are wet from the ankle half way up to my knee because it's raining and the grass is wet. My boots are wet and I can already feel my socks getting wet. Squish.  By this time I need a drink of water because I've been sweating under that rain jacket.  No, that is not rain water on my face, it's sweat.  Already I smell like a man. Gonna be a great day.

After Mr. EC is done mowing, we either take turns w/ the back pack blower or ...like most days, I just make him do it. I can't start that thing because the pull on the cord is too hard for me.  Don't get me going on the trimmer...that thing has a mind of it's own and some days won't start for me no matter how many times I try.  Thank God for Mr. EC.  He's a strong one.

On to job #2.  This is where the homeowner/client comes out and has to talk to you about how their garden area is too overgrown (duh! we've had a week of rain!) and we need to trim all that back!  They seem pissed off and in your face about it. Gee, thanks.  I'm here in the RAIN to do your property a day late because the day before we had severe thunder and lightening storms.  But yet here we are....and you're bitching at us? Great. Thanks.  Make me feel like a $2 wh*re why don't ya.  I mean...I'm cheap.

You race to finish this property so you have Some time to get to part of their list.  Which sets you back another hour in your day.

Job #3, other homeowner comes out to 'chat' because they think we have all day...and this must be the ONLY property we maintain. yeah.  People actually think that.  We are polite and chat back because it's what we do.  Not just your lawn care....but we CARE. Yeah...we really do.  We listen to the client go on about their weekend plans ... the kids are coming up for the weekend with the grandkids, and oh by the way could you maybe trim that one limb that is hanging over the walkway to the BEACH and BOAT  house?  Sure. No problem.  We'd be happy to....in the RAIN.

Job #4 this is where you actually look at your watch and say HOLY SH*T because it's already 2 p.m. and you still have two more places to do....one that called earlier and asked if you could FIT THEM IN.

By this time I am soaked.  I forgot what dry feels like.  I need to pee, but there is NO WHERE TO GO.  So I hold it. As usual....(I think my record is 13 hrs). (I mean God forbid a homeowner lets you in to use the bathroom! has never happened....I'm the 'help'.) I remember about the lunch I packed and make hubby eat...grab my sandwich and eat ... going through the motions because I'm not really that hungry ... too exhausted from practically running with the 'trimmer'.  All the rain has made every property a Weed Wacker B*tch's nightmare.  You can't skip ANYTHING. It's all tall.

Every muscle is screaming in my back, and I think my arms have gone to jello.  And there is two more places to do. 

The next day has a place on our schedule that literally TAKES ALL DAY because the homeowners, (who fly back and forth to Italy a lot) want the 100 acres to look manicured.  We've worked months with another team to get it into some sort of eye pleasing affect.  The result is lots of mowing, A TON of trimming (because all the brush that the other team has cut down...doesn't allow for a mower to go over it...small stumps kill mower blades you know..and those babies are NOT cheap .... like me).  So
I spend 4 hours minimum with the trimmer at this place and only get the house, field next to house, down main driveway and all 15 trees, and tennis court and stone wall area.  This doesn't include the other 3 fields w/ all the TREES in them.

Now don't get me wrong...if you've read this far, I'm not really complaining.  I'm just saying it's a hard life.  We (mr. eye candy and self) work very hard to maintain and polish those beautiful BIG places you drive by and think.....oh that is a gorgeous house!  When really...that lawn MAKES it a gorgeous house.  That beautiful yard with it's 'no blade out of place'....makes it all a pretty picture.  We do all that.   We move that lawn furniture they leave in front of the BEACH so we can mow.  We put it back.  We pick up wet towels left behind, dog toys...and don't get me going on how many times I've stepped in dog poo.  OMG.  Just the icing on the cake when that happens.

I have a farmers tan most of the year.  I have an aching back because I lift things I shouldn't all the time.  I spend 1/2 an hour at every job location picking up downed limbs/branches that the rain or wind brought down.  Because you CAN'T mow over those.

So yeah....we get complaints about our prices....but most of these places are very reasonable seeing all the work we do on them.  We do lots of things at NO CHARGE so that our clients are happy.

When the day is done...I get home, wet....tired....and still have to take the babysitter home, fix dinner of some kind...do a load of laundry, and unload the coolers, set up clothes for kids for next day,  get kids into bed, have a cocktail after a hot shower, and fall into bed for those 5 blissful hours I get every night.  Then...start all over the next day.  Same thing...different day.

And let's hope the babysitter can manage a few extra hours tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Me I try not to be

Well, it's official.  I've become the big "B".  Yup. I'm beginning to understand now, after all these years, why I've become a hermit, why I love the country lifestyle, and why I try not to be ME.

Recently I learned that my name is being handed around town - probably attached to the "B" word as well.  People are asking,"Who is Lana?"  All because I stood my ground and created a ripple in the oh so stuck up/stuck in their ways school scene.  Yes, I did.  I spent a year 'talking' to the Principal at my daughters school regarding another child that came into her kindergarten class towards the end of her school year.  THEN came first grade. OMG it got worse and worse and worse.  Several attempts at real meetings with the Principal, and still nothing.  Needless to say the teacher didn't know what she was dealing with either....(not me but w/ the little girl that I mentioned).  Of course, I'd be lax if I didn't mention that after a year of banging my head against the wall....I started to look elsewhere for the EAR that would listen to me.  I eventually worked my way up the chain of command.  I also left a lot of ears screamed in along the way.  People DO NOT like change.  They fight it tooth and nail.  However, if it's  your child that is involved, you tend to fight back.  Boy howdy did I.  I talked and talked to whoever I could get to listen for 10 min.  Even went to the priest, then to the Superintendant for the whole school system in our region.  Guess what?  Mr. Principal is no longer with us.  He decided to resign.  Well, good for you and bye bye, don't let the door hit you in the A** on your way out.  And, it turns out, I wasn't the only parent having a little hop skip and jump over his leaving!  Just turns out no one else felt like fighting. (except my awesome friend Becky! couldn't have done it w/o you woman!).  So, this is where my name comes in...it's getting handed around town, and I have NO idea what all is being said about me, but I think the word "B" is attached. I'm cool with that.  I am that sort of woman that has friends....and they are few.  BUT, they know me!  They love me anyway. 

I'm not always like that, and there are days I wish I weren't Me.  I get on my soap box and have my huge list of how things are supposed to be.  Over the years I've learned to be political on a few levels, but when I'm backed into a corner, or if I feel a huge wrong has been committed....God help the poor person that gets in my way.  The sad thing about me though is that I blaze a trail of fire wide enough to drive a Train through, and I wish I weren't that way.  I WISH I could be more subtle, more patient in the outcome of things.  I'm bull headed sometimes and strong willed. This can be a blessing and a curse.  In most cases where I'm concerned, it's a curse.  I've alienated friends over the years, and probably a lot of people I shouldn't have.  I've burned bridges w/ that blazing fire too.  Some have been repaired because I was Woman enough to say I'm sorry. Others...well....what's past is past I guess.

I hope as the years pile up on me, that I can learn a little more restraint...and patience.  I'm not big on that one. Never have been.  One thing though, if you're in a fight and you need someone in your corner....I'm your girl.