The Back Forty

Body by JakeConfession:  I haven’t made it to Day 2 of the Couch to 5k Program.  I’m not intentionally avoiding it; I’ve just been busy raking the back forty.  And by “back forty,” I mean the forty feet of property behind my house that was once a backyard, but turned into a jungle.

You know what I blame, don’t you?  Stupid freakin’ mono.  Hear me out.  During the mono months, my oldest son was busy with school, track, and soccer.  My youngest son was busy sleeping, complaining about a headache, and losing weight.  I was busy working, shuttling the oldest son, and waking the younger son to work on school makeup work.

Yard work was not high on the priority list. And after hearing my oldest son say, “I have to do everything around here because HE’s sick” for the hundredth time, I stopped asking him to mow.  We maintained the front yard, but kept the backyard our dirty little secret.

When our small dog decided that the jungle was too dangerous and started doing his business on the patio, I figured it was time to move it to the top of the To Do list.  i began the chore of finding someone who I can trust.  I remembered that a girl that I grew up with was married to someone who owned a Lawn Service company.  I knew that fact because I had prepared his tax returns back in my days of public accountancy.

Score.  Someone that I can trust.  You have no idea how important that is to a single mom.

He quoted a price that had my friends offering to cut my yard with scissors, but I knew the amount of work that was going to have to go into it.  I estimated that the yard cuttings would fill up somewhere around fifty bags.

And you know what?  I was right.  You know how I know that?  I RAKED IT.

Add that guy to the list of people who I can’t trust and would possibly like to run over with The Tank.

I’m sure I’ve mentioned it, but I live in southeast Texas, where temperatures are in the 100s.  It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that if you leave grass cuttings on the lawn for more than, let’s say two minutes during the heat of the Texas day, it suffocates and burns your grass.

I returned from the lake after the two-minute mark, and oh my, what has he done?  So I ran to Wal-Mart and bought several rakes, and called some family to help save my sanity.  I mean, my yard.

Let me describe my yard crew to you.

Me – I’m allergic to everything nature.  An allergist once told me that I should stay indoors next to an air conditioner at all times.  (Yeah, ‘cause that’s a realistic request.)  But I look pretty hot wearing a face mask for yard work projects.  And the rash on my face from the allergic reaction is pretty sexy too.

My mom – A few years ago, she was diagnosed with a lung disease despite the fact that she never smoked a day in her life.  Of course, my dad smoked all forty years that they were married before he left her for someone else.  Doesn’t that beat all?

My sister – Several years ago, she endured chemotherapy and radiation in a fight against cancer.  She won the battle, but because of scar tissue, she is left with the use of only one arm.

My boys – Two teenagers griping and bickering the entire time.  “Mom, he’s been bagging the whole time.  It’s not fair.  Tell him to rake.”

Right now, you are probably wondering if you can hire this gang of work horses for your yard.  And you totally should because we finished the job in just two nights.  (It’s Texas remember, you can’t start working until 6pm when it no longer feels like you are raking the face of the sun.)

I’d give myself a pat on the back, but I can’t lift my arms because they are so sore.

Who needs Body by Jake?  I’ve got Body by Rake.


  1. Oh my gosh I love your humor. And that is so my two children bickering about the yard. Happens EVERY time.

  2. The LAW says:

    Your “yard crew” bench could have been deeper, if only you had conveyed fully that this was ACTUALLY taking place NOW!!! And the gratitude to you for introducing a new exercise regimen? Limitless. 🙂

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