I am not a turtle. I’m a person. And because I’m a person, I have to deal with people. It’s part of the package that includes opposable thumbs and getting to eat all the other animals. I understand that animals also have to deal with people. Especially the animals that get eaten. Even turtles. But they don’t have to pretend to like people. And that’s the point I’m getting at. Turtles don’t make points.

Sometimes it’s really hard to like people when they live across the street from you and they run their leaf blower for 12 continuous hours. Guess what my across-the-street neighbor does?

He’ll run his leaf blower for 12 consecutive hours at least twice a year. He’ll do this from 6am until 6pm. Nonstop. On a Saturday. When I’m home with the kids. Usually in the fall.

This year I got lucky and horribly unlucky because a day after the leaves fell it became winter. So there wasn’t much opportunity for him to spend a long, luxurious day patiently ushering every leaf into the street. But then it was winter. Win-lose.

I’ll be the first to admit that I wouldn’t want to live across the street from me. My front door looks like a hillbilly’s maw. And my lawn has male pattern baldness. And I live there.

I’ll rake my leaves when I cut the grass in March. I’ll rake them with the mower. Along with the abandoned kid’s toys that emerge from the melted snow.

Can you picture my house now? The asphalt in my driveway has completely lost its battle with the weeds. It looks like a crack alley. And there are goddamn hornets everywhere.

I should spend some time on outdoor maintenance. I need to. I’m not saying that he’s wrong for caring about his property. In fact, it’s better to err on the side of doing too much. But 12 hours listening to that high pitched motor? I’d rather spend that time digging a deep hole and crawling in it and pulling the dirt back down on my grinning face.

He’ll stand out there, deep in a trance. This 60ish man with gray hair and white mustache, pointing his blowing tube-dong at the ground. Expressionless. Barely moving. He could be a sun dial. Birds land on him. By the time he’s drifted to the next square foot, several new leaves have fallen and he has to turn back.

What’s he thinking about? Has he achieved a Zen-like state? Is this meditation? Is he communicating with the dead? Is this his season to glory in death? Is he pagan? Can he hear the last wishes of the leaves? Do they speak to him as they tumble?

I hear the leaf blower through my walls. I feel it through my floorboards. My kids are beating the living hell out of each other. I’m non-turtle but I’m not anti-turtle.

What demons drove him out to his front lawn? Are they internal or external? If they’re external, are they coming for me next? Because I was a horrible altar boy and an even worse Catholic. I’d probably be the easiest person to possess. I’m probably possessed right now. Possessed by the laziest demon who just wants to bitch about neighbors and their annoying habits.

That constant buzz. I stare over coffee. I think about moving to Indianapolis. I heard it’s a great place to raise kids. And the cost of living is lower. And the Colts play there. Fuck them for cutting Manning. But FUCK the Bears for doubling down on Cutler. On failure. I think it might be warmer there too. I’m sure there’s a writing gig I can land.

I like turtles. We own a turtle. I named him King Motherfucker of Bitch Island. Because he stands on this rock and stretches his head way up when the sun shines in his aquarium. Just like King Motherfucker should.




Maybe the turtle is female. I don’t know. Someone once offered to check for me. If it is female, then just change her name to Queen Bitch of Motherfucker Island. Easy-peasy.

Suddenly there’s silence. It’s after 6 on a Saturday. I wonder if Gamera was possessed by a demon. My kids are eating mystery food because they’re hungry and in this house you eat what you find. Especially when dad is staring out the window at the neighbors again.

My neighbor’s lawn is leafless. He’s packed it all away.

A new leaf falls.





    • jeffandjill

      11/19/2014 at 10:03 am

      I didn’t think there was anyone else in this world who had the fucking time to spend just blowing leafs all day. He coulda binge-watched something.

  2. I don’t understand people who are obsessed with lawn maintenance. I just don’t.

    • jeffandjill

      11/19/2014 at 10:15 am

      It’s pretty intense. To wake up to the sound of that motor and hear it all day and every time you check, he’s still out there standing. Who has that time? But even more to the point: who has that time and CHOOSES TO BLOW LEAFS WITH IT? The only thing you could do that’s a bigger waste of time is to be the guy watching the guy blow the leafs.


  3. I could be leaf blower guy if I had a leaf blower. I used to really enjoy working in my yard, but then unfortunate ACCIDENTS kept happening and things kept breaking and/or catching on fire and now the only tool I’m allowed is a rake and that’s just not as fun.

    • jeffandjill

      11/19/2014 at 11:19 am

      I agree about the yard work. I like slapping nature around and pulling its hair. But I disagree about the raking. The rake is my favorite yard tool. Scratch the Earth where it itches. The grass says “AH.” This has gotten weird.

  4. I just love when I walk by this guy with the dog and he doesn’t even move this blowing tube-dong (ha). Guess what tough guy? I can’t find my dog’s shit in that leaf pile so have fun picking it up into bags. Last laugh, me.

  5. This is reason number 2 why we don’t own a home. Too much maintenance. Reason #1 is we live in NY and are po’.

    • jeffandjill

      11/19/2014 at 3:34 pm

      NY is probably a contributing factor to your po’ness. But the leaf blower guy and all the maintenance are two strong reasons why Jill has been advocating for living in an RV full-time, year-round. This blog was supposed to be a blog from the road. From an RV on the road. If you look at some of the earliest posts, you’ll see that I’m serious.

  6. Is that you in the picture, staring out the window while drinking coffee (not PSL), sporting some cool skull rings? It’s hard to tell.

    Whoever invented the leaf blower should be shot. How hard is it to rake your leaves, for God’s sake?! For that matter, how hard would it be to invent a muffler for the damn blower? I wonder how much of it King Motherfucker of Bitch Island can hear.

    P.S. I enjoyed your post about the roach coach coffee–thanks for the link. Does the uber fancy and expensive coffee maker you bought make the best coffee ever?

    • jeffandjill

      11/19/2014 at 3:31 pm

      It might be me in the window. I do know that’s me in the corner. And that’s me in the spot light.

      Poor King Motherfucker. I’ll raise him to be an attack turtle. And with all years of conditioning to hate the sound of the leaf blower, I fear for my neighbor.

      Thanks. YES, the Moccamaster by Technivorm makes STELLAR coffee. It does one thing and it does it perfectly. Of course you have to use freshly ground beans, but you’ll want to punch Keurig in the face after having Moccamaster coffee. Or punch your leaf-blowing neighbor in the face with a Keurig. Two birds.

  7. This is way existential. I’ll bet the leaves do talk to him.
    Leaf whisperer, in stark contrast to his loud effing leaf blower.

    We have a neighbor who likes to get out his buzz saw on Sunday mornings. He better hope I never get a chipper.

  8. How does this guy live across the street from you when he lives NEXT DOOR to me!??? Though the colossal motherfucker that lives next to me wears ear protection for his 12 hour blowing marathon, while my poor daughter gets woken up EVERY time. I wish someone would throw him on bitch island with his blower and no way to escape.

    • jeffandjill

      11/19/2014 at 5:03 pm

      I’m training King Motherfucker to be an attack turtle. I’ve got a list going. I’ll add their names tonight.

  9. This post blows. 🙂
    And your neighbour sucks AND blows. People who use a blower for their entire property are like people who waste half a fucking pool’s worth of water hosing their driveway when they could just sweep the bloody thing. Or even just let it be dirty, because its a DRIVEWAY!

    • jeffandjill

      11/20/2014 at 9:13 am

      I know. There’s a guy around the corner from my house who waters his lawn nearly every day in the summer. He gets his sprinklers lined up so they are ALWAYS showering down on the sidewalk. There’s no timing the back and forth. There’s only walking across the street. I named this guy SUPER ASSHOLE.

  10. Ours is the designated hillbilly house in our neighborhood. Not as exciting as King Motherfucker, but I’ll take it.

    Once the lady across the street who took immaculate care of her yard had been sick for a little while and her front flowerbed was filling up with weeds. I knew she’d hate that, so I took my little four year old over and we pulled weeds in someone else’s yard for an hour, just to be charitable.

    The woman came out with her walker and her oxygen bottle and asked just what in hell we thought we were doing. When my kid, very cutely, replied “we’re pulling weeds for you,” she said “oh honey, you shouldn’t worry about that, you look like you have your hands full over there.”

    She later died. The renters who moved into her house try and compete with me for the coveted hillbilly title, but I win every year. King. Motherfucker. I relish it.

  11. Hilarious —and oh so true. I was there when he was doing it one day, thought I’d lose my mind, that machine is so LOUD. Because of his God-awful machine, the kids had to turn up their TV and games so they could hear them. I ended up taking them to McDonalds play land for lunch and time away from that insidious machine. He was just about done when we got back. Thank God it’s winter and you get a reprieve for a few months, before he starts mowing and edging his lawn.

  12. Missed you Jeff! May you and yours have an amazing and happy 2015! (2014 can just go fuck itself ).

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