In six years, I've never attempted this magic spell. Either I didn't know the day, or I didn't have the right bags, or I didn't put in the time needed to bag the leaves. This year, though, I actually knew the days, and I wasn't going to be out of town for the second of the ones scheduled in the fall. That'd be next Monday.
I did some leaf blowing earlier this year; about a quarter of the leaves in my yard can be blown to the untended garden boxes at the edges, where the leaves decompose and cut down a bit on the weeds that are growing there, instead of killing the rest of what passes for my lawn. I got those all cleared off. Then the weather turned bad and we went of Daylight Savings time, and I didn 't get any more work done on the yard.
For the first time in the twelve years that I've been working at the bank, they're neither discouraging nore penalizing people for taking the day after Thanksgiving off. So I took today off. I lazed around for the morning, and then Lut got up and reminded me that (a) today was a nice day and (b) there were still a lot of leaves in the yard.
Thus, a little after noon I went outside to deal with leaves. I started Matthew Ebel playing at too-loud volumes on my iPod, so I could hear it over the roar of the leaf-blower, and spent a ninety minutes getting the leaves into large piles.
Very large piles.
Very, very large piles.
I went inside to get the special yard trash bags (required for the success of the Ritual of Leaf Disposal), and got the bag attachment for the leaf blower out of the garage. Then went back into the garage to get the vacuum attachment, too. And started vacuuming leaves. As soon as I emptied the first load from the leaf-vacuum to the yard trash bag, I started sneezing. Profusely. I went into the house to get Kleenexes and a diet Coke. Lut suggested I wear a filter mask. I couldn't find them on the first floor and didn't want to go to the basement to look.
Hours passed. The gigantic pile of leaves in the middle of the yard slowly disappeared into three and a half leaf bags*. I went back into the house for more Kleenexes and checked the basement for painter's masks. No luck.
The sun went down. I started in on the slightly-less giant pile of leaves on the street corner. It got dark. I vacuumed leaves by the light of the streetlamp. I went back into the house for more Kleenexes and another diet Coke. I cleaned the patina of dust and dirt from my glasses. It got a little brighter.
I finished the pile on the corner in another two bags. The pile by the gate was also reasonably lit by the streetlamp. I started on it.
Lut emerged from the house at six and a half bags, and started moving bags into the garage. When he got to the gate, he stopped to stare at the size of the pile I was working on. "Wow. Rowyn?"
I took out my earbuds. "Yes?"
The seventh bag was full by the time he came for the last. "Are you just going to keep at it until they're all bagged? Or untill you run out of bags?"
"Uhh. Or until I run out of Blue October."
"Of the five albums we've got, how many are you up to?"
"Three. I already ran out of Matthew Ebel."
Lut went back inside.
By the fourth Blue October, I was definitely flagging. The problem is that, at about Hour Three, I had realized that not only was I not going to want to do this tomorrow, but my body probably wasn't going to forgive me for this until Monday at the earliest. I wasn't hurting now. I would be tomorrow. Better to get it over with while I was still capable of motion.
I filled the tenth bag, and the last I had with me. There were more in the garage. There were more leaves to be bagged, too; a little bit left of the pile I'd been working on, and another small pile halfway from the driveway.
The last Blue October album started, and I gave up. I carried the three full bags to the garage and went inside to collapse. I took some ibuprofen, figuring I might as well get a jump on it. I'd been at it for seven hours.
I'm counting that as my exercise for today. Possibly for the rest of the weekend, too. -_-
* The directions on the leaf blower say that vacuuming leaves makes them take up a tenth the space they'd normally take up if packed directly into bags. That seems a bit exaggerated, but five times as many is definitely reasonable. I kept