Well this was exciting. I was all set to do my Lasagne Garden. That’s where you prepare a new bed by laying cardboard down on whatever crap is growing now, such as a lawn, and covering it with a layer of brown compostable material, then a layer of green, then brown again, etc., etc., finishing with fallen leaves and grated mozzarella, and then in the springtime everything will have composted nicely, the weeds underneath will have been discouraged by the cardboard, and you have yourself a fresh slate. I’m not making a cute little bed in a lawn. I’m redoing an entire front yard and a gigantic patch in the back. Screw the layers. I’m putting down cardboard and adding boughten compost. Done.

Cool thing: they’ll drop off any amount of said compost for a single fee, and you don’t have to even own or (Gad) drive a truck, as I used to. So worth it. I did the math. I had the area in square yards and I wanted it covered four inches high, divide by nine, carry the one, Katie bar the door, and voilà: nine yards of compost. Delivered.

The fellow who showed up was presumably able to deliver four yards of compost to the alley and five yards to the street, convenient to my two projects. I was skeptical. He showed up in front in a Big Ass truck. Big Ass. “Can you get that thing through our alley?” I asked. “Welp,” he said, “I’ll park on the street and you can show me your alley.”

The garbage trucks used to come down our alley, but this truck made the old-timey garbage trucks look like golf carts. And in the thirty years since the garbage trucks quit coming down the alley, residents on either side have either grabbed as much of the alley as they could, or left it alone, and now those formerly straight thoroughfares are meandering and muddy, and normal vehicles sometimes press through them like a bolus.

“Rick,” he was. There are only a half-dozen names available for truck delivery drivers, earth movers, and concrete wielders, and “Rick” are five of them. Rick left his truck in the middle of our narrow street, with the motor running, and I walked him back to the alley. He stood in the middle of the alley and looked up, and looked down, and said “Yup. Can do,” with all the bravado of a heart surgeon about to jam a stent through a capillary.

Rick was cheerful as hell.

I like confidence in a guy. And I like to see a person who is good at what he does, especially if it’s something I can’t do. Like drive a truck. Every time the postal trucks got larger I lost sleep. I can’t park my own car without smacking the curb, and my car is the size of a horse pill. And if I left my postal vehicle running parked in the middle of the street, it would slip into reverse and take out two dogs and a hedge on the way to plowing into a house. Well, that only happened the once.

There was, however, a car at one end of the alley. I said “I’m sure we can talk the driver into moving,” but he said “Ehh, I’ll back it in,” and in short order his Big Ass truck was in our alley and he was backing it toward our yard with a good six inches to spare on either side. When he encountered our neighbor’s imperialistic kiwi vine and overachieving fig tree, he stopped. He climbed through his window and onto another neighbor’s fence and onto our wall, and hopped around on it like a gymnast.

Under the circumstances, I would not have been as cheerful as Rick.

“You can blow right through all that,” I told him, waving dismissively at the vegetation. “That neighbor only does yard work in census years. You nip out that kiwi, you’d be doing everyone a favor.”

He popped back into the truck and backed it up and soon enough we had four yards of steaming black compost completely blocking our alley. Our alley couldn’t have been Heimliched by a torpedo. Then he went to the street side with the other five yards.

To be continued.