Writer’s consequences: why writers hate Saturdays

The conspiracy reigns

I am convinced there is a signup list somewhere.

We have 7 neighbors on the Court, and 5 close ones on the street that backs up to ours. There are probably another 20 or 30 close enough to participate in their favorite activity, ‘torture Alicia while she is trying to write.’

How? Remember the list? It has 60 minute slots from 8am Saturday morning to maybe 6pm Sunday evening (or two hours after the end of daylight unless there are exterior lights), during which each neighbor is allowed to sign up, exclusively (and that’s the key), for lawnmowing. The idea is for the horrible racket of man’s best friend (the other one barks all night – I think there’s a list there, too, but not everyone has a dog), to be a continuous roar for the two weekend daylight hours, and make sure that only short breaks (for those whose lawns are too small to take a whole hour to mow, and who are too lazy to do it twice just to fulfill their time obligation (slackers)) are allowed to happen.

Requirements for membership

You ARE allowed to use a leaf-blower, edger, or weed-whacker outside your assigned time slot, or to finish using up your time DURING your allotted slot, so that the constant mowing note of one neighbor MAY be punctuated with other sounds at random. Extra points are earned (which I believe can be traded in for a more favorable time-slot the following weekend) when the weed-whacker is gas-powered or when you hit the fence slats repeatedly with the string cutter thingy, producing the lovely and desirable ‘washboard effect.’

You ARE allowed to turn your machine off periodically, ostensibly to refill it with precious fossil fuel, so that the tortured think, ‘Ah, it’s over!’ when, in fact, it is not.


The earlier slots are granted in order of horsepower, descending.

In all the years I have observed this ritual, I could count on the fingers of one hand the times when two or more of the shadow congregation were outside simultaneously.

Yup, it’s a few minutes before the noon-to-one slot, and there’s C’s lawnmowing service, turning up to un-cart their industrial mower, and be ready to start right on time.

My own husband, this very weekend, almost gave the whole thing away, when he incautiously asked if C next door had finished with the leaf blower, so he, B, could go out to mow our lawn.

Defense mechanisms for the writer

I have some. I’ve written about my industrial-strength hearing protection (Sensory Deprivation Tank). I should mention, though, that wearing headgear pressing in on your head for hours and hours while writing creates headaches.

And that when I take the naps require to support my filthy writing habit, wearing full headgear means it’s very hard to get comfortable.

We writers suffer for our habit – and for our readers.

Ultimate effect?

It reinforces brain fog.

It makes it hard to focus.

It makes it unpleasant to write.

And it makes it possible for household members to sneak in (they claim they knocked) and touch my shoulder, and make me jump several feet straight up.

But I’m going to finish Pride’s Children regardless of the efforts of the shadow organization of neighborhood lawnmowers and commercial associates.

Just you wait.


12 thoughts on “Writer’s consequences: why writers hate Saturdays

  1. ericjbaker

    Perhaps your novel will be such a block buster that you can buy all your neighbors’ lots and flatten them. A bulldozer does make a bit of noise, but the the pain will be short term.


    1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

      That’s such a nice thing to say, Eric. I appreciate it – I don’t quite aim for blockbuster status until Book 3 is finished, but I’ll go with that.

      The other idea is to leave, and maybe sell the house to one of the neighbor’s kids (all three live fairly close – the whole family is over there a LOT). His property is well kept up, but Mother Nature keeps dropping more leaves every time he cleans them up. She may be telling him something.


  2. Widdershins

    I HATEHATEHATE leafblowers. All they do is give the yard a blowjob!!!!! What ever happened to grass rakes?

    What’s hilarious is how lawnmowing dudes (it’s almost always guys) have a herd mentality. Once one starts, every male within a hundred kilometer radius must also go forth and brutalise every blade of grass within striking distance.

    Thank goodness mowing seasons finished until March! (at least here on Widder Island)


    1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

      Hit a nerve, did I there?

      There’s no real reason. The only time blowers are more efficient is if the leaves are dray and preferably on a hard flat surface like a driveway. Then even I will briefly use one.

      Otherwise, they torture the grass to drag a few leaves off.

      But that’s just my feminine opinion. Thank God DH doesn’t. I either do the leaves myself (he mows), or this year we got a young man: I told him he had 10 minutes worth of leaf-blowing time – he could choose where he really needed it. The rest, a rake and a tarp were his tools.


    1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

      If and when we decide an adult community (CCRC or similar) is for us, the main caveat will be SILENCE. No silence, no deal. I still have ALL my hearing (though I’m starting to wonder about the DH and his penchant for house rattling lower notes).

      If the neighbor next door retires, I’m toast.

      Which is why I have my Portable Sensory Deprivation Tank. But really, there are still LOTS of leaves on the trees – we could wait a bit!


  3. naleta

    When I told my husband that I was not working this holiday (4 day) weekend, he said ” I won’t get a bit of work done, then.” “Yup” I replied. “You took that well” he said.

    He has a somewhat schitzoid reaction to my announcing that I’m working overtime. Equal parts “Darn, you won’t be here to talk to” and “Yes! I can get some writing done.”

    I do know where you are coming from. 😄


    1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

      You DO realize this is the first time you’ve told me your husband is a writer, right?

      It explains SO much. You love the spouse – and you need your space. Both of you. Chuckling here. You and my DH could commiserate.


      1. naleta

        Ah, you’ve missed my mentions at AtH about his Kindle releases. It’s about time for another submission to Book Plug Friday, too.


        1. naleta

          He has one crime drama and one epic fantasy novel up on Kindle. I hesitate to post the links because WordPress tends to turn the Amazon links into large images. The crime drama is titled “Lunden’s Game”, and the fantasy is “A Blue Frog Occasion” both authored by Robert D Rose (his pen name). Searches at Amazon with that information will find them.

          Lunden’s Game is a quicker read than Frog. He is currently working on a sequel to Blue Frog, and that’s all I’m allowed to say about it. 🙂


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