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Filling Your Pool with Dirt? Don’t Hire a Guy With A Wheelbarrow

March 15, 2015 by Diane

Toy carts

In my last post I wrote about the landscapers who demolished my landlady’s pool. They came, they shoveled, they jackhammered, they texted on their cell phones, and they called it a day at precisely 3:30 every afternoon. Of course I was only privy to their goings-on, or rather lack of goings-on, Fridays when I work at home. Still, the job was scheduled to be completed on February 25th.

It is now March 15th.

Last Monday, the two huge dumpsters that squatted in the driveway for a week, blocking all access to the carport, vacated. In their place: another mound of dirt arrived, a huge, lumpy mound, blocking all access to the carport. It hunched in the driveway for two nights and a day, because, for the first time in weeks, we had rain. Now, to you East-Coasters, this rain amounted to no more than a hearty sneeze, but it did manage to prevent the landscapers from showing up. Thankfully, the giant hunching mound did not slump into sludge, and by Wednesday, when the sun appeared again, so did the landscapers.

And their cell phones.

I ask you, what other professional can get away with working for ten minutes and then loafing around for thirty, texting? Hmm. Let’s try some scenarios…

A minister at a wedding ceremony: “Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today…that reminds me, I need to text my nephew. Hold on. I’ll be back in thirty.”

A patient on the operating table: “Doc, the anesthesia wore off.  Can you put down the friggin’ phone and finish sewing up my chest?”

A customer, to the waiter: “Hey! You with the cell! When is my food coming? I ordered it like an hour ago!”

Granted, the landscapers are doing hard manual labor, wearing out their fingers texting. They deserve a rest. And the poor guys don’t even have a Port-a-Potty fer cryin’ out loud. I wondered about that aloud to my landlady: “So, where do they go?”

Well, I found out—to the mutual embarrassment of me and the guy who was taking a leak outside my bathroom window. In all fairness, he was doing his business in what remains of the sandbox, so he might have mistaken it for a giant cat box. Still, when I heard something rustling on the other side of the opaque glass, I stepped outside and said, “Can I help you there?”

But I digress.

On Friday, the workers hurtled the last wheelbarrow of dirt into what remained of the pool. It didn’t quite fill the hole, but hey, it was close enough.

According to city regulations, and as stated in the contract with this landscape company (a company which happens to have FIVE DIFFERENT NAMES), the top foot of dirt must be of high quality, rich loam. Instead, the top foot is made up of plastic bottle caps, pieces of wood, crumbled concrete, old roots, and soil so hard chunks could be used for weight-lifting. This is the stuff that will be used to seed a new lawn.


My landlady tried to reach the owner of the company TWENTY TIMES by phone on Friday. He did not respond. She drove down to the city offices to talk to the inspector, who was unavailable. The administrative goddess tried to be helpful: she insisted that the landscapers will need to remove that top layer of questionable soil.

Wheelbarrow by wheelbarrow.

But the landscapers and their wheelbarrow have disappeared. Along with my landlady’s broom, and the lunch truck that arrived in the driveway at 3:30 on Fridays.

Will my landlady stop mumbling to herself and track down the owner of the company? Will the city inspector come to the rescue? Will I find that same lumpy mound of soil hunching in the driveway when I drive home on Monday? Stay tuned.


  1. Dawne Webber says:

    Can’t wait to hear the outcome which I hope is a good one. Unfortunately, I have my doubts.

  2. Joan says:

    Oh my! Great story…you know I love these continuing sagas!! Fun to read about but probably a pain to live through. Good luck and looking forward to hearing the outcome.

  3. Michael says:

    Hey! They’re making great progress. Glad to hear it’s going well.

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