Before my descent into the well-plumbed Depths of Despair, I was doing pretty well this summer. That can be chalked up to my part-time job mowing lawns for seniors. My clients were assigned by a non-profit. Technically, I was an independent contractor, but that seems to be just a convenient way for them to avoid additional expenses.
In addition to deducting taxes from my paycheck (when the time comes), I had to provide the transportation, the lawnmower, the weed whacker (or "weed whip" or "trimmer") and the gas. The physical exertion was demanding as well. I sometimes mowed 5 lawns in a day. None of them was huge, but with the heat and lifting the mower in and out of the trunk each time, it took its toll.
Eventually, the toll proved too much for my back, and I had to quit. However, if the opportunity presented itself again, and I had access to a trailer in which to haul the mower, I might give it another shot. (I have no experience driving with a trailer, so I'm not sure if that'd be more trouble than it's worth.)
I was often exhausted, but the exercise still felt good, and I was burning a lot of calories (and fat, I hope). Unfortunately, I was also eating later in the evening for some reason. On a heavy mowing day, I'd have 3 scrambled eggs and toast in the mid-morning, be out all afternoon, return in the early evening, but I usually wouldn't get hungry until 9 or so. I called it the Ramadan Diet.
It was a wrench in the gears of my weight-loss plan. After one long day, I weighed myself at my Uptown gym and the meter said 201 lbs, meaning I'd dropped 15 lbs. in the previous month. The next morning I hopped on my mom's bathroom scale and it said 209. I'm sure there's some discrepancy between the scales, but most of the difference can probably be attributed to my late dinner the night before.
Aside from the physical benefits, there were many spiritual and social advantages that went with the job. I'll cover those tomorrow.