Last week my neighbor (let’s call him “Joe”) gave me a mighty blow.
“Listen…” he said, in that way you do when you’re about to deliver news that you know will not be well received.
Uh-oh, I thought. My interactions with Joe are pretty much limited to one thing: me thanking him for cutting my grass.
I think we all know where this is going.
Joe told me about his broken lawn mower, his decreasing desire to cut hilly lawns, and the kid he’d hired to take over the job for his own lawn.
After ten and a half years, I was on my own. Say it ain’t so, Joe!
I don’t blame Joe. He’s been cutting my grass, for free, for nearly eleven years now. When I first moved in, I didn’t have a lawn mower. The previous owner had left a weed whacker in the back of the garage. My grass was tall, so I took the week whacker out back and cut the entire yard with it. This is not quite as insane as it sounds—the yard is small, on a hill, and the whacking was only meant as a temporary solution.
Joe saw me, and I can only assume was horrified, as he started cutting my grass without being asked from that day on, for which I am eternally grateful. Joe cut my grass faithfully every week.
I hate yard work. I let the weeds grow until I’m having people over to my house, and then frantically pull them out the day before (which consequently is always the hottest and most humid day of the year). I don’t trim the bush in my front yard until it starts scratching my car as I pull it into the garage. My hostas would be dead if they required even an ounce of TLC…or water.
Joe gave me a business card with the name and number of the kid he’d hired to cut his own grass, suggesting I give the kid a call. Based on what I just told you about me and yard word, you would be forgiven for guessing that I called the kid pronto.
But you would be wrong.
For I am the daughter of the world’s most accomplished do-it-yourselfers. My dad considers it a personal failing if he is not the first one in his neighborhood to cut the grass each spring. He builds birdhouse mansions from scratch and my mother paints them. They’ve painted every room of their house (and every room in my house!) They’ve painted the outside of their house. Their basement rivals Tim the Tool Man’s workshop from Home Improvement.
These two wouldn’t dream of paying some kid to cut their grass. So neither would I!
So I went to Lowe’s to buy my first lawnmower. Do you have any idea how many different types of lawn mowers there are? Riding lawnmowers were definitely out. As were reel lawnmowers—I can’t believe anybody uses those things anymore. (Seriously—google it and imagine yourself using that. But somebody does, because they had them in stock at Lowe’s!)
But should I buy an electric lawn mower? I liked the idea of not having to deal with gas and spark plugs, and a carburetor (whatever that is), but when the Lowe’s man warned me to get the right kind of extension cord or I’d blow fuses and potentially set my house on fire, I was less sure. Plus he told me that I had to be careful not to run over the cord while mowing or I’d chop it to bits.
If you’d ever seen me using a vacuum cleaner, you’d know this is a likely outcome.
Then there are battery-powered lawn mowers. No gas, no cords, no blown fuses. And my yard is small enough that I would be able to complete the job on one charge. Perfect, except for one thing. The price tag. Baby, ain’t that always the way?
So Thursday evening I found myself digging through the old tools in the garage. I found my old weed whacker and went to work.
I am woman, hear me whack!
I’ve got two nasty welts on my ankles from wayward string (now I know why people wear pants and boots), and no pretty lawn mower tracks across the yard, but the grass is cut, my wallet is full, and I didn’t blow any fuses.
Joe watched me work from his window with a look of utter dismay. I’ve got a funny feeling if I whack this grass a few more times, he just might come out of retirement to save me from my DIY self.