ROADSCHOOLING somewhere between Here and There
I should type it like this:
I mowed the lawn
with a thousand exclamation points behind it.
It’s a pretty big deal (to me) that I mowed the lawn. I’ve never been behind a lawn mower. Growing up that was my brother’s job I don’t know exactly who mowed the lawn. Marriage brought a built-in lawn mower. So for 33 years I’ve never given it a second thought.
Something made me want to mow the lawn now though. Maybe it’s the Accountability April that’s got me all aspiring to do things I really shouldn’t do. I had been thinking about it for a couple days, contemplating what would be necessary to mow a lawn. I knew I needed a mower. I knew it needed gas. Do mowers need oil? Do you have to put some kind of special gas mix in mowers? Isn’t there some requisite tinkering that always goes on before the thing is cranked up? How do I time this correctly so that I could mow during Ashlyn’s nap?
Yesterday I committed to the job. I didn’t even care when Ashlyn’s nap was anymore. The lawn was getting mowed. If there was gas in the mower. That was my ultimatum of sorts. Lucky me, there was gas in it. So I roll it out towards the backyard. (Note to other mowing virgins: start in the backyard. That way if you make a total…fool…of yourself then no one will see). I knew that you had to hold some lever down while you do the puller pull. There are two levers on our lawn mower. No matter which combination I tried the mower wouldn’t start. So I rolled it back down into the garage.
I called the be all and end all of mechanical geniuses, my dad, to learn that there is a little red plunger button that needs to be pumped in order to get the gas going. I later find out that this is common knowledge that I must have missed one of the two days I was ever absent from school. Everyone I have talked to since about the lawn adventure has nodded their head, “ah yes, the little red plunger button”. (Yes, I have talked to many people about this. It is important). Side note: my dad wanted me to look at the carburetor on the lawn mower. Come on dad. The button got plungered and the mower cranked up. First pull I must say. This lifted my spirits ever so high. God must have known I needed that extra boost.
I had never studied the layout or contours of our backyard. Now that this grass vacuum was under my control I started to realize:
- we have an insanely large backyard. It’s got to be the size of at least…ten football fields.
- the steep grade that occupies the back 40 should require some kind of hazardous sign (like the ones you see driving through Tennessee).
- the grass was growing inch by inch as I was staring at it
My goal was to make one of those cute patterns I’ve seen Du make while mowing, you know, like you see at baseball games. This soon dissolved into me just randomly switching directions and angles so as to not lose steam and give up.
I’m glad no one was watching because I actually had to use the fence to push off to head up that steep incline that deserves the hazard sign. This worked for a while. Then the mower started to work against me. Even on the level areas it would dig into the ground instead of moving forward when I pushed on it. I questioned the health of my heart and why I have yet to teach Reagan to use the cell phone (our only means of telephonic communication). I’m glad no one was watching because the faces I must have been making to coerce that stupid machine to move forward would have scared even my daughters away. The only reason I can come up with was that I was running out of steam, not the mower. No amount of grunting, nudging, slamming, pushing, back-and-forthing would work. So I did what any sensible, weak person would do. Other than give up. I turned around and started pulling the thing. For the last fourth of the yard I pulled the mower, snickering that it wasn’t going to get the best of me.
I ended the experience with the back yard and the right side of the front mowed. The left side doesn’t need it. I promise. I learned a couple things from this experience:
- I probably will never mow again
- I will give Du much respect when he goes out to tame the wilderness that is our backyard
- I will even bake him cookies and have ice cold sweet tea waiting on him
- That other lever that is on our mower is a self-propel feature that I neglected to use. I never said I was a rocket scientist.
THE FINISHED RESULT:
Ok, I am stretching the truth. Here’s half of our yard. Notice the steep grade to the left of the photo:
Click here for Info on the purple heart lawn