Call me mean, but at our house, the one-armed guy does the grass mowing.
Not that I haven’t done my share. When our kids were too little to push our old walk-behind and we had acres of country property to cut, I got the workout most of the time. As the children grew, they each graduated into the job and we eventually upgraded to a ride-on. After the kids moved out, I stubbornly refused to get behind a mower even though we had downsized to a tiny lawn. I figured if I gave in once, the job would be mine forever.
The problem is, my idea of when grass needs cutting differs from that of the one-armed guy. In order to maintain my position, I’ve been forced to swallow my pride several times when, in my humble opinion, our lawn did not live up to neighbourhood standards.
But farm work must come first, I’m told. So with hubby off doing the farm thing, I decided to be nice and cut the grass. All right. I admit I was less motivated by being nice than by the prospect of company coming. Our son’s family, along with his wife’s parents and my mom were all coming over. Our son’s father-in-law is all thumbs—green thumbs, that is. He’s a plant-whisperer. His yard looks like the Butchart Gardens and it’s a real exercise in humility to let him see ours, even at its best. Which it definitely wasn’t.
How hard can this be? I thought, pulling the mower out of the shed. I fiddled with the electric starter until it roared to life, then began to push.
Wow, I thought. I know I’m getting older, but I don’t remember this being such hard work.
But I bravely soldiered on, grunting at every turn, sweat running down my back and shoulders aching. I gained a new appreciation for the one-armed guy. I was nearly finished the front yard when a thought occurred to me:
Three more thoughts followed, in rapid succession:
What does this lever do?
Wait for me!
With this new discovery, I made better time in the back yard. Then I nearly stepped in some dog poop. We don’t have a dog. It looked dry and I wore gloves, so I picked it up and tossed it into the barrel with the weeds I’d been pulling earlier. Dumb move. The poop wasn’t dry. Thankfully, a new pair of gloves waited in the shed.
Later, I set that barrel with the dog poop into the box that holds our trash cans. The one with the closed lid. The one the hot sun beats on. The one I would open the next day and nearly faint from the assault to my nose. Yeah, that one.
Don’t try this at home, kids.
With the mowing done, I looked around at my work. It seemed odd that I’d filled the grass bag only once and our dandelions still showed off their chipper yellow faces. In fact, I could hardly tell I had mowed.
Later, I learned the mower blade sat too high to do a proper job.
Still, I’d made an improvement. Not that it mattered. By the time the plant-whispering company arrived two days later, the lawn was covered with snow. Gotta love Manitoba.
That was a week ago. As I write this, the one-armed man is mowing our lawn. Music to my ears.