June 26, 2010

Keeping the day job

I have often thought that someday I'll quit my day job and embark on some new career that's completely unrelated to the way in which I currently earn a living. I still may. Let me assure you, however, that leap will not be into lawncare.

Mark is feeling much better, but is still under doctor's orders not to ride his bike, do any lifting or engage in twisting motions like those used in swinging a golf club or starting a lawn mower. Our lawn did not get that memo and has continued to grow unchecked in the last week. This morning he mentioned that he was going to need me to help him start the mower so he could take care of the tallgrass prairie we call a yard.

Thinking that was not a good idea, I suggested we contact our backup plan, the college student who mows next door, but we only know how to reach him via e-mail, which he doesn't appear to check more than once every couple of days. Because it's supposed to be hotter tomorrow than today, and then supposed to rain in the evening, Mark felt strongly that it needed to happen today. I tried to walk away from the conversation but it became increasingly clear that I was going to have to bite the bullet and do it myself if I couldn't come up with a better idea.

Fast forward two hours and I found myself in the garage getting a lesson in how to start our mower.

I know you're thinking that I should already know how to do that. You're right. I believe, however, that I last mowed when I was in about the 8th grade, which amounts to about 23 years of water under the bridge. I needed a refresher. Once Mark talked me through the basics of starting it and employing the self-propel feature, he headed inside to hang with the boys and I was off and running. Being a relatively intelligent person in relatively good physical shape I was confident that I could knock out the yard in time to eat a late lunch; that's why what happened during the next two hours was totally surprising.

It wasn't pretty, folks.

I started in the front and side yards and within minutes had ditched Mark's suggestion for what pattern to use. I quickly decided that whatever pattern required the least actual pivoting of the mower would be best. I had also decided that I don't like my neighbor as much as I used to think I did, because he stood in his yard laughing at me and yelled a few encouraging phrases which pretty much made me just want to run my mower up over his feet.  By the time I finished the front yard I had worn blisters on my thumbs and I was bleeding.  So far, things were going great.

I went inside for a drink of water and Mark suggested a break. It might have been the beet red quality of my face that was concering or perhaps my language regarding my neighbor?  Quitting sounded good but I knew that if I didn't go back out right then that it wasn't happening today. When I started mowing it was 88 degrees and at this point it was 90; no time to waste.

I perservered for the next hour, at which point it was 92 degrees and I had mostly mowed the yard. I say mostly because as you'll notice below, if you look carefully, it's possible I might have missed a few spots. I was hurrying.

The things I learned today include the fact that mowing is more difficult than it looks, gloves might have been a good idea, our yard is clearly way too big and whatever genius decided we should place swingsets and trees and trampolines in our backyard should definitely be fired.

p.s. the barb wire stays until the thumbs are healed. 


Stephanie said...

Love it :) Glad you survived to tell the tale. I say you can wait another 23 years before you do it again!

Rosemary said...

Lawnmower, begone! Just looking at the picture made my hand hurt. You do have one BIG lawn and it isn't flat. I'm in Stephanie's camp: a 23 year wait between mowing experiences should be about right.

Amber said...

Sounds so similar to my once-in-a-lifetime experience with the whole lawn-mowing thing complete with blisters and 5-pound weight loss due to sweating! Brad was out-of-town for two weeks so guess who got lawn mowing duty? Were you also like completely ridiculously sore the next day? I will be hiring someone the next time the situation arises...are you with me?!

SStites said...

Somehow there is something wrong with this picture, since I just read your sister's blog and learned she is off luxuriating in a Caribbean getaway, and you are. . .in Kansas. . .in 92 degree heat. . .with multiple wounds. . .mowing a #$%^ lawn???? Twenty-three years would be WAY to soon to repeat that! Suppose "desert landscaping" would be out of the question in Kansas, though! Glad Mark is recuperating!