I am not a fan of yard work. Anyone who knows me in real life knows that I don't do yard work. My husband has seen me mow the yard a total of three times in all the years we've been married. The third time was yesterday. When I told him I was going out to mow, he looked at me rather like I'd grown another head. But the yard needed work, the temperature was really nice for July, and it was overcast. I didn't think he would be able to beat the rain that was coming, so I decided I'd give it a shot. After all, it's just walking in a few circles around the yard, right? How hard can that be?
I started writing my blog post in my head about 10 minutes after I started mowing.
Really, though, it started before I even went outside. When I told my kids to behave because I was going outside to mow the grass, my son said, "Wow, Mom, I didn't know you had mowing lessons." Ouch. But in honor of his observation, here is my version of mowing lessons.
1) Fuel - Be sure you have spare fuel on hand. I was pretty disappointed to find out that we didn't have any, but I was too excited about getting started to go and get more. I figured that if I finished the front yard, I'd just stop there. After all, it looked like rain was coming, so I didn't have time to spare. And also? I could close the gate and the taller grass in the backyard wouldn't show. Great idea, right? Until I ran out of gas in the middle of the front yard. Phooey! There wasn't anyone who could run to the gas station for me (hubby was working from home, so he couldn't just jump in the car and do it for me), so off I went. I hope he will forgive me for ever being annoyed that he asked me to go get gas for the mower while he was mowing the yard. Now I get it.
2) Hat - Wear one. Headsweats caps are not just for running. I wish I had worn mine. I didn't think I'd need it because the sun wasn't out. Also, I honestly didn't think I'd get all that hot since the weather was cool for July. I have never had so much sweat in my eyes. Also - I just might wear my running clothes next time. Wicking fabric is good. Cotton is not.
3) Method - I've heard you should not mow your grass in the same pattern every time. No need to worry about that! I am quite sure I looked as amateurish as I felt. I had to go back for missed spots, and still left a few (tiny) bits of taller grass. And I don't think my hubby will ever mow in as patchwork a fashion as I did.
4) Mower - Especially in the thicker parts of the grass, it would have been kinder (to my mower) to mow half-widths on each pass. My mower let me know this by protesting at one point - and turning off. I could not believe I was out of gas again - then I realized I wasn't. At least I was able to restart it without getting my husband to come outside and do it (again)! Also, our mower didn't particularly seem to like going uphill, at least at the pace I was walking. When I'm running, I don't like hills, either, so I decided to change my method in the middle of the backyard and go across the incline. (Oh, yes I did - see #3.)
5) Corners - As far as push mowers go, self-propelled is your friend, but it still doesn't make turning corners any easier. I openly confess to having not a lot of upper body strength. I can still pick up my kids (and can still carry my youngest), which I thought was decent strength, but I felt like I was working hard to turn corners and work around obstacles (swing set, raised garden beds, mailbox, trees).
After I learned all of this with the mower, I looked at the yard and felt pretty good about what I had accomplished. But it still looked unfinished. So I decided I'd do the weed eating. And I had to get my husband to start it for me (wimpy upper body strength - embarrassing). And then he had to remind me to wear eye protection (thanks, honey!). And then I busted the strap that was supposed to help me carry it around the yard (sorry, honey!). But I still did the weed eating. And I wondered how long my work would last if I scalped the edges of the yard because weed eating was not as fun as I thought it would be. Probably because I busted the strap. And also because my arms were already tired from pushing and maneuvering the mower. But - the yard looked even better when I was done!
So then I decided to crank up the blower and clean off the driveway and the front walkway and around the air conditioning units. And I had to ask my hubby to come out and crank it for me. (Are you sensing a pattern?) I'm chalking that up to having tired arms - you know, from maneuvering the mower and then carrying the weed eater with the busted strap around the yard.
And when I was done, I wasn't sure I'd be able to lift my arms to wash my hair.
But the yard looked nice, I was proud of the job I'd done, and I had so much more appreciation for the yard work my husband has been doing for so many years. It wasn't perfect, but I still enjoyed the sense of accomplishment. Don't tell anyone, but I might just mow the yard again sometime.