Thursday, May 01, 2008

Woman vs. Lawnmower

Below is a chronicle of my day yesterday.

05:55 Arise and immediately go for a run.

06:30-08:30 The usual routine. Pack lunches, wake up kids, get everybody going.
Here is Mr. McP at the bus stop.

08:30 Read blogs.

09:00 Make a cup of tea and read for a bit. I'm reading the ultimate trash novel, Forever Amber, and it is awesome.

09:45 Begin my usual start-at-the-top-back-corner of the house and work my way down cleaning routine. This doesn't mean I clean everything! Eegads, no. It's more a strategy to push the crap in an ever-enlarging pile toward the door. I usually give up by the time I get to the kitchen. What happened to the cleaning strike? I've come to a compromise with that--I clean when I feel like it, and otherwise I don't.

10:30 Hang first load of laundry on line. Time to visit the basement. Our grass is about knee-high and all Jon will do about it is say, "Well, I can't get the lawn mower started," as if that is that and we will just never mow the lawn again. We do have a push-mower, and since our entire lot is 1/10 of an acre, much of which is covered with a house, and the rest, paths and gardens, and you'd think mowing a tiny patch of grass wouldn't be such a big deal. But it is. So I am going to attempt the push mower. After all, the blades can have only been getting sharper as it sat, unused for over three years, right? First, the basement, which involves donning appropriate basement attire--old clothes and cricket-stomping boots, and finding the key and then liberating the old push mower.


See that little door? Behind it is a secret room we never knew we had. A plumber had to squeeze through there in order to move the pipes for our new shower. The blue oil drum is actually a rain barrel. Too bad mine isn't connected to the downspout. I need to get on that.



10:40 When I try to push the pushmower, it won't budge, and it all comes back to me, why we stopped using it in the first place. This is a cruel disappointment because I'd had my heart set on mowing the lawn, so I try fixing it by digging out all the old stems and bits of dried grass that are wrapped around the ends of the roller. This takes a long time, but eventually, I give it a go and it actually moves and starts mowing down the grass. I am so pleased, I feel like I have invented the wheel. By 11:30 some of the lawn is mowed, or, not so much mowed as randomly hacked so that now, at least I can see the piles of dog shit. I could never hack it in suburbia. No pun intended.

Husqvarna, my old friend.

11:45 Hang second (and last) load of laundry on line. Pick up all the dog shit revealed by the lawnmower. Mad Scientist informs me that Albert Hoffman, the inventor of LSD, died yesterday at the age of 102.

12:00 Time for a coffee break. Ack! I still need to study. Big final exam on Friday.

12:30 Supervise Mad Scientist while he does his math lesson for the day. He's pretty much self-directed as far as his other courses go.

1:00 pm Study, but can't get the lawn out of my head.

2:00 Take another crack at the lawn.

2:30 Eat lunch.

3:00 The kids start coming home from school. This morning, I thought I'd just mow a few areas that were bugging me, but now I want to finish the whole lawn. I am, as Elizabeth Bennet say, "quite determined." Work like a fiend, sometimes pulling up difficult clumps with my fists. It's all coming back to me--the blisters, the sore arms, the tactic of leaving a difficult patch of grass and working somewhere else for a while, so as to get a dry edge, which will then be mowed more easily. Mowing with a pushmower is like vacumming with a malfunctioning vacuum cleaner. You have to keep going over and over the same spot.

5:00pm Most of the lawn is mowed. I feel like I've won the Nobel prize and the Pulizter Prize. I feel like I am Queen for a Day, I am so happy with this day's work. The unmowed lawn had been bothering me for two months.

5:30 Enjoy my garden for a few minutes before starting to cook dinner.

Giant azalea

Freshly mowed lawn. The last time we mowed was last farking August. I think I will hire Mr. McP to pull all that honeysuckle off the top of the wall. He wants to earn enough money to buy a nintendo.


Under the arbor

In the arbor. It was a beautiful day.

6:30 Serve dinner--meatball subs. I am beginning to feel ominous signs of what tomorrow has in store for me.

7:30 Pick Jon up from work.

8:00 I'm never going to get any studying done at home. Actually, I have terrible study habits. Go to school to study there, away from distractions.

9:30 Stupid PVCC library closes at 9:30. During final exam week! I ask you. I know Alderman is open very late, but don't want to drive in that direction because of the Bruce Springsteen concert.

9:45-ish. What is Bob Dole doing on American Idol? Oh, it's Neil Diamond.

10:00 Read Half Blood Prince to Mr. McP.

10:30 Read Forever Amber in bed.

11:00 Get up to check on Mad Scientist and remind him to get to bed and see gypsy moth caterpillar crawling on Jon's jacket. Mad Scientist kindly removes it and puts it outside for me. He refuses to kill it..

11:30 Read in bed until fall asleep.

Today I feel like I've been mauled by a bear.


  1. Typical day for a mom. :-)

    You have a lovely yard. I'm especially enamored of your stone wall and the mature azalea.

    You do know that if you're going to use a reel mower that you have to mow frequently (every 3-6 days) or else it's an impossible task, right?

  2. You are amazing! I mowed the other day- its one of those tasks I like because it involves exercise and accomplishment (it is so satisfying to have a nicely shorn lawn). Sometimes our front lawn is too short so I mow my neighbors- of course I may have to do that more frequently now that her lawn mower is broken and the city planted rye/wheat (cant remember which one) in her yard.

  3. Jen on the edge--I know about the need to mow frequently. Usually six days is sufficient, as long as it hasn't been raining. Wow to pushmower people who face a stretch of 3-4 rainy days in a row.

    Jennifer, I'm curious about why the city would plant rye or wheat in someone's yard.