I am definitely my parents’ child. From my mother, I have inherited an acid tongue, a nasty temper, and her feet. I’ve learned to control the tongue and the temper. Sadly, there is nothing to be done about the feet.
I’m going to give my father credit for my tenacity, because I don’t know where else it would have come from. So it’s the tenacity that got me through last weekend.
The grass was tall, and not in a poetic, beautifully natural, windswept sort of way. The grass was tall, in a “Is that house abandoned?” sort of way. Sure, I could have called the landscaping friends that we have, who would have done a fabulous job. You know I didn’t do that, right? I mean, why would I be writing about this if the whole story was about calling the landscaping company and having a gorgeous lawn the next day? No, I chose to do it myself, because I’m stubborn that way. I’m not sure who to blame for “my stubborn”, but let’s be kind to my ancestors and just say there are many suspects from whom that particular personality trait may have been inherited
Armed with a baseball cap, my work gloves, and my Canadian Flag Crocs, I head off to get the job done. Yes, I *was* a vision of Ozarks loveliness, thankyouverymuch! Fill up the gas in the little mower, and encourage myself that it’s not THAT big of a yard. Oh, how I lie
My husband thought I was a lunatic. Good sport that he is, though, he offered to tag me out to take breaks, and would regularly jog up to me with a cold drink, walking along with me while I sucked down iced tea. It was like a mowing version of a pit stop.
An hour went by. I ran out of gas, refilled, and kept going. I had made alarmingly little progress. Another hour, and shortly thereafter more sputtering from the now twice drained gas tank. I was almost halfway done.
Almost. Halfway. Done.
I began to rethink my plan. Looking around, I realized my assessment of this task was severely flawed. I’d done the side portion of the lawn first. If I stopped now, there was zero improvement to the curb appeal. If I had curbs, which I don’t. I just have 2 1/2 acres of grass that spill onto the asphalt.
That’s when the Scotty in me kicked in. My Dad’s name wasn’t Scotty, but that never stopped anyone from calling him that. I was 8 before I knew his name was Alex. I suppose that’s neither here nor there, but the point is that the tenacity was definitely a Scotty trait. I’m not sure how Alex would have responded.
I refilled the gas again, and started talking myself through this torture. My Dad would not have stopped with the lawn half done. Mostly because my Mother would have screamed like a Banshee if he had, but nonetheless, he would have finished. With a manual pushmower, because we didn’t have a gas powered mower. We also had a yard about 1/4 of the size of the one I’m trying to mow, but I’m not going to think about that.
So off I go. The dogs have given up walking along with me, and are stretched out on the porch taking a nap. My calves hurt. My upper arms hurt, and I’ve no idea why. I’m not LIFTING the lawn mower, I’m just PUSHING the lawn mower.
Another tank of gas. I realized completion was an option. It was in sight. The lawn looked amazingly beautiful, and I only had one section of it left to do. My second wind kicked in. I kept going, thinking about how I was going to reward myself for all this with a Pepsi Max and some bacon. Maybe the bacon would be wrapped around a shrimp or a scallop or a jalapeno.
Eventually, it was finished. Over 4 hours, and 4 tanks of gas, dodging rocks and lizards and turtles and dog poop, throwing sticks out of the way and wiping sweat out of my eyes….but it was done. It was beautiful. I basked in the satisfaction of a job well done while I had a bacon sandwich completely overstuffed with thick cut bacon.
It lasted 5 days.
Why, oh why, can we put a man on the moon but not genetically engineer grass that reaches a maximum height of 3 inches?
On Saturday, rain was threatening, and the grass needed to be mowed. Again. We hadn’t gotten around to taking the riding mower in to be repaired yet. There was obviously only one solution. On went the baseball hat, the work gloves, and the Canadian Flag Crocs. It was time to become one with the mower.
It was significantly warmer on Saturday than it had been the week before. And more humid. Not pleasant mowing weather. I tired more quickly. I tried to summon Scotty’s tenacity, and that’s when the realization hit me.
My father was a hard working man. When something needed to be done, he just did it. No fanfare, no procrastination, no whining. Yet, he was also intelligent. My father would indeed have finished the yard that first weekend, but he never would have been out there mowing it a second time. No, before it would have needed another 4 hour mow, he would have had a concrete truck there. Whether he’d put in a patio, a tennis court, a basketball court, an in-ground pool or all of the above, he would have gotten rid of all that grass. He may have thrown 5000 wildflower seeds over half of it and renamed it “The Meadow”. He would have bought cows to eat it all. He wouldn’t have spent another four hours mowing that lawn. He was no fool, my father.
I mowed part of the lawn on Saturday. I may do another section later in the week, if it doesn’t rain. Certainly I’ll be prioritizing the repair of the riding mower….. or I may be calling someone with some concrete. Maybe I inherited some common sense from Scotty after all.