I Love Cutting My Grass – NOT!
If there is anything I hate more in this world other than mowing the lawn, it has to be weed whacking. Living in Florida, where the turf is forever green, and forever growing, for me the task is a constant nightmare.
Now, I know of a few people that love that yard backbreaking work, and to that I say “more power to you,” but as for me? No thank you! I’d rather be doing something else than cutting grass in humid, mosquito-swarming-97-degree weather. If the sun and humidity doesn’t kill you, the mosquitoes will. And let’s not forget those nasty little wasps and fire ants that are hiding their nests in areas you need to work in, ready to strategically go in for the kill at the slightest disturbance of their habitat.
Many years ago when I bought my house, I looked at my slopping front yard and ample backyard of my property and figured, well if it means that my child will have a good size front and backyard to run and play, then it’s worth the work. I decided to fence it because I did not want my pets to wander off and it would keep both, my child and my dogs safely on their property, but little did I know that this was not going to end up as planned.
Rainy season would begin around May and would run for what seemed months. The grass will literally grow an inch a day after the daily rains; however, the grass is not so much the problem as the weeds are. Weeds like to crawl up your fence and grow in areas where a lawn mower cannot go. That’s a job for the weed whacker or a strong arm that can pull and pull weeds until one drops. Since my yard is big, the weed whacker got the job. Some have suggested spraying toxic cancer-causing weed killer, but I was hesitant to use these with a child and pets running all over the yard.
Therefore, I set out to find an economical lawn mower and weed whacker at the local home improvement store. After seeing all the options, price being a determinant, I chose an economical push mower, and boy did I learn that there are certain things you just don’t go the cheap way. If I had to go back to that day, I would have saved a bit more money and would have purchased a self-propelled mower.
I pushed that mower for nine long years! After all the backbreaking work, and the painful knees and arms, I would only manage to lose five pounds each rainy season, only to gain them back around the holidays. I pushed, I mean PUSHED that mower to exhaustion. Then when my son turned twelve, I decided to assign him some of the yard work. I made a deal with him. We would alternate each week. He would do the front yard one week, while I did the backyard. The same with the weed whacking. That seemed to work out just fine until he happily went off to college, a far away college. I’ve often wondered why he left in such a hurry with a peculiar grin on his face.
So, I was left alone to do the job again. I can’t tell you how much I dreaded waking up on the weekends to the sound of the neighbor’s lawnmower. I would lay in my cozy bed for a long time, staring at the ceiling, willing myself to get out of bed before the noon sun begin it’s scorching job. I’d whine and complain while I would put on my mowing uniform: old jogging pants, T-shirt, and sneakers. I’d arm myself with my sunglasses, bug repellant, face mask, a jug of water, and yes, plenty of deodorant.
Two hours later, I would drag myself back into my air-conditioned house, covered in grass clippings and dirt, hair and clothes plastered to my skin from the sweat, and the fresh smell of deodorant has been replaced by eau de toilette Le Stink, a combination of wet-grass odor and an odd monkey smell that kept my dogs away. One sniff and they’d run in the opposite direction sneezing and shaking their heads. The nerve, as if their breaths smelled any better!
The day came when I finally saved enough money to buy myself a riding mower. This purchase was one of the best investments I have ever made. It was like bringing a new baby into the home. I named it “Mom’s Cadillac” and I fell in love with her. Everything ran smooth, well it vibrated and jerked a bit, but I didn’t complain. It also had one flaw, it did not reach corners and areas as the push mower would; therefore, I had to use the weed whacker a whole lot more.
By the time I was done mowing and weed whacking, my back, arms, and legs would be doing their own willful thing while my brain would send unresponsive commands to my body, maybe it was because my brain somehow go disconnected from all the jerking. I would plop on my recliner under a ceiling fan while my legs literally shook from tiredness, and my back, hands and arms would be cramped from holding the heavy weed whacker that constantly broke its string. The next day, you’d think a semi-trailer ran over my body… several times.
Did I mention that a riding mower needs their blades, belts, battery and all sorts of things maintained? I learned that the hard way one summer when it did not want to turn-on. I cried like a baby, as if I had lost a loved one. Meanwhile my grass grew inches by the minute as the City code enforcement officer drove by my house fining me for the tall grass and weeds. After that, I learned very quickly how to maintain my own riding mower, and I pray that it will never die on me again; after all, we are like best friends. Now, if I could only rig my weed whacker to the riding mower, all my problems would be solved.
I look back now remembering all the plans I had for the yard: the fence for privacy and safety, the planting of shade trees, bushes, and beautiful flowers. A wonderful haven for my family where they could frolic and play safely while I sipped my ice tea to the sound of beautiful birds and in the company of beautiful butterflies.
I had imagined myself relaxing in my favorite patio chair, a book in hand, while the wind is blowing through my hair, and then I’m brought back to reality by the sound of all the lawn mowers in the neighborhood and the smell of stinky wet grass and weeds.
No, there are no trees, no bushes, and no flowers in my yard, Hurricane Charley and Frances took care of that. The way I look at it is, the less plants and shrubs, the less yard work there is for me. Now only the fence remains. A fence that is a magnet for weedy vines. As to providing a yard where my son and dogs would play, my son never liked to play in his yard. As to the dogs? I spent more time chasing the dogs after they dug under the fence than anything else. Now it's just me and my old rickety mower… and the weed whacker. You can say we have a love-hate relationship. I hate them but I couldn’t do without them.
Now I dream of living in a condo with a pool, and lots and lots of concrete surrounding the property, making my lawn-mowing weed-whacking days a thing of the past.