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My least favorite sign of spring? Mowing

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By Janny Wilcke

Oh, how I hate mowing the lawn!

One morning this past week as I was driving down to Shelbyville to run some errands I was totally caught off guard by not one but two eager-beaver homeowners mowing their lawns.  I wanted to shout, “Relax, it’s only March, folks!”

The reason is that, while I’ve been enjoying the warm temperatures of late, in the back of my mind has been tucked the problem of green, growing grass. The sight of these two paragons that morning was a blatant reminder of something I’ve tried not to think about – namely, it’s just about time to start mowing again.

For some reason that I have never quite figured out, I hate mowing the lawn. In fact, I have such an aversion that the lawn has become a real problem for me.  For a reason that is not a puzzle at all, cutting the grass is designated as my chore in our household. Pure and simple, I have more time for it than my husband.

This sounds silly, I’m sure. I know women who claim to love mowing. One of my acquaintances says it allows her quiet time to think about the week’s events and sort through her problems.  But the only thing I think about when I am mowing is how much longer I’ll have to sit on our crazy z-turn until I am finished.

Yes, it’s a very nice z-turn mower. For years we had an old riding mower that frustrated me no end because it was always tough to start and because the belt was always either coming off or breaking. If I were lucky, I might get it back on by myself but more often than not, I would have to shelve my mowing plans and wait until my husband got home to fix it. You might think I’d welcome any excuse to quit mowing but the thought of having to mow the next day irritated me even more.

My husband was sure that I’d be thrilled a few years ago when he announced excitedly, “I have a surprise for you, Hon! I bought a z-turn mower, which will make our mowing around here much easier and a whole lot faster.”  I tried not to burst his bubble, but my enthusiasm for the new mower in no way matched his.

One problem is that our lawn is hilly in some areas and I hate mowing on any kind of a slant. I feel I am going to topple over.  My husband has assured me that this won’t happen.  But the feeling and the fear are both real and my method of coping is probably not the safest. When I get scared, I go faster, and then it’s as if I’m on some runaway mower, speeding up in spite of myself, careening along the side of the hill at a reckless pace until I’m back safely on the level, then I slow down.

To me, mowing is boring with a capital B.  We have way too many bushes and trees to avoid.  I have to maneuver around every one – forward and backward, back and forward.  It’s nit-picky stuff.  I’d rather be mowing across a field in straight rows than worry about skinning bark off trees or accidentally slicing bushes.

That’s why I like dry summers when the grass stops growing because of the lack of moisture.  We had that “luxury” often when we lived in Kansas. Last summer was particularly annoying, not only because we had such adequate rainfall, but also because my husband decided to fertilize the lawn – a double whammy.

This time of year, because I hate mowing so much, it is on my mind.  After I saw those folks mowing the other morning, I began obsessing about when I’ll have to begin mowing.  Certainly not today or tomorrow, but if I could get the job out of the way this week, maybe it wouldn’t weigh on my mind all weekend.

My son-in-law has suggested that I get earphones and a small CD player so that I could listen to music as I mow, but I don’t see how music would alleviate my boredom.  My husband bought a cup holder and kindly attached it to the z-turn so I could have something to drink while on the job. He simply cannot understand why I hate to mow so much, and I am not sure I can either.  Certainly, it is not because I’m lazy because there are plenty of other much harder jobs I do willingly.

So, here’s my dilemma. It’s only March and there are six or seven months of growing grass in front of me.  I suggested to my husband that I would do something else in exchange for his taking over the mowing.  Or perhaps, I said, we could make the lawn much smaller.  He didn’t want to, but why do we need lawns anyway?  The pioneers were content having prairie grass around their sod houses. 

The bottom line is probably that nothing will change. I will get on that z-turn mower week after week after week for the next six or seven months. I will mow the lawn that can’t be seen from the road, but I will not surrender easily. I don’t see any way out of the chore, but that will NOT prevent me from complaining!