Today, it was supposed to rain, but the sun was actually out this morning. And even though I’d been dragging around sick for a couple of days, I could not waste the opportunity to mow the lawn. The lawn was in need. The lawn was also kind enough to spit up a couple of ticks onto my children earlier this week, so it was my opinion that the grass needed to be just a wee bit shorter. Like maybe, just a couple of millimeters long.
I headed into the garage to unearth my mower for its seasonal debut. It took me a while to get it out onto the driveway, on account of the last time I cleaned out the garage was… let me see… oh yes, that’s right: never. So I got the mower out, filled the gas tank, checked the oil, and started it up.
Er, pulled the cord.
Five hundred times.
And then my arm fell off and landed on the driveway with an audible “squish.”
Then I used my remaining arm to make a phone call to the first person I thought of who might be able to tell me a magical incantation to make my mower work. A short amount of abuse later (a what kind of wrench, now? seriously? because why? listen, did you know it’s just supposed to start when I pull the cord?) I had been advised to clean the spark plug. So I did. And then the mower started! Which was exciting!
And then I gave my lawn a buzz cut. My logic went like this: It’s okay, it’s supposed to rain all week, which means the grass won’t burn AND it’ll probably just grow a ton from the rain, anyway.
So now, when it’s hot and sunny all week here? You know who to thank. That’s right. The crazy lady with the dead grass.
The kids rode their bikes and scooters in the driveway and drew with chalk and gathered up piles of cut grass and kept themselves amused. I could watch them as I approached, and when I went the other way I glanced back occasionally to check on them. At one point I thought about how nice it is–now that they’re getting a bit older–that I can mow and not have to worry about them wandering off or hurting themselves or needing me every second.
I glanced over at one point and the driveway was empty. Most likely they were in the garage, extracting yet more toys. Then I heard giggling behind me.
Chickadee had unearthed two small plastic toy mowers. They’d been Monkey’s favorite outdoor toys when he was a toddler. Both of them are far too old for such a thing now, but they trailed me in earnest.
Monkey imitated my every move; he swerved when I swerved, he gripped the way I grip, he tilted the mower onto its back wheels to pivot (apparently it’s self-propelled just like mine). At one point when he saw me watching him, his mower broke down. He stopped, yelled at it a bit, pulled the cord several times, and eventually got it going again.
Chickadee followed in my path until she spotted dandelions that I hadn’t yet mowed down. The caused her to veer off the path and run back and forth over them, vigorously. When that didn’t work to vanquish the intruders, she plucked them and stuck them into any available openings in her mower.
Fortunately, by the time I caught the edge of that tarp in the backyard, they’d moved on to something else. I’m a fine role model, but only for a few minutes at a time. Or when I’m not operating machinery. Or when I’m sleeping.