The Great Lawn Mowing Saga of Spring 2021

Grandma has been worried about who will mow her yard since the beginning of the year.

By worried, I mean full of anxiety.

The teenager can do most of it; however, he is super allergic to poison oak, sumac, and ivy. Grandma happens to have a very healthy supply of poison oak on one of her trees.

Which means my child shouldn’t be mowing that section.

…so I get to.

Last Sunday, the boy was home. He said he’d be good mowing her yard around 1. This was fine with me, because this gave me the morning to laze about, drink tea, and ease into this mowing the yard business.

Btw, I haven’t mowed a lot in my life due to convenient circumstances.

So this was a bit out of my wheelhouse. I know nothing of gas cans, storing gas cans, or lawnmower maintenance. I very vaguely know how to operate one.

After telling me he would mow around 1, the teenager comes into my room, roughly around 10-10:30am to tell me he was ready now.

Naturally, I was displeased and unprepared mentally. But I wanted to get it done so I could spend the rest of my Lazy Sunday relaxing.

We drove the few blocks from our house to Grandma’s. Upon opening the shed where everything is stored, I discovered there is no gas can.

Sigh.

Time to regroup.

I had the teenager picking sticks up and decided we would finish that job before going to Orscheln’s for a gas can.

At this point, I am mildly frustrated. We could get the gas can but transporting it was another matter.

No way was I going to haul a full gas can in my car because there was a good chance a mess would ensue when filling the can up. And by no means did I want my vehicle smelling like gas.

I felt like my mother because this was very much a thing she would say.

And could the gas can be kept safely in the shed with fuel in it?! I didn’t want to fill it up, leave it in there when temperatures eventually rose and cause the shed to explode because I know nothing about storing flammable materials.

…I’m beginning to see a pattern evolving. I have a fear of things exploding.

Propane tanks. Gas cans. Biscuit tubes.

Anyway, I called my father to ask him about gas can safety…and to borrow his truck so I could transport the fuel without stinking up my car.

As this is unfolding, I was trying to not elaborate my train of thought to the nearly 15 year old because I knew he would give me so much shit.

AND HE DID WHEN I TOLD HIM ABOUT NOT KNOWING HOW TO STORE GAS CANS!

Despite my child giving me grief, he DID have answers when my father didn’t answer his phone. For those of you who know very little about yard tasks such as these, you can store them in sheds.

Right as we were getting into my car to head to Orscheln’s to buy Grandma a gas can (after picking up all the rogue sticks in the yard), my phone rang.

Dad said we could borrow his truck.

Success!

I was feeling less annoyed by this point. Still wasn’t fully awake or full of caffeine, but happy things were starting to pan out.

Upon arriving at ye local Orscheln’s, the teenager and I spotted a couple of guys in front of the store selling their wares.

Thankfully, all they said was, “Good morning”, as we passed.

Despite being slightly less frustrated at how events were unfolding, I was still not in the mood for basically anything beyond completing the tasks at hand.

The mission was clear: find a gas can. Go home. Borrow the truck. Fill gas can. Mow. Lounge rest of day.

It didn’t take long to find the gas cans– they were conveniently on display. 2 or 5 gallon cans. Take your pick.

The child and I didn’t necessarily argue about which size I should buy (I am a sucker for baby sized things), although there was some attitude filled debate.

I ended up going with the 5 gallon.

On our way out, one of the peddlers hollered something at us about walking over to view their table full of worldly goods they were trying to rid themselves of .

…UGHHHHH!

So what does my son do?

HE STARTS WALKING OVER TO THE TABLE!

I was having none of this and quickly snapped into mom mode, which involved me looking like an asshole. But I did not care.

THERE COULD BE NO DEVIATIONS FROM THE PLAN BECAUSE LAZY SUNDAY REQUIRED ALL THE RESTING!

And so did I. With only two days off a week, I require one of those days to recover.

As we get into the car, it occurred to me the gas can didn’t come with a nozzle. I said as much to my son, and he responds with, “I thought you knew you had to buy it separately”.

…sigh. Why would he think that when I didn’t even know if gas cans are able to be stored safely in sheds?!

Did I want to go back into the store for a nozzle? ABSOLUTELY NOT!

So I didn’t.

We came home, tossed the can into the truck bed, and headed to Casey’s to buy fuel SO WE COULD FINALLY MOW GRANDMA’S YARD.

I discovered, when the teen was helping me put fuel in the gas can, THAT GAS CANS COME WITH NOZZLES!

I don’t think I will live that one down but he has a terrible memory so I can hope.

I went to fill the can and it puked fuel back up at me. Something about a shield? I don’t know. My child, trying to be helpful, thought it would be a good idea to use his knife to remove the whatever was in the way- after it had be doused with gas.

Shakes head.

But thankfully, I had anticipated a mess. Hence the truck. I slowly finished filling up and we were on our way.

I could already feel soft jammies on my skin.

Team Let’s Get This Yard Mowed and Relax the Rest of the Day arrived back at Grandma’s.

Sticks had been picked up. Gas can was full. WE WERE READY!

I opened the shed and walked to the lawnmower. My son, who is handy and mechanically inclined, checked the oil and the amount of gas left in the mower.

I turned the key.

NOTHING.

The teenager mentioned checking the battery connection and because I was standing next to the seat, told me to flip it up so he could take a look at it.

…did the seat have a secret lever? Was there a trick to it?! I stared at my son, who somehow knew I was a little confused/wondering how I needed to go about that, because he flipped the seat up himself.

No special trick. It was as easy as it sounded, which is why he gave me a look of, “How have you survived this long in life if you don’t even know these things?”.

I ignored it because, well, I just wanted to get this done and I was also wondering how I’ve lived 38 years and don’t know jack about lawn mower seats.

Especially as a single mom! I’ve spent more of my life being a single lady than in relationships. You’d think I’d be full of more practical life knowledge.

Not just where you can buy penis and vulva crochet hooks.

Anyway, the manchild checked the battery connections. Everything was okay.

ALL OF THIS WORK AND ANXIETY ONLY TO FIND OUT THE BATTERY WAS DEAD.

That was the absolute last straw.

I told Grandma I’d let Mom know once she was back from vacation, since both Mom and my aunt take care of her (I sent my aunt a text the next day because she has two son-in-laws who might have been able to check it before my step-father could. But Grandma had already let my aunt know).

I also said we’d figure something out.

There wasn’t anything else we could do, s0 the teenager locked the shed because the lock requires more strength than I have to close it.

And then we came home.

You’d think this made my day- it didn’t. I was happy to be home and able to relax; however, Grandma’s yard wasn’t taken care of.

I left it up to the Universe, because this was WAY out of my range of expertise. I don’t even know how to jump a car. Plus other people with knowledgable connections were involved at this point.

Are you wondering how this story ends because it’s been almost a week since we tried to help out? OR IS GRANDMA’S YARD GROWING MORE AND MORE UNRULY BY THE DAY BECAUSE NO ONE HAS FIXED HER LAWN MOWER?!

I have an incredibly well timed ending for you.

Dad asked me yesterday if Grandma’s yard had been mowed yet. I’ve secretly been driving by to keep tabs on it, and told him, “No”.

Because it hasn’t been. In fact, the wild onions were giving it a very…untamed earthy vibe.

We talked it over and he said that he could get our mower going. I responded I could go mow it the next day (today!). So this morning, after ripping out weeds in my flower and strawberry beds with my Lady Gaga-esque gardening gloves (these things are amazing guys! They have hard plastic nails/talons on the fingertips for decapitating/uprooting weeds), I asked Father if the mower was up and running.

It was not!

…but within the next 10 minutes I was driving our riding lawn mower from our house to Grandma’s and it amused the crap out of me because I was now one of those people who drive their mowers around town.

It was fun. I can’t lie. I was cackling to myself the entire time.

Once I arrived, I didn’t knock on the door. Or call. I just started mowing.

Well, okay, after I killed it and had to call Dad who told me it was because I didn’t have the whatever turned up fast enough (throttle, maybe?).

He was right.

I discovered I really enjoy mowing. As long as it’s a riding lawn mower. Not just because I can make the mower spin around like a carnival ride without feeling as though my stomach will release a most coveted funnel cake at any moment.

Okay, maybe it IS the main reason but it’s also fun to haul ass through the yard.

I learned it is not ideal to mow when it’s windy because all the grass scraps will fly back into your face. Your eyeballs. And hair. And any crevice nature can sneak its way into.

Very grateful for showers.

Lastly, I am not an orderly mower. I am a wild woman who likes to drive from section to section. It was nothing but wonderful chaos.

After finishing up what appeared to be an okay job, I checked in with Grandma. WHO TRIED TO PAY ME!

I’m guessing because she hadn’t thoroughly inspected her yard.

After reminding her that she isn’t paying me for a damn thing ever (not exactly how our conversation went but the jest of it), I rode the lawn mower all the way home and began mowing our yard.

…where I managed to knock the belt off twice because I get a little too enthusiastic about mowing the jungle I am surrounded by.

I tend to take it as a challenge to mow down all the large clumps of foliage. And the mower does not appreciate this.

I do love a good jungle, though. Just not when it’s blocking me from the access I need.

Also, I’m fairly certain we have hemlock growing in the back because it looks like what I saw on TikTok. I follow a most wonderful city forager who shared a video on how to differentiate it from Queen Ann’s lace.

I saw that purple stem. And then I ran the plant in question over.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy poisonous plants. But it gets fairly large and was in my way.

HOWEVER, the hemlock had its revenge. I went back to finish the job and I hit a well hidden bump over by the plant, which caused the belt to slip off for the second time; thus, ending my brief career in lawn care.

I wasn’t looking forward to riding back up to the house, my head hung in shame, to tell my father I broke the mower AGAIN.

But I think he could tell from my face when I pulled up by the house. He said the front yard was done. That’s all that mattered for now.

And then I went inside to clean grass and the rest of nature out of my 20,000 crevices.

More posts to come.

Published by amberalice

Kansas Native. Knitter. Amateur photographer. Lover of love, plants, and great burritos.

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