I will be 32 years old in 1 week. Until now, I have never mowed a lawn. I feel like I should be embarrassed by this. Having minored in Women's Studies, I have this whole equality thing, and generally shirk typical gender roles. For example, at my house, I am the one who wields the power tools. I am as crafty with home improvements as I am with the laundry.
Matt and I have our jobs worked out. We never sat down and divvied it up - it wasn't part of our vows, but we know who does what without discussion. Bathrooms are my job. If we need to hang blinds or put something together specifically with the use of an allen wrench, all mine. Lawn work, kitchen cleaning (with the exception of cleaning out the refrigerator), and oil changes - that's Matt's. Matt lets the dog out, makes the coffee, and waters the herb garden in the morning, and I get the little man dressed and ready for preschool. See, we know who does what. We dance seamlessly through life by getting our "jobs" done, and who am I to mess up the natural order at the Lindstrom house? Besides, I have this belief that once someone learns to do something new, it becomes their job... FOREVER. Trust me, I do not want to be the official lawn mower of the Lindstrom family, so I'm going to have to be pretty careful with this task.
Seriously though, to be 32 years old, and never have mowed a lawn. I feel a little pathetic. I LOVE vacuuming. I love seeing the clean lines on the carpet. I love hearing the sound of dirt, gravel, and whatnot being sucked up and bouncing around inside that plastic tube and then going over the same spot over and over again until I hear nothing but the hum of the vacuum. I have a complex and torrid love affair with my Dyson (here she is, isn't she pretty?). So, I have reason to believe that the experience of mowing the lawn will bring the same satisfaction.
In two weeks, Matt and I will have been married for 7 years. In those 7 years, he has never heard me say the words, "I'm going to mow the lawn." So, imagine his excitement as he guided his green wife out to the smelly garage, and taught me how to pull the little cord thingy that makes the mower... mow. (I never promised that I'd learn the language.) I had to explain to him why I was afraid:
Despite my current love of the vacuum cleaner, I haven't always been so fond. When I was young, I was often told the story of my brother's first experience with the vacuum cleaner. He vacuumed his sock off his foot. I have no idea how this happened, I only know that it was extremely traumatic for him. As a result, it was years and years before I would even touch the vacuum cleaner, afraid that it would suck something off me. A vacuum cleaner is only suction, the lawn mower has blades. I told Matt that I was afraid I was going to mow my foot off. He laughed. I didn't think it was funny.
It took me a couple pulls of the cord thingy to get the mower... mowing. I didn't realize the force it would require - but felt victorious. Once it was going, Matt gave me a couple of quick tips about the mowing pattern and left me alone to conquer the lawn. When I was young, my brother and I bought my dad a t-shirt for Father's Day that said, "I fought the lawn and the lawn won." I chuckled as I got started, wishing I had that shirt as a reward for my efforts.
I found it amazingly satisfying to mow over the dandelions. I found myself forgetting about the mowing pattern and just going after the dandelions. I had to remind myself that this was serious business, and not a game. I learned a couple of things from this experience:
1. Lawn mowers smell like gas. That is disgusting.
2. Lawn mowers are poorly designed. If I could redesign the lawn mower, I'd make it just like a vacuum. It would turn on a dime and you would be able to do it with one hand. This would make the experience more satisfying. In fact, I think Dyson should expand their market and design lawn mowers.
3. I have bad allergies.
4. I totally understand why a lot of men perform this task without a shirt. You will be thankful to know that I kept my shirt on.
5. While I'm glad I did it this once, I don't want this to be my job.
Matt and I talked about it afterwards. He gave me a thumbs up for the job I did, and I told him that I would do it once in a while, like if he ever breaks both legs or something, but I'm not doing it all the time. I'm glad I did it, that I kept all my limbs in tact, and that when I admire our house from the curb for this week, I can also admire my landscaping prowess. I am comfortable now, having this skill. It was easily earned. The bonus of having done this is that my husband can never report to his friends with an eye-roll that his wife has never mowed a lawn. In fact, that might actually be the biggest reward.
Next week, I am going to get kind of crafty. I call myself a knitter even though I only knit scarves and hats. I'm going to challenge myself to knit something other than a scarf or a hat. The perfectionist in my is terrified.
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