On a late November Saturday morning, when it’s below freezing outside, where is the Common Household Mom to be found? In the warm kitchen, making a birthday pie? At the mall, shopping for gifts for her loved ones? Curled up by the proverbial fire, sipping hot chocolate and reading a good book?
No, Dear Reader. On such a day you can find the Common Household Mom outside, mowing the lawn.
The Weather Man had promised dry and 45° for today. That’s a good 20° warmer than the past five days have been. So I girded myself in the clothing of yard work, including not a winter hat but one of those things that just wraps around your ears. The actual temperature was only 26°, but at least it was dry. I heard the sound of a lawn mower out in the neighborhood. Sure enough, there was my Neighbor with the Heart of Gold mowing his lawn, with the usual cigar hanging out of his mouth.
I set my face toward the garage, found the gas can, and filled the mower’s gas tank. I have not yet figured out how to do this without making my hands smell like gasoline for the rest of the day.
The mower instructions say to prime the engine with three squirts of gas using the handy primer button. However, my husband has told me that our post-menopausal mower needs more than that to get started. I couldn’t remember how many squirts, so I pressed the primer button nine times, hoping I would not flood the engine. I yanked the starter cord more times than the House of Representatives has voted to repeal Obamacare. Nothing. I decided to go up to a lucky thirteen squirts. More yanking, during which I tried not to imagine what that action was doing to my elbow joint. Nothing. The engine did not even turn over.
I wondered if the engine would cooperate if I smoked a cigar, as Mr Heart of Gold Neighbor does. He seems to have no trouble starting his mower. Not having a cigar, I put the mower back in the garage and went inside to think about whether covering the mower with a blanket would be a fire hazard. Half an hour later, I tried again. After three yanks, the mower sprang to life and said, “Well, hot damn, I guess I do have to mow the lawn today after all.”
After mowing a few rows, I noticed that my hair felt weird, as if it was poinging up out of my skull. That’s what I get for not wearing a real hat, I said to myself. But no, it was not my hair rebelling, but drops of sleet on my bare head. I soldiered on, thinking fondly of the days when our son was not at college on lawn-mowing days.
As the Wintry Mix on the mower started to look like a Jackson Pollock painting (except in black and gray), I decided it wasn’t that bad. I tried not to overestimate the number of leaves that the mower bag can hold. I am always fearful that this is a fire hazard, but then I reasoned that only a Boy Scout can start a fire on wet leaves when the weather is 26° and sleeting, and even then the Boy Scout needs dryer lint and a lot of matches.
When the sleet on the mower began to resemble a Rothko painting, I decided I was done for today. Besides, the yard bin was almost full.
I did manage to get one section done, but that’s only one third of the lawn. Son, it’s your turn. I’ll be sitting by the fire, which remains proverbial because we don't have a fireplace. That would be a fire hazard.
|Nearly full yard waste bin|