Saturday, November 22, 2014

Hot Time on a Cold Day

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. 
Is it a fire hazard when the leaves get backed up in the mower
like this, or just a yucky mess?
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


Angie said...

Why is the grass still growing this time of year?

Common Household Mom said...

Angie, it isn't. This was more to get the last bit of leaves off the ground, rather than a real mowing.

Cassi said...

I think it's a good thing I don't have neighbors. I could never be this committed to a lawn. I admire your fortitude :-)

The Crislers said...

I prime our mower with seven pushes of the squishy red button- no more, no less. There is no logic behind this number. It is not what the manual says. It's just, as I told Derek, "what feels right." And it still doesn't start right away half the time.

Maybe if you just, like, clamped a cigar between your teeth while mowing it would help. You don't even have to light it, because that would be a fire hazard.

Anonymous said...

I am thankful right now that lawn duty falls under D's jurisdiction!

Cheri @ Blog This Mom!® said...

I tried hard not to laugh at your tale of labor and sleet and snow, but "I wondered if the engine would cooperate if I smoked a cigar . . ." did me in.

slow panic said...

I'm feeling guilty for not wanting to work in the yard when it is in the 40s!!!

smalltownme said...

I don't mow. It used to be my husband's job and then we got a gardener.

Sarah said...

Our Heart of Gold neighbor has a hat just like Wilson used to do on Home Improvement. The only difference is we don't have a fence, and we use riding mowers to 'compete.'