Skip to main content

The lawn gods are laughing at me

We bought a second-hand mower when we moved into our home two years ago. It cost $60 and broke the second time we started it up. A friend fixed it, but when he delivered it back to me he asked, "How much did you pay for this piece of shit?" He basically had to overhaul it -- replace the starter, spark plugs, and rip cord, as well as balance and sharpen the blade. It has done a schlocky, crooked mow job for two full summers, and just before our vacation, sputtered its last. I could call the same friend, but I'm embarrassed to ask him to re-fix this pile of junk. And I figure it got us as far as we had planned, anyway.

So, figuring we only have, what, one or two mows left this season, I asked a neighbor-friend if any of her three sons could mow for us -- of course we'd pay him. Her reply was a bit more terse and tense than I'd anticipated -- because school started last week, they just don't have any time for mowing lawns.

OK, fine. So we could borrow someone's mower, I'm sure, or we could just go to Sears and buy one of their on-sale mowers. But what the hell do we know about lawn mowers? I don't want to drop a few hundred dollars without doing some research first. Well, no, really, I don't want to drop a few hundred dollars period. I suppose we could buy another second-hand mower from the fix-it friend, but then we'll be right back in this spot in another year or two.

Then I had a brilliant idea! Most of our so-called lawn is dead and brown, so really we just have to clean up the weedy-sprouty spots and do some edging. Easy -- I'll use the weed wacker! So I headed out this afternoon, plugged the wacker in and cleaned up most of the jagged spots in the back yard. Then I moved to the front yard, which of course is the more important spot because it's the part of our yard that people see. About 2 minutes in, I notice the weed wacker sounds a little funny...but I keep going, cuz it's hot and I'm grouchy and I want to just get it over with. (Oh, and I'm feeling major annoyance that Big Daddy is inside playing video games!)

Finally, I realize that the edging is really not going well. The weeds are still standing tall, bending in the breeze. Mocking me. Which is when I notice that the little spool of thread that wacks the weeds is completely empty. So it's just spinning around, cutting nothing.

Excellent. Curse you, lawn gods! Why do you hate me?!

It's easy enough to fix the wacker, of course (just have to go to the hardware store, which is now closed because it's Sunday, and purchase a new spooly thing), but I'm taking this as a sign that our yard is meant to look like ass. For at least one more day.


  1. This is why I've suggested from time to time that we should just have our whole yard paved. Ken would love it that way, and I wouldn't have to worry about mowing.

    I don't know anything about mowers, either, except that the new one Ken bought last year is freaking heavy. I thought modern technology was supposed to make our lives easier?

    Can you just wait until it gets a couple feet tall and then use a scythe? ;)~

  2. Our whacker is busted, too! And it's new (bought last summer) and only been used a handful of times. Apparently, there's some warranty, but I don't have the receipt, anymore. Thank God fall is coming!

    P.S. (Don't look at our weeds, tomorrow.)

  3. Our next door neighbors actually did pave their lawn! It's all brick except for a rectangle in their backyard about 10' by 6'. (Why bother having even that?) They even planted fake flowers out front. At first I thought they were just crotchety old people who were tired of yard work but I'm beginning to understand the wisdom of their ways. Our lawn is a mashup of different weeds battling for territory. I join your curse to the lawn gods.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Boardwalk ghosts

“Imagine this, buddy, in the middle of summer, especially near the Fourth of July. Wall to wall people, just sort of moving in and out of each other. Flashing lights. Loud music. Screams from Morey’s Pier, laughter on the swirly rides. Oh...and the cream, funnel cake, fudge, cheese steaks, pizza, fries...the smells alone would drive you nuts!” 
It’s 5:00 on the evening before his Nana’s funeral, and we’re standing in a windy drizzle on an empty Wildwood boardwalk. My mind has flashed back to the summer of 1991, when I spent a week here with my best friend. Wicked sunburn. Tandem bike adventures. Water slides. Thrill rides. A ground-shaking thunderstorm. Friendship bracelets. College guys taking showers outside. Ice cream and VCR movies every night.

Back in the here-and-now I’m trying to explain to Zippy what this place is like when it’s not October. He’s been to Rehoboth and Ocean City and Old Orchard Beach, but none of those come anywhere close to Wildwood in peak season.…


Zippy and I hiked in the woods the other day, following the icy trails around Evergreen Cemetery. The cold air stung our eyes but the sun shone warm and bright, and it felt great to breathe fresh air. As he skipped and hopped and twirled beside, in front, and around me, I felt peaceful, happy, content. Until I realized the Womens' March is in a few days, I am going, and I don't know what to expect. I've never done anything like this, except for a few years ago at Occupy Philly, which was nothing compared to the numbers they're anticipating this weekend. The Women's March will be a peaceful protest, yes, but 200,000 is an awful lot of people in highly charged city during turbulent times. I felt anxiety creeping into my chest.

"So you know I'm going away this weekend, right? To Washington, D.C. For just two sleeps. Do you know why I'm going?" I asked Zippy.
"Because you don't like Donald Trump and he's going to be the President."

Look up

I walk a lot. Walking is one of the pieces of my Portland lifestyle that I value most, in fact: countless trails, parks, paths, and sidewalks that not only get me where I need to be, but also show me woods and sea and proud old homes and all sorts of loveliness. (I also walk past a lot of not-so-lovely in this town each day, but we'll save that for another post.) Sometimes when I walk through a quiet neighborhood, like the one over here along Clifton Street in Back Cove, I feel envious of single-family homes and yards and kid-friends playing together in the driveway. Other times in these same neighborhoods, I feel grateful for the ample parking and snow removal of our rental home, as well as for landscapers who cut the grass and landlords who come to fix the kitchen lights or replace the dryer when it punks out. When I walk through Evergreen Cemetery, often I feel contemplative, peaceful; its consecrated ground and hundreds of years of history soothes me. Other times I feel sad an…