Unbelievable excitement ensues as two Seattleites prepare for a baby!

Monday, July 18, 2005

Doing Grass

Those of you who ever drove past our house in Charlotte know that I was perpetually locked in battle with our lawn - an implacable, inexorable enemy that knew not defeat. Every week I would struggle out into the impossibly hot, wretchedly muggy North Carolina summer air to fetch my loyal, battered gas mower. Together, we would quixotically tackle the broad, coarse weeds that pass for grass in North Carolina. Several hours, one severe case of dehydration, and at least one gas refill later, the grass would be (generally) shorter - but I would be beaten in both body and soul.

And then, three days later, the lawn would need to be mowed once more - a vegetable insurgency that refused to accept my claims of ultimate rule.

There are men (and women, no doubt) in suburbia whose lives revolve around the pH balance of their lawn. Those people would be crushed if their once-green lawn wound up brown and lifeless - for me it would be a crowning triumph. People used to laugh when I told them I was trying to kill my lawn, but what they didn't realize was that I wouldn't just like my lawn to die; I would welcome its death in the style of a hip-hop mogul, with celebratory bottles of Cristal, powerful handguns, and the purchase of SUVs with improbably large rims.

When we moved to Seattle and bought a house with a tiny postage-stamp of wispy, feeble grass, I immediately forgot the lessons of Charlotte. We wouldn't even need a gas mower, Leigh and I reasoned - why not buy one of those old-fashioned push rotary motors that would take up less space in the garage and wouldn't pollute or require us to store gasoline?


On the left, beauty; on the right, madness.

If the idea was to be environmentally friendly, the rotary mower certainly accomplished the task. It was positively chummy with the various flora that make up our lawn. It would greet each tuft of grass, gently caressing it and perhaps rough-housing it a little before moving on. Never did it actually, you know, cut the grass. Why, the very thought!

All of which, of course, explains why we stuck with the rotary mower for more than a year. I would go out for periodic but ineffective mowing sessions that invariably ended with the gently massaged wildflower stalks waving goodbye to me on my way back in. To achieve any success at all, I would have to approach a given meter square of lawn from five different directions and at varying speeds. I wasn't so much mowing the lawn as I was trying to give it a particularly ragged haircut.

Now? Ah .... now things are different.

Leigh's father Lyle, a kind and gentle soul who was no doubt weary of my unending assaults on his daughter's ears about the utter worthlessness of our mower, recently decided to give us a gas-powered mower as an impending baby present.

This isn't just any mower - it's a big-engined, self-propelled Toro. This is a ridiculous degree of overkill for our lawn, but I can't pretend that I don't derive a great deal of satisfaction from it. It's a bit like nuking the Sorth Pole to eradicate a slightly disgruntled penguin colony. And I love it.

Thank you, Lyle - not only have you aided me in my grim struggle with lawns everywhere, but I'm sure the neighbors want to give you a medal.

8 Comments:

Blogger Seattle Mama said...

I just want to point out that the idea of Chris mowing the lawn on a weekly basis in any state is downright ludicrous.

11:15 PM

 
Blogger JMB said...

This post was so funny I thought Ron might have written it.

jason

PS: Having not checked in for a few days, I was somehow expecting a baby by now. Luke's birthday is Saturday if you're looking for a good day.

7:02 AM

 
Blogger Chris Hafner said...

---

I just want to point out that the idea of Chris mowing the lawn on a weekly basis in any state is downright ludicrous.

---

I am shocked and horrified by this accusation - though not as much as I would be if it wasn't so true.

9:59 AM

 
Blogger Chris Hafner said...

---
This post was so funny I thought Ron might have written it.

jason

PS: Having not checked in for a few days, I was somehow expecting a baby by now. Luke's birthday is Saturday if you're looking for a good day.

---

No baby yet - unless there's something Leigh hasn't been telling me - but we have been getting a lot of suggestions from dates from people. That includes a cash bribe from a friend of mine if Leigh would give birth on his birthday.

I tried to induce Leigh so that I could collect the cash, but for some reason Leigh objected.

10:03 AM

 
Anonymous Karen Evans said...

Didn't anyone ever tell you the four secrets to a great lawn in Charlotte?
1. Seed in the fall or not at all.
2. Hire Chem-Lawn for fertilizing.
3. Hire a lawn service for mowing, edging, etc.
4. If tips 1-3 fail, buy a condo, where lawn care is included in your $500/month homeowners fee.

And honestly Chris, couldn't your dad the John Deere big shot, get you a JD mower?

12:20 PM

 
Anonymous Stephen Rosencrantz said...

Ahh, but what became of the rotary mower? Having actually broken parts of mine in a vain attempt to get the thing to cut on the 5th pass by using shear velocity, (I would back up and take a running start at each patch of grass only to be broght to an immediate, and painful, halt as the handle gouged me in the midsection reminding me that when using a rotary mower the laws of physics changed slightly making grass stronger than steel.) I took mine to the dump, threw it in, and waited until the giant trash crushing machine annihilated it. I replaced it with a 15 year old gas mower that one of my neighbors was going to throw away, because it was extremely hard to start (at least 10 pulls) and only had three wheels. This machine was infinitly superior to the rotary mower.

7:52 AM

 
Blogger Jim Holland said...

Seems to me there's an oldie song title that's apropo here.

"I fought the lawn, and the lawn won."

Sorry...

6:48 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was quite amused by this post - having experienced both sides of the experience personally - mowing twice a week with no hope of taming it in Dallas heat. Try adding a parental unit or two enforcing this behavior - THEY are not out there mowing. Then, a move to Seattle with a small lawn and a push mower as an 'environmentally friendly' solution - that did not work very well. The key is that those suckers need to be SHARPENED and as often as once a year! Imagine! However, the REAL solution that I loved was an electic mower. You heard me right - with a small lawn, the cord is not that long and not really a problem. I liked its weight, its size, its relative lack of noise - a great solution.
But, as one other comment pointed out, not the BEST solution - my current one. Condo fees.

9:44 PM

 

Post a Comment

<< Home