Clancy has been on Weight Watchers and very successfully so. It’s been the program that has worked for her. She weighs less than she has at any point since high school. Among the neat things about it is that she has this gadget she puts on her belt-loop that keeps track of her movement. She gets points if she moves around enough. This has had a very positive effect in encouraging her to become more active. She, like me, response very positively to scorecards.

A friend recently introduced her son to the lawnmower. I commented at the time that it was really cool mowing that lawn for the first time. For the first time.

I’ve been relatively fortunate in my need not to mow the lawn over the span of my adult life. It was a regular chore back when I was a kid as soon as my brother went off to college. Mowing the lawn in the Gulf heat is… not fun. After that I lived in dorms and apartment complexes and basements, where lawnmowing was not required. In Estacado and Cascadia, we had arrangements made. In Arapaho, at both houses, it was in our lease that the landlords would take care of it.

There was no such arrangement when we moved to West Q. We thought about hiring somebody to do it because lawnmowing is not something I could do with my kid in tow, but between Clancy and I we have made it work so that I could break free long enough to take care of it.

Last weekend we were making provisions for me to mow the lawn. There were more-than-usual arrangements that had to be made as the lawnmower needed an oil change and some gasoline. No biggie, just a couple more things to be coordinated (buying a funnel and refilling the gas can). She then came up with the idea… why not let her mow the lawn? It would give her WW points.

Now, I don’t mind mowing the lawn all that much. I have my noise-cancelling headphones and listen to an audiobook while I work. But it’s still not my idea of a leisure activity. Also, I have no dietary point system. So it’s win-win!

It turns out that she has actually never mowed the lawn before. I had to show her how the mower worked. Actually, since we couldn’t go out there I drew a diagram that was sufficiently explanatory. This lever goes back, then pull this knob right here. I don’t actually know what any of the parts are actually called.

It honestly felt monumentally weird, her mowing the lawn as I was looking after Lain inside. I’m not exactly a manly-man sort of guy. I do a lot of the chores that we didn’t do growing up because they were girl chores and we were boys and it has never occurred to me that there is anything wrong with it even leaving aside that I am doing the stay-at-home-dad bit.

But there is something about my wife mowing the lawn in lieu of my doing it in the heat that does make me feel just a bit awkward.


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About the Author

Will Truman (trumwill) is a southern transplant in the mountain east with an IT background who bides his time taking care of their daughter while his wife brings home the bacon. You will probably be relieved to know that he does not generally refer to himself in the third-person except when he's writing short bios on his web page.

2 Responses to Zen and the Art of Lawnmower Maintenance

  1. kirk says:

    I knew a guy whose wife mowed the lawn when she was something like 7 or 8 months pregnant. I don’t know how comfortable I’d be with the neighbors seeing something like that.

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