And if God is laughing, I might as well laugh too. And for bonus points, I’ll share the laughter with you all!

Last time I tried to mow my grass, I would say the venture was half successful. I declined to share the story here because it seemed a bit like complaining, but it adds a little flavor to my woes of today, so I’ll throw it in for good measure.

I mowed the front yard without incident. I thought “Hey! This is actually gonna be easy! For once!”

Then I hopped off to open the fence to the back yard and the whole endeavor fell apart. I attempted to restart the mower to no avail. I pushed pins, lifted levers, turned knobs, clutched cranked and eventually, almost cried. The darn thing wasn’t even trying to turn over. Nothing I did worked. Nothing was happening. Gah.

Even worse, my eight hundred pound lawn mower was stranded quite some way away from my storage shed. Though I am not a frail little lady or particularly unwilling to get my hands dirty and sweat a little, there was no way I was going to be able to push that mower to the shed in less than an hour’s time. Ridiculous.

Fortunately, I know some clever people and only a couple of days later, it was determined that my battery was not well connected. Or whatever. Anyway, that was remedied and I was able to DRIVE that monstrosity back to the shed.

And today  I was bound and determined to mow both front and back yards again. The front yard was already beginning to look bad again and the back? Oh my, it was atrocious.

So this morning I got started early. I threw open the shed door with enthusiasm for the task at hand. I pulled (with all my might, may I add) the darned thing out into the driveway and started it up. With ease! Oh, finally, this time was going to be easy. Surely I had dealt with all of my mower issues and all would be well.

Once I’d driven into the grass, I engaged the mower blade. No, I take that back. I turned the lever to engage the blade, but nothing happened. Sigh. Of course nothing happened. Why would I ever think mowing my grass would be EASY?

My wonderful Dad suggested the owner’s manual for trouble shooting. Amazingly, MY MOWER BLADE WON’T ENGAGE is not among the trouble shooting topics. Really?

But I began to notice a pattern among the other mower deck/blade questions – the belt. So the belt was a potential problem. Ok, so back out in the front yard, on hands and knees, butt sticking up in the air checking the belt. Voila! The belt was unlooped from the little pulley things. And that’s as technical as I can get 🙂

For real though, for it being as easy as it obviously was for the belt to come unlooped, it was ridiculously difficult to re-loop it. There’s this bar sticking up that’s supposed to prevent the belt from slipping out (obviously a failure) that made it nearly impossible to get it back in place. I ended up using a pair of pliers (ummm… or a wrench? I’m not really sure which is which) to pry the bar away from the pulley so I could re-loop the stupid belt. All the time, butt sticking up in the air in my front yard. So attractive.

BUT I DID IT! I felt absolutely unstoppable after solving this dilemma. I plowed through both the front and back yards,  beautifying my property with ease.

Then I got a little cocky with it. I started taking corners at excessive speed.  I finished the yards proper and there’s this tiny little bit of grass near my shed  that is awfully difficult to mow with my gigantic riding lawn mower, as I have a gravel driveway and the mower blades don’t like the gravel driveway. But I can do anything and so I tried it out. It went smoothly for 0.267 seconds. I made a sharp turn and ran half the mower into a flower bed up against the fence. If you’re having a hard time visualizing this scenario:

Lawn Mower Situation

So don’t worry too much about scaling… obviously the mower in the upper left hand corner is far too large to ever to have found itself in that position, but let’s just assume it did.

 
The barrier into the flower bed (which, let’s be honest, is hosting honey suckles and weeds at the moment, and maybe a few chipmunks) is an old telephone pole laying on its side. It protrudes quite a lot from the ground. I drove over it too fast. I could not build enough reverse speed to undo my damage. Nor could I pull it out from behind. Nor could I push it from the front. That particular attempt resulted in a LARGE bruise on my thigh and quite a few scratches up my leg as I slid rather forcefully to the ground.
 
Fantastic.
 
It was at this point that I started laughing hysterically. Honestly, who else could get themselves into this much trouble JUST trying to mow the grass? I’m pretty sure God is trying to tell me that I just need to let the weeds be. To hell with being a good homeowner.
 
However, I can say with a fair amount of confidence that I am just trying to excuse myself from further attempts to dominate this machine that clearly is intent upon dominating me. Time after time. Not next time! I will prevail!
 
Only… can someone come help me un-stick it first?
 
 
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Ok. It was Wednesday that I declared to my Facebook Friends that I would mow my grass at 4:30 that afternoon.

Confession: I didn’t do it.

BUT! I did do it this morning (and it’s only like 2 and a half days later!) and that has to count for something, right?

And to be honest, now it’s done, I’m not sure why I was stalling. It was…easy. I think Saturday mid-morning is the socially acceptable time to mow one’s lawn, so I guess it was a good time for me to debut into the world of concerned and involved homeowners.

Only problem with that is, I wasn’t the only person out cutting the grass. My next door neighbor (also a woman) was pulling out her mower at the same time I was dragging mine bodily from the garage.

[Side Note: Dad got me my new wheel key and we successfully engineered the riding lawn mower into full functionality again about two weeks ago. Yay Dad!! I love you!]

Anyway. My neighbor and I were about to be mowing our yards at the same time. I feel like there has to be some unwritten etiquette that I am unaware of in this situation. Whoever gets their mower turned on first goes first. Sort of like…bowling. You don’t bowl at the same time as the people next to you. It’s rude. Right?

Also I felt like an ass with my gigantic riding lawn mower, because the woman next door was using a push mower. An ELECTRIC push mower. I am a polluting, lazy jerk.

My front yard was in the most desperate need of attention, and their front yard is facing another direction entirely, so I made for the front yard first. Maybe like 20 minutes later, I was ready to move on to the back yard and it looked like the woman next door was just making her way around her back yard fully for the first time. She was mowing against the fence our back yards share. Crap.

Her poor little electric mower was being put to the test against a whole bunch of weeds and I was about to cruise along past and shoot my chewed up grass through the fence onto her. That felt rude. But I wanted to get the show on the road! I was hot! And sweaty. And uncomfortable.

But I’m nothing if not polite in awkward situations, so I hopped off the mower and went inside to cool off. I gave her fifteen minutes and then finished up the back yard with some serious ease.

Mowing the grass is actually a very satisfying activity. An hour of work and a dramatic result. Like doing laundry or vacuuming a cat-fur-lined rug. Heck, I may even retain this chore if I ever do get the opportunity to hand it over to a spouse again. He can just use the weed eater.

Because let’s be honest. If it took me 28 years to mow the grass on my own, it’s probably going to be another 28 before I figure out how to operate a weed eater! 😉

OR
Liz Attempts Yard Work As It Is Spring and Her Grass (read: WEEDS) Is Beginning To Grow

OR
A Wheel Pin and a Pin Wheel Are Two Entirely Different Things, No Matter What You Might Think

OR
My Dad Is Terrific But We’re Both Unobservant As Heck

OR
Yard Work Is Just as Crappy As I Thought It Would Be, and I Will Continue To Avoid It If At All Possible

Ok, I think that I’ve sufficiently titled this piece. It should be known from the start that I loathe yard work, despite rather enjoying being outdoors when it’s nice weather. It is entirely possible my loathing of yard work stems from only on the rarest of occasions being asked to participate in that activity during my formative years, and witnessing the sweaty, exhausted mess my dad always looked upon completion of these tasks.

In the last year, however, I’ve had to put in a little effort to make the outside of my house (halfway) presentable. I can now confirm beyond a shadow of a doubt that yard work does indeed suck and I tend to look much like my father looks after spending much time at it.

It should also be known that my dad is an amazing man who is making up for his failure (just joshin’, Dad) to teach me about how to take care of one’s property as a youth by making the two-hour trip down from Birmingham to help me with the disaster the Ex and I created over the last three years in this home. He’s had a few month reprieve with the wintry weather, but spring has officially sprung and my weeds are again thriving and in need of a trim. So Dad drove down to teach me how to use my riding lawn mower on Saturday.

Some things you should know about this mower:

  • It is about nine years old.
  • the Ex was formerly jumping off the battery and pumping up two of the tires before each use.
  • Neither Dad nor I have any idea how to use it.
  • It has had nothing but the most basic maintenance paid to it since the Ex and I obtained it seven years ago.

Dad had excellent intentions at the outset: get the tires patched so we don’t have to pump them up before every use. Last time he was kind enough to replace the battery, a generally successful venture. Saturday, it was to be the tires. And they were! Oh, those poor tires were beautifully whole again, and the only expense was $30 and a couple of trips to the tire shop.

And the tires went back on the mower with a fair amount of ease. And we filled the gas tank. And we cranked it up. And we engaged the wheels. Aaaaaand… nothing. The mower did not move. Dad and I, not being small-engine savvy, were a bit stumped. But as I say, my father is something of a genius, and after we found the owner’s manual online, Dad did a little hunting and discovered that the problem was probably a missing Wheel Pin.

Ten minutes and removal of both back wheels proved that this theory was correct. When the back tire was removed, the wheel pin (a little rectangular metal pin that fits into a groove on the axle) had fallen out. Fine and dandy, just search the driveway and it shouldn’t be too hard to miss, right?

Wrong. I have a gravel driveway, if you recall. Once lost, one might as well be hunting one’s teenaged daughter at a Justin Bieber concert. Or perhaps an autographed copy of the Bible. It just isn’t likely to happen unless you are extremely, extremely lucky. And of course, Dad and I are not known for our abilities to find needles in haystacks (or even boxes of cereal in small pantries), so our efforts (long though they may have been) were for naught. No wheel pin was located. And sadly, it was really too late in the day to acquire a new one.

And so, my weeds live to grow another week. Or two. Or ya know, until someone complains, which in my neighborhood, isn’t likely to happen until August, if ever. Viva la Weeds!

I have been married for seven years today. Yesterday, Hubby reminded me why he’s my hero, just in time to celebrate our anniversary.

Y’all, a little back story may be in order. Remember how on Thursday afternoon a big limb fell and pulled down our power line and we had to hire an electrician? Well, the electrician we found did a wonderful job on Friday of fixing it right up. For some serious cash, certainly, but he was a nice guy and really came through in our crisis. Anyway, I got home Friday evening, retrieved our frozen and refrigerated goods from our neighbor’s house, packed my things and drove to spend the weekend with Hubby in Birmingham because he had to work on Saturday, it was our anniversary weekend, (and I didn’t have any internet connection to entertain me at home). We spent most of Saturday afternoon in indecision about how to celebrate the anniversary and were basically decided that we’d just celebrate next weekend in Auburn when the phone call came. It was our next door neighbor informing me that there had been storms that afternoon and several more branches of our tree had come down. And it looked like the very same power line had come down, as well.

It was like someone had snatched my stomach out of my body. I felt both hot and freezing cold at the same time. I don’t even know what I said to the poor lady who called to tell us about it. I doubt I was particularly friendly to this bearer of bad news. Not that I wasn’t appreciative that she’d taken the time to call us when it didn’t look like we were in – that was very sweet. I am pretty sure I thanked her for the call. But I was just too stunned by the unbelievably awful timing of it all to be 100% polite.

Hubby also received a call from another concerned neighbor and after we called a third neighbor, we pieced together that it was either not as bad or significantly worse than what had happened on Thursday afternoon, and the massive branches in our yard were either bigger or more profuse than the original branch of destruction. Also, there were either holes in our roof or just some small branches.

Basically, we were going to have to come back to Auburn together to see for our selves. So, after ten minutes of sobbing uncontrollably, I pulled myself together, had dinner with Hubby’s family, called my Dad to apologize for not getting to see him on Father’s Day, and we went to bed.

Wow, okay that was a lot of back story…sorry, every now and then I can get quite carried away. To the point!

Sunday morning, Hubby and I got up semi-early, packed up the cars with a ladder, chainsaw, gas cans, hand saws, gloves and safety glasses and drove the two hours back to Auburn. When we arrived, it was clear that everyone we spoke with on Saturday had basically explained the situation correctly, despite the inconsistencies in their stories.

There were branches a plenty,  a couple of which were larger than the original branch of doom. And in terms of the power line, the situation was worse in that when the line came down, it was a live-wire, meaning they had to remove our meter box when they came out, which they hadn’t had to do on Thursday afternoon. But the situation was much better also, because the electrician had reinforced the new piping much better than it was originally done, and therefore none of that will have to be replaced the second go around. As far as the roof goes, there were little limbs all over it, and maybe a shingle or two poking up where it shouldn’t, but nothing extreme. But Hubby was there with me, and may I say, that made all the difference! I could handle the insanity of the situation because I wasn’t being required to figure it all out alone. In fact, I could defer to him as the authority on the subject of all things tree and power.

Not only that, my man is a beast with a chainsaw. He got to work with that thing and in no time, he’d chopped up the biggest limbs in the driveway into more manageable pieces. AND he hauled most of it to the street for pick up. I was in charge of smaller branches and obtaining cold liquids for him to drink. And taking phone calls, of which there were many, as our families were checking on us constantly. His parents even came down to join us, arriving around 3 with sustenance and another manly eye.

With his dad there to advise him, Tom ended up in the tree with the chainsaw. Keep in mind, when I say that this is a huge tree, I am not exaggerating as usual. I’m serious. Hubby was at least thirty feet up*. I was terrified, but I was also really proud. He chopped down three more huge limbs and looked like a rock star doing it. There’s just something about a man with power tools. Yummy.

After descending from the heights of the tree, he started chopping up the felled branches and the power tool gave out before he did. We decided it would take three days to chop up the rest with hand saws so there are still three HUGE branches in our yard and driveway, but Hubby will be back next weekend to work on that. In the meantime, as soon as I get power, I’m going to make pies for the three neighbors that helped us out this last week and hope they forgive the fact that our yard looks like a war zone.

In conclusion, my husband rocks. Happy Anniversary!

* A Picture of Hubby In HUGE DEAD TREE:

Hubby In the Tree!

Are you serious? You are as tall as my house. I know it’s rained a whole bunch recently and you are just so healthy you want to share it with the world, but you are a weed. Stop! When I came outside this afternoon to knock you over (not kidding, folks, these weeds are taller than me and are about as thick as two fingers together), I meant business. Take it as a warning. If you want to continue existing without being snapped in half, STOP GROWING.

If you do that for me, I can almost 100% guarantee that I’ll leave you alone. Stay small and we’re both happy. You live, I don’t have to do yard work.

Last summer, I let one of your cohorts slide past. Up against the house and out of reach of the lawn mower, this weed brethren of yours grew heartily. He grew taller than the front of the house. I thought, “Weed, the only reason I’m letting you live is that you will DIE a horrible death in the fall.” But this weed was heartier than I imagined. This weed survived the winter and is now A TREE.

Weeds in my yard this summer, take heed. YOU WILL DIE if you try to do that to me. And Stupid Weed Tree up against my house, you’re on notice, too.