Sunday, July 28, 2013

Me and My Mower, My Mower and Me

I married a man's man.  He does all the stereotypical "man stuff" around here--the fixing, the building, the money-making, the coaching, the vehicle maintenance, all that fun stuff.  I do the laundry (and HATE it when he tries to help), the grocery shopping, the meals, most of the housework, and keep the paperwork organized and try to stay on top of appointments and school stuff for the kiddos.  I really like it this way, we both do.  It is what works best for us.

However, there is one task that I take on pretty much all the time, and have since the kids were born:  I cut the grass.

Yes, I wear Crocs--and socks--when I mow.
Yes, that is Spongebob and Mr. Krab on my Crocs.
Before the kids were born, I helped with the mowing.  Hubby and I sort of split the job.  We mow a LOT of space.  I bet it's a total of between 5 and 8 acres.  When it's a warm and wet summer, it needs to be done more than once a week, and it takes several hours.  After the kids were born, I started mowing the whole thing myself.  One of us needed to stay in with the offspring, and I decided it should be him--mostly because I needed the mental break.  I had no idea how much I needed it, and how much it has grown to mean to me.

In his ultimate wisdom, the hubby purchased a beautiful machine for me to get the job done.  It is a Scag Tiger Cub with a double cutter deck and control handles rather than a steering wheel for a zero radius turn.  It's seriously awesome.  And he got me this super cushy bouncy seat.  All I would need to make it actually perfect is a bright purple sparkly paint job, but he hasn't gotten around to that yet...

Anyway, he keeps it gassed up and sharpened for me, and the rest is up to me.  I climb on, put in my earbuds, clamp my big neon yellow earmuffs over the ears, put on my safety sunglasses, and I'm off.  Yet another reason I'm thankful that I live out here in the country?  Privacy.  Nobody needs to see what a fashion plate I am when I mow.  From the Crocs with socks, the hugely-oversized overalls (I need the pocket for my iPod), my gardening gloves, faded ball cap, and safety glasses and earmuffs, I am something to behold.  Plus, I am singing along to my iPod the entire time.  Quite possibly very loudly due to the ear protection, definitely very off key, and the bumpy ride does not help my voice.  I love the country.

While I mow, my brain wanders.  I've done the same route countless times, and I don't need much concentration for it.  I wander with the music, mostly.  Today I was already emotional, since earlier in the day we played our last little league game of the season.  Hubby coached A and J this year, and we had a team made up of some of the coolest 10- and 11-year olds I have ever met.  Our tournament was this weekend, and after a season with just one win, our team went in and placed sixth out of 12 teams.  I couldn't have been prouder of all the boys, and the lasting friendships we made with the other families and coaches make every sweltering evening, muddy field, angry (opposing team) coach worth every second.  I was almost teary saying goodbye to everyone today, even though I will undoubtedly see all of them soon.

So when the Brad Paisley song "It Did" came on, I actually did tear up.  On the mower.

While I'm out there, I can't help but be reminded how lucky I am to live the life I live.  My house is a mess.  My kitchen is not finished (yet).  My basement looks like something you'd see on "Hoarders".  It is certainly nothing fancy, but this is what I look at when I mow:

It doesn't suck.

I do a lot of reflecting on my mower.  The music reminds me of my past sometimes--songs from Michael Jackson, Journey, Billy Joel.  I think about where I've been, how far I've come.  People that have been in my life that I may not see much anymore but still love dearly.  It reminds me of people I have lost and ache for.

And then in the middle of that "Thriftshop" will come on and I'm all, "...your grammy, your auntie, your mama, your mammy, I'll take those flannel zebra jammies and I'll rock that motherf---er" while I'm doing my awesome gangsta moves.  On my mower.  In my Crocs.

Thank God for the country.

But then Pink comes on and I'm belting out "Just Give Me a Reason" while I'm making my fourth pass on the field by the corn rows.

I think about what's coming up in the next week, groceries I need, who has what appointment where, what hubby's work schedule is the next day, and the fact that I wish the kids would remember to gather up all their baseballs from the grass when they're done practicing pitching.

"God Only Knows" from the Beach Boys comes on and I'm daydreaming about the first motorcycle ride I took with hubby and how he took my breath away.

I become Taylor Swift or Miranda Lambert.  I try to figure out the words to "Sticks and Stones" by Jonsi.

"What a Wonderful World" comes on and I actually have to stop the mower and look around for a second, with a quiet word to God.

I can smell the cut grass.  I can feel the dirt and clippings blowing around out of the chute of the mower.  Sometimes it's terribly windy and I get covered in grime.  I get scratched up by low-hanging branches and pine needles.  I watch out for frogs, baseballs, garden hoses.  I move picnic tables back and forth.  I go between the swings on the swing set, belting out "Some Nights" by Fun.

And then, I'm done.  I drive the mower back into the pole building and shut her down.  I brush off the loose grass clippings stuck on my clothes and socks.  I take off my earmuffs and hang them on the mower.  I walk into the house, where the TV is too loud, the kids left dirty dishes on the counter, the dog needs water, and there's two baskets of laundry waiting for me to fold.  And I'm in bad need of a shower.

It's better than therapy.  It's better than jogging.  It is why I love my mower.  And the country.

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