What a day… the yard looks like it was mowed by Dennis the Menace

I had good intentions…

I’ve had a few mini lessons on the lawnmower.  I’ll be honest, I’m not comfortable operating it.  I feel like I’m riding a horse who is on the verge of being out of control and that I’ll get pitched on my head (without a helmet) at any point in time.

John always took care of the mowing and weed whacking.  That was his one thing that he always did.  I never operated a lawnmower as a kid-  too dangerous.  So, I’ll admit, I’m a little intimidated, anxious, nervous and a little bit scared of them.  The healthy respect that I was supposed to have learned… well, that’s a boundary that was overstepped…. deadly blades, cutting off feet, and tipping over tractors are permanently ingrained in my head.

So, I came home from work… I was going to mow while kiddo was still sleeping…

That plan didn’t work… he was already awake.

I knew if I didn’t mow, I wouldn’t mow.

I’d psyched myself up that I could do it.   A whole lot of “I think I can..”  “I think I can…” had been rehearsed in my head.  I kept rehearsing the steps to turn it on.

So plan B…

I quickly decided, I’d put kiddo in the baby fence that he hates.  I’d put it by his sandbox.  He’d have on his hat and sunscreen.  I hoped he wouldn’t decide to ingest sand and would happily play.  I also hoped he wouldn’t try to climb out of his ‘baby round pen.’

I took a deep breath… put kiddo in his pen.  He cried.  I walked away.  By the time I’d started the tractor he was playing.   I took a deep breath… prayed I wouldn’t run the mower into the garage or get it lodged so I had to beg for help to get unstuck.

Yes, I’m ashamed to say that  both are traits of mine with the big tractor… I run it into the fence… I run it into the barn… I get it stuck and can’t get it unstuck… oh and then there is the two times that i managed to tip it on 3 wheels and bail out for John to rescue me…. I’m told that practice makes perfect… it seems like no matter how much I use the tractor, I can’t figure it out.  Seriously, I shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near tractors… I’m lucky I can operate a car semi-proficiently…

I got the tractor out… barely…

First mission accomplished.

Then I mowed… it didn’t seem like I was cutting much.  I love the look of the cross hatched lines of mowed grass…um.. not happening anytime soon.  It looked like Dennis the Menace had been let lose on the yard… circle around this… loop over here… oval there… try not to blow the grass onto the house… try not to blow the grass onto the kid… try not to blow the grass onto the car… tight turn there… not so tight turn there… hit a rock (okay I only hit 2 rocks)… watch out for the HOLE!!!  Meanwhile I’m being pelted with grass and it’s just gross… I can see why people drink beer while mowing… I was about ready for a beer or case… those of you who know me… I DON’T DRINK!!!  I’m still having issues with zero turn steering.  Either I’m just stupid or I’m trying to drive the tractor like I’d ride a horse.  I haven’t figured out which.  But I was pretty sure I was going to end up getting dumped by the lawnmower!  Jerk forward… zoom… slow down… jerk… whip around a turn…  good grief… what am I doing???

Luckily, kiddo was happy playing in his sandbox.  Thanks to his grandparents, he has some way cool sandbox toys (and the sandbox and sand itself).

Finally, I’m semi satisfied that I’ve managed to basically get the whole yard.  I go to turn off the mower… and realize why it wasn’t cutting much… um… it helps it you lower the mower deck.  In my defense, nobody showed me how to lower the deck.  The only time I had mowed I was told… get on the tractor… push this button… mow…

So.. I lower the deck and re-mow.  Sometimes it seems like it is too low, so I messed with the adjustment some… I really wished John had had a chance to teach me.  I felt very alone, insure, and un-competent.  Too low… too high… I don’t know… John could have told me what I should have set it for (with the variance in the yard)… but he can’t.  Sigh.

After more Dennis the Menace loops, I decided to call it a week.  My eyes were irritated from all the blowing grass.  I felt dirty and gross.  I take kiddo in… strip to my underwear at the door.

I was REALLY concerned about him being out with all of the cut grass flying around… I know I have grass/dirt/dust in my eyes, all over me, in my nose, in my throat.  I don’t want that for kiddo.  John always needed a benadryl when he came in… mowing really set off his allergies.  His eyes would be so red and itchy and his poor nose would run like crazy.  I don’t know if kiddo has allergies or if allergies can develop due to exposure.  I just know I want both of us clean ASAP.

(Possible TMI alert- that’s your warning… you can stop now)

Okay, some people would say I’m a weird mother… I don’t want to take a bath or shower with my child.  Some parents so enjoy it.  Me.. no…   Poor kid doesn’t need to see me naked.  Bad enough that I have to see myself naked.

I liked my privacy.  It’s bad enough that the cat had to come in the bathroom.  Well… obviously since John has passed away, I don’t have bathroom privacy benefits.  Such is life.  Sad when the definition is luxury is being able to use the restroom without a child!

I made an exception because I wanted both of us clean in a hurry.  I decided we’d both take a shower.  Kiddo just thought that was cool.  Poor kid.  I did get a good opportunity to show him how to close his eyes & mouth before rinsing off.  He can’t ever seem to figure that out and hates having his head rinsed.  Me… no time for drama… no time for coddling… just get it over and done with.  As I tell him frequently, your more sympathetic/empathetic/caring parent is dead… sorry about your luck.  On the flip side, he called my nipples “bugs”… so much for the self esteem.  I guess I should be glad that he didn’t look at them and go “tits!”  Then, I’d have to wonder where he learned that from…

This is the life I lead… at least kiddo is clean… I’m clean.. grass is mowed… or mostly mowed… now raked… that’s a different story… oh well… guess that’s tomorrow’s task…

Maybe someday, I’ll confidently mow and have a perfect cross-hatched lawn… I doubt it… the odds of that are probably about as good as winning the lottery so, I can pay somebody to mow.  But… for now it’s done… next week there will be another opportunity I’m sure…. we’ll call them opportunities… as in learning opportunities…  at least I’ll know that I need to lower the deck…

About Mary K. Smith

I was widowed in July 2009, when I lost my beloved husband, John, to melanoma. Cancer SUCKS. We have a young son who was just a year old when his father died. I live on a small farm in Maryland which is home to horses, cats, and a dog. I started this blog as a way for me to heal, a way to remember my husband, and eventually I'd like to share it with our son so he can see the love that his father had for him, the love that we had for each other, what a great person his father was, and how hard his father fought to live.
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