I realized that makes me sound spoiled. My older sister had to start mowing the lawn when she was in junior high. Then the task was handed down to my brother. By the time I reached lawn-mowing age, it was deemed a boy task and was shared between my older brother and younger stepbrother. Then I went to college, where I never had to maintain a yard. And then I bought this house with Jared when we got married, and he's always taken care of the lawn.
I have paid my nephew to mow for me in the past when Jared was gone on trips. Lots of times Jared mowed right before he left and then I just let it go until he returned.
Well, today the weather is sunny and beautiful after days and days of rain. I was planning to exercise on our elliptical machine after we dropped Nolan off at school, but when I got to our driveway, I decided it was time to tackle the yard.
I instructed the kids to stay inside, but they kept coming to the front porch to watch me.
I got out the mower, familiarized myself with it, and tried to start it. I squeezed the little safety lever against the handle and pulled that cord with all my might. And pulled again. And again.
I literally used all of my arm/shoulder strength, but it just wouldn't start. I kept taking breaks and then trying again. Still nothing.
There was a neighbor out mowing his lawn, but he never offered to help me. There's an older couple that lives across the street from us, and they never miss one thing that happens in our neighborhood. They had their windows open, and I'm sure they were enjoying watching me struggle with that mower.
I texted my sister, who lives very close to me. I asked her to send her husband over to help, but he was gone so she drove over.
So my older but much smaller sister came over. In a skirt. And got the mower started on the first try.
She kept smiling and giving me thumbs up motions like a proud mom. Before she drove off to work, she snapped a few pictures of me on her phone and sent them to me to mark this momentous occasion.
Yep, I'm rockin' those baggy workout clothes. I swear I'm not pregnant; it's just a very large t-shirt.
Rookie mistake #1: I wore my cute aqua workout shoes, and they are now very grass stained. I welcome suggestions for getting them clean. They were fairly expensive, and I love the color.
I mowed the whole front yard and barely survived mowing our side yard, which is a steep hill.
I mowed one strip in the back yard, and the mower got clogged and shut off. I had removed the bag so I wouldn't have to stop and empty it because I was afraid I wouldn't be able to get it started again.
I pulled and pulled and pulled at that string to get the mower started. Nothing. I pulled so hard that I smashed my elbow on our neighbor's shed (which is up against our back yard property line). I prayed for God to help that mower start. I just couldn't physically do it.
And then I tried squeezing that safety lever and the self-propel lever at the same time while I pulled the string. Yeah, it started right up.
That was rookie mistake #2 (not squeezing both levers to start).
I mowed the whole back yard, including around the swing set where my stripe pattern got a little off.
It would look nicer if I had bagged all the clippings. There are some areas that definitely need attention from the weed whacker, and I really wish we had an edger. But those are machines for me to learn a different day.
When I was done, my arms were super shaky and my hands were misshapen claws. I had no idea how hard it is on your hands to hold those levers and handle the mower over hills and tight spaces.
So even though my arms and hands are not functional for the rest of today (washing my hair in the shower was interesting), I feel like I accomplished something.
And I'm no longer a secret mower virgin.