Who says you can’t learn something new about your spouse after eight and a half years of marriage?
How about learning that the granddaughter of one of the county’s best known and longest-operating lawnmower shops has never used a push mower?
It was humbling, to say the least, to lean over to my husband on Saturday and ask him if I could mow the lawn. I needed exercise, and I knew he was busy with other things.
That I’d never made the offer in six years of home ownership has nothing to do with a belief in some fifties-era, “that’s a man’s job” silliness. It’s simply how it’s happened. He’s mowed the lawn. I’ve cleaned the toilets. I’ve also fixed the toilets while he’s done the lion’s share of the laundry, so we’re even.
Some of you might have noticed all that rain last week, followed by a sunny Saturday – the makings of a lawn ripe for mowing.
And with a bit of winter weighing on my hind end, I was ready to move anywhere – even if it dyed my feet green and left my ears ringing.
But first I had to get it started.
Which is easier than it looks.
“You have to pull it hard,” my husband said of the ripcord.
“Uh huh,” I grunted back, yanking again and coming up short of that engine roar I needed to hear.
By the time I’d gotten it started, I was ready to be done. But I’d asked for this.
So I started off across the yard. Only to realize it wasn’t cutting much of anything.
He dropped the blade – while I watched helplessly – and I was back in business. For awhile.
Because while I struggled to turn the thing around without tearing up sod, while I made zigzags across the yard trying to find my groove, he watched.
Give him credit – he was quiet. Or, at least, I couldn’t hear him over the roar of the mower.
But with every painful push (because let me tell you, “self-propelled” my jiggly in-need-of-exercise tuchas), I could feel his eyes on me.
Finally, I let go.
“I know. I know. I know!”
But as he leaned in to give me a few gentle pointers, I kept my eyes on my feet.
“You know,” I said, “I’ve never used a pushmower before. For my first time ever, this isn’t that bad, right?”
He looked at me, shocked. “You’ve NEVER used a pushmower? Never ever?”
There, I’d said it.
The country girl, from a lawnmower family, has lost all her street cred.
But at least I tried.