Friday, April 22, 2005

The Push Mower

We are now the proud owners of an old-fashioned push mower.

I've wanted one for a long time, ever since I saw that my neighbor had one. It was quiet and didn't smell, and his kids could mow the lawn with it. Of course, we bought a gas mower. After a couple of years of paying a kid to mow the lawn while I tried desperately to get Vince to take up the responsibility, I started trying to mow it myself and found it impossible. Even if I could get enough time at the right time of the right day without having to carry babies around, I couldn't start the mower. My arms are just a couple inches too short to pull the starting cord. I could get it almost started, but if I wanted to start it I had to tie the lever on the handle and push it with my foot while I held the end of the cord. It was invariably a couple of weeks between happy accidents that allowed me to mow-- and by then the lawn was so thick that it would stall the mower, and I'd be right back to trying to start it again.

So last year when I saw a push mower on clearance for $25, I bought it. The box was open and the bolts were rattling around in it, so I figured it was missing a bit of hardware, but hardware is cheap. As it turned out, it was missing two bolts, neither of which was critical to the mower's operation and both of which were replaceable. And today we took it for a spin and mowed (most of) the lawn.

I've gotta tell you, this is not the mower you get if you want a golf course lawn. This is the mower you get if you don't like to go to the gym but want to lose weight anyway. You have to go over the lawn multiple times in different directions, because the grass will very cleverly lay down in the direction you happen to be cutting. It makes your lawn look like, well, Sonshine's head after one of my shearings haircuts. And it can be difficult to push if it's been more than two days after your last mowing, so you'll have to do it frequently. But it allows you to get in a two-mile walk while remaining within earshot of the sleeping baby's window-- and it won't wake the baby, either.

So if you aren't the type who measures every blade of grass to ensure uniform height, and if you are the type who has a little extra "something" to lose, cancel your gym membership and get a push mower. It's only a few months' membership fees, and you won't ever have to bring home a smelly can of gas again. Plus the kids will think it's really cool and you'll have all the neighborhood kids lining up to take turns mowing your lawn.