The Lawnmower

Today in the mail I received the annual base housing letter which details a wide range of threats which become relevant during the summer months. Keep a lid on your garbage can, don’t let trash or animal waste accumulate on your property, don’t make it difficult for maintenance people to work on your house, etc. As I was skimming for anything relevant or different from years past, I re-read one specific rule: regular lawn mowing is required.

To be honest, I hadn’t expected to need to mow the lawn yet. It’s still what I consider to be a rather cold spring, and I assumed I could hold out further into May before that specific chore would nag at me. But, looking at my window, that is apparently not the case. In fact, rather than growing in with some sense of even-ness, the lawn of our PMQ is an incredibly patchy array of dead-ish patches, and patches which are ridiculously overgrown to the point of fostering abundant dandelions and hidden dog droppings. This, I think, actually serves to highlight the lengthening state of the grass, making my lawn look completely unmaintained. Being in the process of house-cleaning (and car cleaning, and garage cleaning) in preparation for my honey’s HLTA (similar to R&R for you American folks), I decided logically that today would be lawn mowing day. It was beautiful outside. The grass was dry. I had received detailed instructions from T (the resident lawnmower when she isn’t off being bad ass and incredibly sexy in Afghanistan) on how to use our unfortunately old and damaged mower. I was ready for this.

You see, I wasn’t just going to mow the lawn. I was going to further the independence I have been carefully honing during this deployment. I fix things, I plant things, I cook things, and now…I was going to mow things. So after removing the mower from the garage and rolling it proudly to the driveway, I followed her careful instructions: check the gas and oil (CHECK), prime using the rubber priming button (CHECK), grasp both handles to the main push-bar of the mower (CHECK), and pull back the cord vigorously. This is where, apparently, my inner powerful butch lesbian wimped out. I cannot for the life of me pull hard enough, or fast enough (or some combination of the two) to turn over the mower motor. I cursed, I broke into a sweat, I returned to my wife for skype directions to ensure I was trying correctly. But no, I will not be mowing the lawn. In fact, with my tail between my legs I have to either pay a neighbourhood child (who apparently surpasses me in arm strength), or request my love to do it on her BREAK from deployment. Imagine.

I realize this isn’t a big deal, or a shameful one. No one can do it all, and I have never touted my athleticism or brute strength. In fact, before this point I had not mowed a lawn since roughly twelve years ago when my father decided my inability to see the patches I had missed meant I was banned from that chore. The thing is, the lawn mower became a metaphor. I spent the afternoon becoming a weepy stereotype, feeling incapable and alone and completely overwhelmed. I am tired of carrying all the chores, and paying all of the bills, and walking the dog, and cooking all of my sad one-person meals. I am tired of learning to do new things, independently, and I am tired of sleeping alone at the end of the day. I know these are small potatoes, I do. But sometimes I think everyone has to cry and stomp their feet because just like mom always said (and still says, and will say when she reads this post) “well, LIFE isn’t fair”.

Today life isn’t fair, the lawnmower won, and I really miss my handier, stronger, yardwork-loving wife.