When we bought our big house on five acres in the country, we also bought a lot of lawn. The woods we own are at the back of our property, and from the perspective of wishing for less grass, the woods don't take up enough of the acreage. However, from the perspective of all the bugs that still manage to make their way up from the woods to the house, I don't wish the woods to be any closer. Any more bugs would really send me to the ledge. I see those creepy walking stick bugs on at least a weekly basis. I think I've heard they are "good" bugs as they eat the "bad" bugs. I have a hard time convincing myself there are any "good" bugs. Frankly, any bug that is as long as my foot and that I can see on the ground at basement level from the windows on the top level, is beyond creepy. But I digress.
As I was saying, we have a lot of grass. This could be a good thing. In the world of real estate I've heard terms such as a "usable yard." What we have is definitely "usable." We're currently discussing getting a set of soccer goals and putting in a sand volleyball pit. I thought maybe we could even put in a go-kart track and mini-golf course and charge admission. We joked about buying our own milk cow. Have you noticed the price of milk these days? A little livestock grazing would even eliminate some of the mowing. However I think I'd rather mow than deal with cow pies in the yard. After all, we only recently escaped the Wooly Mammoth poop piles.
So we did the only reasonable thing when we moved in, and we bought what you could refer to as a "big ass lawn mower." It was money well spent. Our closest neighbor has some sort of rinky dink lawn tractor. He spends an entire day out there. Literally. We see him out there at 10:00 am, and at 2:00 pm he's still at it. It's become a game to peek out the window and exclaim incredulously, "He's still out there!" A couple hours later we look again and then argue about whether or not he took a break during the past four hours or if it is really taking him that long to mow his field of a yard. We then make bets on how much longer it's going to take him.
I had never driven a "big ass lawn mower" before. I watched Husband speeding around the lawn one day, and it looked kinda fun, so one afternoon I convinced him to let me have a try. He struggled to mask a dubious and very afraid look (he's not real comfortable with how I drive a car, so this letting his wife drive the brand new "big ass lawn mower" thing really challenged him). Then, in a moment of resignation, he gave me a quick lesson on how to start the thing, how to adjust the throttle and engage the blade, how to go forward, and how to turn...well sort of on the turn thing. I hopped on the beast and revved her up. I jerked to the right, then to the left, then to the right, and went the length of about an acre and a half that way--the family mobile doesn't have this "zero turn" feature, so it felt a little touchy in my hands. I finally figured out how to go in a relatively straight line, but I hadn't figured out how to go straight at a moderately controlled paced. In spite of creating a very wobbly line at a very fast pace, I was feeling very macho--if women can feel that way. Husband stood at the sidelines with the wee ones watching me. Even with an acre of lawn between us, he looked nervous. I got all big in the head and on one of my passes I began making muscle man poses. The thing is, when you take your hand off one of the steering bars, it's like dropping one oar in the water. I managed to recover pretty quickly, and just in time to realize that Husband had not told me how to stop, and then I hit one of the puny trees in the front yard. It's not like I hit it head on though. I saw it coming, and I actually thought I was doing a find job mowing along one side of it, considering that I hadn't yet figured out how to slow down. And that's when I crashed into the thing with the grass chute. I forgot how far the shoot sticks out. I couldn't slow down, and I couldn't stop, but I was sure I was going to at least clear the thing. Later, Husband firmly reminded me that you are supposed to mow a nice neat ring around the tress on the side of the mower that doesn't support the grass chute. This, he reminded me, was one of the neat features of this whole "zero turn" concept.
That was actually several weeks ago. So far, the tree hasn't died as Husband expected it to. There was also no damage to the mower. I've been on the mower a couple times since, and I've discovered that I can go forward, diagonal, and backwards in a straight line. Heck, I could probably even go sideways in a straight line. I've learned that I can adjust and control how fast I go forward. I've learned how to back up, and I've even learned how to spin around in a hot shot "zero turn" move and mow neatly around the trees. In fact, I can now make muscle man poses without driving into trees. But every time I get on that "big ass lawn mower," I just can't stop the playing of scenes in my head from that old Pauly Shore movie, "Son in Law." The whole "Thank God I'm a Country Boy" tune plays in my head, and in spite of reminding myself that I spent the first 14 years of my life on the farm, I can't stop feeling city-girl awkward about living in the country.