How NOT to Mow the Lawn

For the first seven years of our marriage, mowing the lawn was strictly Ry's thing. Sort of an "anything inside the house is my responsibility, anything outside the house is yours" arrangement. Then one day, I noticed that the lawn was really long because Ry was out of town. And I realized that he would come home and need to mow it. So I did what any good wife would do – I mowed it.

Now, before you think I'm getting all up on my high horse and bragging about what an awesome wife I am, let me explain. I mowed the lawn so my husband would not have to mow it when he got home. But also so that when he got home I could throw the kids in his general direction and say, "oh they missed you so much they just want to play with you. Exclusively you. For at least an hour. While I lock myself in my room with a book and a glass of wine."

Ry was so relieved not to have to mow the lawn, I don't even know if he questioned why I did it. So the next time the lawn needed to be mowed, I just did it. Because here's the other thing I learned – if you volunteer to mow the lawn, you get at least an hour a) outside, b) listening to whatever you want, c) without responsibility of watching children and d) with a cool adult beverage either during or immediately upon completion. I wish the lawn would grow faster.

Except for this one thing. It turns out I know nothing about maintaining the lawn mower. So, I present to you, my tips for what NOT to do when mowing the lawn: 

  1. If you can't figure out why the mower won't restart, do not keep pulling the cord "one more time." You will get a bruise on your hand.
  2. If you decide that it needs oil, don't just keep adding more oil to the oil tank. I think you're supposed to measure it or something. 
  3. Also, if you decide that it needs oil, make sure the mixture you are adding to the oil tank is, in fact, oil. 
  4. If you call your husband from outside the house for help because the mower is smoking and he doesn't answer because he is nappng, don't continue to try to fix it on your own.
  5. If Google tells you to siphon the mystery liquid out of the oil tank, do not try to fashion an implement for this purpose yourself out of a bulb syringe and a drinking straw held together with electrical tape. 
  6. When you go to the hardware store to get materials to fix your mower, do not pretend you know what you are doing. It will save time for both you and the hardware store guy, because he will immediately direct you to a small engine repair shop instead of trying to tell you how to fix it yourself. 
  7. Do not try to fit your lawn mower in the back of your SUV while your children are still in their car seats to bring it to aforementioned repair shop. There is not enough room in a Kia Sorento for children and a lawn mower. Shocking, I know.
  8. Do not ignore the "flash flood warning" alert that the National Weather Service sends to your phone as you are leaving the house. They mean it. No one at the small engine repair shop needs to know what color bra you have on under your tank top, but they will after it pours buckets on your head as you unload the mower and walk it inside. The good news is that the initial $50 quote will somehow end up just being $17 for some reason.

So now, I find myself at a crossroads. Am I the kind of wife who will persevere through this little setback, or will this forever be known as the summer I flirted with being the kind of wife who mows the lawn? Maybe I'm crazy, or maybe the fumes from all that attempted siphoning have gone to my head, but as soon as this rain passes, I think I'm going to finish mowing the lawn. Hopefully Ry will get me a beer. 

Update: One more thing – do not, I repeat, DO NOT forget to take the lawn mower out of the car after it visits the repair shop unless you want your car to smell like eau de gasoline. Will this lesson NEVER END?!


  1. Just found you on SITS and had to stop by when I read the title of this post. I LOVED this. Sounds exactly like something I would do. I'm always willing to try something new. Sometimes it goes good and other times, well, there are lessons learned. Glad this worked out for you with only $17 out of pocket. 🙂

  2. You know, I got my first emergency alert on my phone today of all days! Flash flood warning. Too bad I live on a mountain so it didn't impact my house, but had I wanted to go downtown..maybe a problem.

    My husband tore his shoulder two months ago and I nearly had to mow the lawn. Eventually after it got very long, he wound up doing it one-armed.

    Tip #9. Don't do it one-armed.

    • Oh my goodness Tamara, I actually laughed out loud. I cannot logisitically figure out how one would start a lawn mower one-armed. Kudos to your husband!

  3. I love mowing the grass for exactly the reasons you have listed here.  Plus my husband's work schedule is so strange that he isn't often home to mow the grass at appropriate grass-mowing times.  I can add gas and oil, and even clean and change the air filter.  Beyond that though, it's up to him!

  4. Hahaha found you on SITS and it was a good thing I did, you just made my day! Too funny! I'll definitely have to remember these tips if I ever decide to mow the lawn. I've never volunteered and don't think I will after reading this. 🙂

  5. If mowing the lawn is what I need to do to get an hour of time to myself, sign me up. I enjoyed reading this and totally got visuals of you struggling with the lawnmower. Hilarious and educational!

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