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Me vs. the yard

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By Julie Nelson Satterly

I fought the yard. And the yard won.I even have a battle wound to prove it. A small 1 1/2-inch gash on the inside of my right arm tells the story of my inability to complete the simple task of mowing my lawn.You can begin making fun of me at any time. If you’re not now, you surely will be by the time you finish this column.It all started when I rented this lovely little house in Pewee Valley — thanks to my wonderful landlords Jeff and Jennifer Hignite — that I was bound and determined to make my home. I wasn’t a bit phased when Jeff told me upkeep of the yard would be my responsibility. I didn’t have a lawnmower, but I could get one. And though I had never actually mowed a lawn before, I’d watched as my father did it all those years and figured that had to count for something. I mean, come on. How hard could it really be?It wasn’t until winter began to pass and the grass began to grow that I started thinking about the logistics of this predicament I’d gotten myself in. Here I was, alone with a 2-year-old who loves lawnmowers and would jump at the chance to get his hands all up in one, especially if it was turned on. I could try to mow while he took his afternoon nap, or maybe hire a babysitter every time I need to mow. But that just seemed ridiculous.I could almost watch the grass grow as I totally over-thought how to handle my situation. In the meantime, everyone else in the neighborhood had mowed their yard at least once. My yard was beginning to look like the red-headed stepchild of the neighborhood.Jeff would be so disappointed.Just in the nick of time, though, News Editor Jackie Stoess Hack and her husband, Gregory, found a friend who would tackle the problem for me for a nominal fee. Hats off to Gary. He came to the house with a smile on his face and cut all my troubles to about an inch high.Still, I was bothered that there was this task that I couldn’t master. I’m an independent, perfectionist female who thinks she’s Superwoman at all the wrong times.This was definitely the wrong time.I took my supremacist attitude to Lowe’s with my father, determined to walk out of there with a contraption that would cut the grass better than it had ever been cut. And of course, because our country’s in an oil crisis and the retail stores are taking advantage, the ability to receive a $30 rebate for being green made me feel even more important.I was going to cut the grass and save the world. ALL AT ONCE.I would be lying if I said I was 100 percent confident with my purchase of a push-reel lawnmower as I drove home that afternoon. Yes, that’s what I said. It’s the kind of mower your grandpa used in 1929 during the Depression. No power, no gasoline — just you, a few blades and the clean air. Refreshing, huh?You’ll think refreshing when you’re trying to use that thing to cut the grass. Good Lord. I did it all of twice. I tried to come up with benefits for doing it — like that I’m bettering the environment, giving myself a workout, blah, blah, blah. No excuse could make this experience positive. Period.I knew the honeymoon period was over when my neighbor came outside during the last go-round to tell me she felt sorry for me. “You can borrow my lawnmower any time you want,” she said. I had to laugh at myself as she went inside. I was the poor girl at the end of the cul-de-sac who might as well have been hand-picking her grass to cut it.I wanted to quit right then and call Gary, but was determined to finish one last time, even if it had taken me two hours. And then? I was assaulted by the huge limb in the yard, leaving this really attractive mark on my arm.But hey. I’ve got a great story. A big welcome back to Gary — and another thank you to Gregory, for pinch-hitting this week. I am indebted to my lawn boys.Let them fight the yard. I’m over it.

E-mail us about this column at: editor@oldhamera.com.