Please Don’t Make Me Mow the Lawn

My lawn - after the lawn was mowedI wish my lawn would stay at its current height. It should just freeze and stay as is. It would be nature’s version of Mrs. Havisham.

You may be wondering why I want to overturn the rules of nature.

First off, let me say I do appreciate nature. I love to hike. I enjoy seeing the trees in bloom in the Spring and the colorful leaves of the Fall.

But I hate mowing the lawn.

Don’t think I’m lazy.

I’m really, really not. It’s just I hate mowing the lawn.

By the way, there are plenty of chores I don’t mind doing. I’ve told you multiple times of my odd affinity for food shopping.  I don’t mind making the bed. Washing the dishes is no big deal. Vacuuming lets me escape into my own thoughts.

Clearly, I’m domesticated.

Yet ever since I was a teen, I have not liked mowing the lawn. I blame the lawnmower. I know the saying a poor craftsman blames the tool. However, before you leave me with that title, listen to the facts.

Back then, the lawnmower and I were engaged in a perpetual battle.  I had to yank the cord multiple times before the lawnmower would turn on. Then while mowing, the lawnmower would go off. For no apparent reason!

Every time the lawnmower went off, I had to walk it to the pavement and go through the process of starting it once again.  Why did I walk it to the pavement? Well, the lawnmower would not start on the lawn. Can that be any more ironic?

I think the lawnmowers know how much I hated using them. And therefore, every lawnmower my family had over the years gave me this issue.

My permanently calloused hands remind me of these former battles.

Now that you know my history, you must be able to understand why I hate mowing the lawn.

But, wait there’s more (no, I don’t mean ginsu knives).

At the risk of sounding like a whiny kid with all this complaining, and I know there is nothing worse than sounding like a whiny kid except if you are a whining adult, I’ll go on.

Mowing the lawn is boring. I find it so boring that I rush through in order to finish as fast as possible.

In addition to that, our lawn has brown spots where lawn should be. When we first moved in, I tried planting seed. When it didn’t work the first year, I tried again the second year. When it didn’t work the second year, I grumbled and tried to forget about it.

So, I spend an hour of my time mowing the lawn, and in the end, it still doesn’t look particularly good. It’s like putting a suit on a pig. Nice suit but still a pig.

Not inspiring.

Here’s my wish: the lawn would just stay short. The height of the lawn could stay petrified like astroturf.

You know how when you see a young person who you haven’t seen in a while you’re always surprised at how much they’ve grown?  It’s as if you expect to see their height stay frozen in time.

My lawn could take the place of those young children. People could walk by my house and think, “Wow this lawn hasn’t changed a bit.” Wouldn’t that be comforting?

My brown patched lawn would provide stability. That is something I could be proud of.

P.S. What chores would you like to avoid?

Children, Say Hello to Ladybird

BIRDHOMEA couple years ago I wrote a post about our feathered guest. Well, after a one year hiatus, apparently Ladybird found love again.  
Yes, Ladybird has returned to the bush outside of our home and turned it into her maternity ward.
For 3 years straight, my family and I have been hosting an uninvited guest. This guest comes to our home and stays for weeks at a time. Not only that, this guest goes through a major life cycle event each visit.
Each spring the 7-foot bush that stands right next to our front door turns into a delivery ward as “Ladybird” (my children named her) builds her nest, lays her eggs, sits atop her eggs, hatches her babies, cares for her babies, and ultimately sends her babies away. The whole process seems to take about six weeks. This scene has served as an up-close Discovery Channel program for my family, and we love it.
With great excitement and anticipation, my children follow Ladybird and her flock (this year she laid three blue eggs). They peek their heads around to check out the progression of nature each time they pass the tree.
Clearly, Ladybird did not select our house for the peace and quiet. My wife takes pictures of each stage. I give out cigars when the babies are born to celebrate the blessed day.
Well, maybe not, but there is a palpable energy in our home when Ladybird’s chicks are hatched. This is the closest my wife and I will come to extending our family, and the closest my children have got to a pet.
I’m not sure how many more years Ladybird will be using our home as her nursery. This year Ladybird was later than usual. She also flew away anytime someone walked past her nest. This begs the question – where is her maternal instinct? Also, what about a father? Would it kill him to stop hunting for worms and check up on his family?
Well, I do not know much about birds and am not an animal person by nature. But Ladybird has become a part of my family experience, and taught us a bit about nature. We look forward to having her come back in the future, and the best part is we don’t have to prepare or clean up.
What a guest!

Morning-Shower Phobia

Arachnophobia, claustrophobia, xenophobia. There are phobias for just about everything. I, thankfully, suffer from none of them. Well I’m not big on heights and you don’t want to see me around ketchup and iced tea. But other than that, I am just short of normal.

I took a self-imposed break from blogging though I continued commenting on other people’s blogs. Anyway, the break from blogging coincided with my break at school. Movies, Chuck E. Cheese, a visit to mom, editing of my novella, a staycation with my wife only, and sleeping in till 8:00 (yes, that is a big thing in my house) were just some of the highlights from my break. Of course, I found some time for self-loathing and questioning of my direction. However, the best part was not setting the alarm and moving at a different pace.
On Tuesday night, I had my clothes out, lunch made, lesson plans prepared, etc. I had psyched myself up and was ready to return to work. Then, I made a terrible mistake. I checked The site said it would feel like 9 degrees at 6 a.m. That is the time at which I am standing on a street corner praying for the bus to come. My heart sank as my resolve froze. Uggh. I added a pair of long johns to my pile of clothes.
Wednesday morning came, and I got out of bed and headed to the bathroom for my shower. You see, there are two types of people in this world: “shower-before-bed” people and “shower-in-the-morning” people. I happen to be the latter. Thus my shower serves a dual purpose: a clean start and a wake-up call.
I looked at the shower and had reservations. Let me tell you about our shower, and you will understand. It takes a couple of minutes for the water to warm up. Once it does warm up, it can be scalding. Now, you may be thinking to yourself, why don’t you just balance the hot and cold knobs so the water will come out at a temperature you are happy with. Sounds logical. However, my shower is not logical. The knobs are inconsistent, so I never know where to turn them to in order to get a comfortable temperature.
As I have mentioned many times, I often lack patience. So, sometimes in my rush to warm up the water, I turn the hot up too far. It will be a comfortable temperature when I get in and suddenly the water will be scalding. Then, I will turn the hot water down and pump up the cold water and a minute later, the water is freezing.

I have little tolerance for extreme temperatures. So, I spend half the shower jumping away from the water. I jump so often in the shower that it could be a new kind of exercise. You have zumba, pilates, and shower dance (sounds like it should be way more erotic than it actually is). This drastic change in temperature makes washing my private parts an act of faith. So, one minute, I’m burnt like a beach bum and the next minute, I’m frozen ala Walt Disney.

Then, you have water pressure. Well, you may have water pressure, but my shower sure doesn’t. Give my two cups of water and an hour, and I can generate more pressure than my shower.

So now, I have made a change. I am no longer a daytime shower person. It is too scary in that shower on cold winter mornings. In fact, you could say that I have a fear or phobia of my shower. There’s got to be a name for morning-shower phobia.

Fishing with Lou

Calm waters, bonding time, thrill of the pull. Yeah, I have no interest in fishing. Seriously.
My Uncle Lou passed away when I was 10. Unfortunately, I only have vague memories of him. My uncle fought in World War II, marched in the Mummers Parade, and was a September call up for the Philadelphia A’s.
Uncle Lou was the type of uncle that would buy you ice cream even though you were about to go home and eat dinner. He was the uncle who would come to your baseball games. He was the uncle who would make every trip seem interesting.
And he was the fisherman of the family. My father could get sea sick during a long bath. So, if my brothers or I were to go fishing, it would be because Uncle Lou took us. However, the majority of the fishing trips were for my two oldest brothers. I was too young or at least that is what I was told.
One day my next older brother, NG (by two years) and I were playing with our new fishing rods that Uncle Lou bought for us. It was a particularly slow summer day. NG and I stood next to each other in front of our house. We were in competition as brothers always are. The goal was to see who could cast their line further. I don’t remember who won, but I do remember it made me want to go fishing.
Eventually, Uncle Lou decided that NG & I were old enough to go fishing. And I caught a fish. Well, sort of. I had a bite on my line and pulled it in under Uncle Lou’s tutelage. I was excited and dreamed of telling my older brothers about my big catch. So after a moment, the fish became visible – barely. The fish was no more than six ounces and three inches and bloodied from the fight with my line. The pathetic thing eventually fell off my line – becoming lunch for some other sea animal.
Shortly, thereafter Uncle Lou called it a day. The fish weren’t biting, and the weather was ominous. We stopped at a diner on the way home. Uncle Lou congratulated me on my near catch and told NG he would do better next time.
Unfortunately, there was no next time with Uncle Lou. He died rather suddenly leaving everyone sad. He was one of the good ones.
Anyway my next and last fishing trip was just an excuse to drink beer with a couple of friends. Oh well.

This was a semi-elaborate way of saying I am taking a break from blogging. You know like they say – I’m gone fishing. I don’t where that term comes from. I’m sure I cold Google it, and I just might eventually. Anyway, I won’t be posting for the next week to 10 days. I need a break. I just might pop on WordPress and make some comments, and I might not. The lack of commitment. I am a guy you know.
Lastly, I want to wish Happy Holidays to all of you who will be celebrating Christmas next week. May it be a wonderful, peaceful, and joyous holiday.