Wednesday, March 11, 2015

From snow shovel to lawn mower: The transition looms

You're reading this on March 11th or later, but I'm writing it on February 2nd, which of course is Groundhog Day.

(NOTE: I've been cranking these blog posts out at a prodigious rate this winter. I like being ahead of the game. Way, way, way ahead of the game. It makes me feel better about the whole enterprise.)

As I type, there is something like a foot of snow on the ground here in the Cleveland area, which is guaranteed to happen at least once every winter but generally occurs two or three times. We don't get as much snow as, say, Syracuse does, but we do tend to get more than Minneapolis or Chicago.

Which is why mid-March is such an interesting time in our part of the country. Depending on how quickly spring feels like coming, I am often able to put away the snow removal equipment by this point in the year. But some years, our worst blizzards hold off until the latter part of March and even early April.

It's all seemingly random, and we Northeast Ohioans just kind of roll with it. We start complaining well in advance of Valentine's Day, of course, but we put up with it as long as we have to because we obviously don't have much choice.

By this time of year, I'm itching to break out my lawn mower. I don't really like shoveling snow (in part because it screws up my morning routine), but cutting the grass has never been something I've minded all that much.

We have a decent-sized yard. Not huge, but spacious enough on three-quarters of an acre. We inherited a riding mower when we first moved into the house, but I was never a huge fan of it and didn't mourn when it broke down.

Instead I use a push mower. One with a drive system so that I'm not forced to push the entire weight of the machine around, but still a push mower that cuts only a two-foot swath at a time.

It typically takes me just over an hour to cut our entire yard, and what I love about it is that the results are immediate. I get to the end and then look back over a nice little field of green, uniformly trimmed grass blades that conveys the message, "Hey, this guy actually does at least a little something to take care of his yard. You should admire him."

My wife makes fun of me when it comes to lawn moving, and deservedly so. I plan entire weekends around cutting the grass and when I'll be able to do it, influenced by such factors as the weather and what else is on our schedule. We'll be out someplace and I will, without irony, say the words, "I can't wait to get home and mow the lawn."

It's one of those man things that most husbands do because...just because, I guess. It's a job that falls to us and most of us do it willingly. Or at least we complain less about it than we do about other jobs.

But I'll continue to enjoy pushing my mower around until I can't do it anymore, which given Toro's ingenious Personal Pace Drive system will probably be at least another three decades.

And if I do hit the age of 75 and am still push-mowing, you can be darn sure I'll be wearing plaid shorts and black socks while I'm doing it.

Snow, go away. Bring on grass-cutting season!

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