When I was a single woman homeowner, I was fairly capable. I could open jars, kill bugs, take out the garbage, mow the lawn. Now that I am married, I am slightly ashamed to say that I’ve abandoned most of the above and slipped effortlessly into Traditional Gender Roles where all of those things are concerned. However, I am not ashamed enough to actually volunteer to re-take any of those ongoing tasks again. (And my husband does do the vacuuming as well, and wherever cleaning is concerned I do most of the de-cluttering and the ongoing-keep-the-place-from-being-a-total-pit stuff, whereas he’s much better at the “scrub it within an inch of its life” jobs.)
This post is specifically about the lawn-mowing stuff. He, being a Guy and a Techno-geek, hated my old reel lawnmower because it was so much work to mow the lawn with it. He wanted to buy something easier. And a gym membership. I was like, honey, wouldn’t it make more sense to save the money and get your exercise mowing the lawn? (My credibility in the above was aided by the fact that I’d done exactly that for 2 years before marrying him, but strained by the reality that I don’t any more.)
When we moved to our new home, with our nice big lawn, he kind of put his foot down. Okay, not really–he passive-aggressively allowed the reel mower to fall into incredible disrepair until it didn’t work any more, and then he insisted we get a new one. (He’s a good guy, really. I’m just annoyed.) Where I put my foot down was that I didn’t want us to get a gas mower. He agreed. And neither of us thought an electric with a cord was a good idea. So he (being Guy and Techno-geek) researched cordless electrics until he found the one he wanted.
This is the kind of lawn mower I got when I bought my first house 10 years ago:
Under a hundred bucks, totally human-powered, probably indefinitely maintainable if one maintains it. Also a hell of a lot of work, and if you let the grass get even a centimeter too long, it no longer is effective and the grass just laughs at it.
In looking around, it seems like (in our new World Of Green Hopes) some folks are actually making good reel mowers, which is nice to hear. But this one was perfect for my little Chicago postage stamp yard. Not so perfect for what we have now.
This is what my husband just bought:
Over $400. Ouch. But I will say it does a really good job, and I can appreciate what Al says is his primary motivation (whether it’s really primary or not is arguable, but it’s certainly valid) is that he can’t stand having maybe an hour or two to spend outside playing with the kids and having to spend all of it mowing the lawn and never getting to play with his kids. And today he came home from church and did both front and back yards in a little over an hour. (And this is without trimming and stuff.) Plus it bags the grass so that we now have this nice easy way to get nice organic grass mulch for our veggie garden.
So despite my inner need to grump about it, I concede that this was probably a good and fairly green purchase. (He let me buy a new fridge…I shouldn’t complain about his new lawn mower.) (Hmm….my fridge…his mower…there are the traditional gender roles again…)