Mowing to the Music

mowed lawn

My unique mowing patterns in the back yard. =)

It’s no secret that my yard isn’t the most perfect yard in the neighborhood, but I do the best I can on my own and with balancing everything else I have to do. Many of my neighbors mow every few days and more power to them if that’s what makes them happy. However, with my busy schedule and lack of enthusiasm for mowing, I usually only mow every two weeks. Interestingly enough, when I’m done mowing, my grass looks the same as my neighbors who mow more often than I do. Well, almost the same…

You see, every time I finish mowing my lawn, it looks a little different than the time before. I hadn’t mowed any yard until I bought my current house in the summer of 2011 and my first time mowing was a learning experience. I’ve gotten better at mowing over the years and it only takes me around an hour a half compared to the two plus hours it used to take me. I’m certainly not about having neat rows and the perfect looking lawn, I usually just want to get the work done and get on with more enjoyable or productive endeavors. Sometimes I miss spots and have to go back and I have trees to go around and sometimes I take turns too sharp and have to double back.

To make mowing go faster and have some degree of enjoyment, I always listen to music while I’m mowing. I put my earbuds in and then put my ear protection ear muffs on because I know earbuds are not sufficient for protecting my hearing from the loudness of the mower. I plug my earbuds into my phone and put on my latest “mowing mix” of up tempo dance type music and get to mowing.

My mind tends to wander while I’m mowing. Heck, my mind wanders pretty much all the time and always has. When I’m mowing I think about all sorts of things. I figure out story lines in my latest book, think about future blog posts, mentally go through my to do list, or dream up scenarios that will probably never come true. I pay enough attention to what I’m doing to dodge beneath low tree limbs and stop for crossing butterflies, but otherwise my mind is usually worlds away from my 1.4 acres of land in Upstate New York.

Well, this last time I mowed, my mind apparently wandered so far and I got so lost in the music, that I mowed on a peculiar automatic pilot. I thought I’d done my usual mowing job, but when I looked out into my back yard the next morning, I saw some rather odd patterns. I imagine I must’ve gone back over missed spots and around trees more carefully, but I think a lot of it was just because I was so uplifted by my music and my thoughts that I just went with the flow. The weather wasn’t too hot for the first time in many months and it was the Friday before I got my girls, so I had plenty to be happy about.

Whatever the reason for my peculiar and puzzling patterns, I still managed to get my lawn mowed and I don’t have to worry about it for another two weeks hopefully. While my lawn may not be perfect or up to the standards of some and it certainly doesn’t have straight lines, the point is that it’s my lawn and I can do whatever I want with it. It’s very empowering owning my own land and being able to do as I please on it without being told I’m doing it wrong or that it needs to meet certain standards. Sometimes it can be a bit challenging living in the middle of rural nowhere, but most of the time, it’s exactly what I need.

So I say, what the heck, mow to the music, dance along to the beats while riding your tractor. Sing along if you want to. Anything that can transform an unpleasant chore into a bit of fun and adventure is more than okay in my book. And if people think you’re crazy, well…welcome to the club. 😉

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Invisigirl and the Yard Stick of Tallness!

I feel as small as this lizard in big box stores sometimes.

I feel as small as this lizard in big box stores sometimes.

I’m a single mother and I own my own home, which means that aside from advice, tips and suggestions from friends and the internet, it’s up to me to maintain and fix my house. Homes don’t come with an owner’s manual and my father never sat me down and taught me this stuff so there’s been a lot of learning on the job for me since I bought my own home in August of 2011.

One thing I realized pretty quick is that I have a superpower when I walk into big box home improvement stores: I become invisible. When I used to go to stores like Home Depot or Lowe’s with my now ex-husband, we’d immediately receive attention as the customer service employees asked the man with me if he needed any help. I suppose even then I was invisible, but I didn’t realize it. Now that I’m single, I’m usually ignored for a good portion of my time in home improvement stores. Eventually someone asks me if I need help but by then I’ve usually found what I needed because I’ve learned not to expect someone to be there to answer questions.

I gave myself the name Invisigirl because there have been many times in my life when I’ve seemed so invisible in the midst of other people that I’ve almost had entire trays of food dropped on me while walking through a restaurant because the server didn’t see me. Admittedly, I’m not overly tall, but I don’t think 5′ 5″ is too short to see either. My height is however, too short to reach certain items and I often have to improvise to reach what I want.

Such was the case in Home Depot this past Wednesday when I was in need of the sanding pads for the random orbit sander I already had in my cart. There was an entire wall of sanding pads and the packages contained from 5-20 pads. As I’d never used a sander before and was going to use it to sand my deck prior to priming, I had no idea how many I’d need so I didn’t want to get a huge package. Unfortunately, Home Depot’s clever marketing layout involves placing the packages with 5 pads on the highest rack where I couldn’t reach them even on my tiptoes.

After a few minutes of struggling to reach the top packages or knock one down with another package I was holding, I decided I was going to buy the package of 5 even if I discovered later I’d needed the easier to reach 20 disc package. I’m stubborn and determined and I refuse to let a store bully me into buying the bigger, more expensive package just because I can’t reach the size I need. Yes, I could have asked for help, but as there were two clerks standing nearby chatting and neither of them had offered to help, I was dead set on getting the sanding discs without help.

To that end, I walked around the center island of table saws, drills and other power tools and across the aisle to where the levels and yard sticks were hanging up. I grabbed a metal yard stick, strode back across the aisle, reached the yard stick up and easily moved the sanding disc package forward and off its hanger. I did that for both grit sizes I needed and then set the yard stick down on the shelf just in case any other short girls or guys needed the magical yard stick of tallness to reach that top row.

Quite satisfied with my problem solving skills, I then headed to the deck stain aisle in search of an oil-based stain for my deck that was desperately in need of some TLC. Stains and paints took up an entire aisle and trying to figure out if any of them were oil-based proved frustrating, especially since no one walking by asked if I needed help. Deciding I’d get my stain somewhere where I wasn’t Invisigirl, I went to the checkout, paid for my items and left Home Depot.

I stopped at Sherwin Williams on the way home and as they’re a smaller store that specializes in paint and stain, I was helped as soon as I walked in the door. The friendly clerk showed me where the oil-based, semi-transparent deck stains were, helped me pick a color that closely matched the current color of my deck and then went in the back to mix it up. There are times when I don’t mind being Invisigirl, but getting what I needed to repair my deck, wasn’t one of those times.

I left the store with a gallon of stain to get me started and the reassurances that I’m not actually invisible. I knew I was set to start the deck project the next day, but that’s an adventure I’ll leave for another time…

Queen of the King Size Bed

When I first moved out of my ex’s house and into an apartment I bought myself a king-sized memory foam mattress and frame. I’d never owned a bed that big so it was a treat for me; a little splurge to symbolize my new sense of power and strength. I initially believed that I’d someday have a man to share that bed with me so I slept on one side. Within a few months I was sleeping in the middle and loving every minute of it. Moving it into my house that summer was quite a wrestling match but I managed and it happily takes up most of my bedroom.

It bothers me that my mattress is called “king size” when I am the ruler of my space and it has become my Queendom. I suppose I could say I’m a female king but no, I am a Queen. I am a Queen of my own destiny, my own choices, my own happiness. I don’t require a man to help me rule over my realm and while not all women believe it, it’s possible to breathe and live without a man around 24/7. Am I a cold, unfeeling Queen who has given up on love? An Ice Queen? Far from it! I am a Fire Queen who believes strongly in the passion and power of love. I love fierce, deep, hot and with tenacity.

I do share my bed quite often…with my daughters. They love to play on my bed and we watch TV in my room together. My girls play games involving falling down (very safely) in dramatic poses and tickle each other and cause a ruckus. During such times I usually lay or sit on the edge of the bed, safe from sharp knees and elbows. Those moments are when I realize why I truly bought such a big bed. To share it with the ones I love.

Last night a rather large swath of thunderstorms crossed through the state. My oldest had fallen asleep an hour previous but my youngest was still awake because she’d needed a snack and is something of a night owl. When the lightning started flashing and the thunder rumbled I could see she was scared so I asked her if she wanted to sleep in my bed. Of course she did! In my bed she climbed and we snuggled together while she watched me play a few games on my Android phone. She kept asking me to check the radar map on my weather app so we’d pull up the image and see the big splotch of red and orange slowly moving eastward. Some of the rumbles were so strong they shook things hanging on my walls but I assured my daughter that we were safe and eventually she was sound asleep next to me. My sleep was very content last night.

That bed is my sanctuary, it’s where I go at the end of the day to relax and escape into dreams. Could I get by with a smaller bed? Sure and then I’d probably be able to walk around it on all sides. But a smaller bed isn’t me because a smaller life isn’t me. I live big and I love with all my heart. There is no other way to be for me.