I am a magical thinker not a mechanical thinker and yet, I LOVE things that make my life better and easier. Lately power tools and lawn equipment.
Don’t laugh, but I’ve been cutting a large yard for two years with a push mower.
Okay, finished laughing?
Wanting to take my time back, but adamant about not polluting the air with a gas mower, I began stalking a self-propelling 80-volt electric mower online.
When it dropped to half-price for the Labor Day Sale, I drove to Lowes to get it. While there, I spotted a companion trimmer with an interchangeable battery and thought I might as well level-up my old trimmer too. Plus, having a spare battery for the mower was nothing to sneeze at. It was also deeply discounted.
The stars were aligned.
Although I’d compared models online, I still grilled two very patient Lowes employees. My questions (and anxiety) had to do with assembly, my least favorite part of home-improvement purchases. Dreading that, I took the long way home.
If there are two projects, I know most people start with the easy one. I’m opposite. Maybe I like a quicker win after a hard-won fight.
So, I emptied everything out of the mower box. Put the battery in the charger. Made myself a strong cup of tea. Read the manual front and back. Stalled. Found a YouTube video for the mower setup and operation. Made myself another cup of tea and carefully put the damn thing together step by step
By then the battery was charged, so I loaded it into the mower, adjusted the blade height and then just dropped to the porch staring at it with a mountain of overwhelm in the pit of my stomach. It was too big, for one and 80 volts? It scared me. Until I reeled through all of the times I’d pushed an old-school mower around a third of an acre, especially in summer heat. It’s kind of amazing that I’d done for two years, with neighbors and an odd passerby yelling out: “This is how you get your exercise, right?” or “I’ve got a gas mower I can sell you” or “You must be from the South.” Still don’t know what that last one means.
I rang my big brother for a pep talk. He was encouraging and gave me good advice. Take it slow. Put on your goggles and gloves. Closed toed shoes. It’s going to take you longer the first time. Take a break and have lunch. The yard’s not going anywhere. You got this.
This is the thing: I will not be defeated by an inanimate object. Sliding my goggles on and powering up the mower, I hit self-propel and was off running. Really. It took a minute to discover the right speed adjustment so I wasn’t sprinting.
After a few long passes, I called my brother again and complained that dust was flying in my face and hair. He ROFLed at me and told me to put on one of my face masks and then talked me through adjusting the mulch bag seal. I said some things about it being too much work to figure this all out and he chuckled again and told me that as far as he could tell I didn’t have any real problems. I laughed with him until directed to get back to work.
Two hours and five bags of mulch later, I was done and my yard looked great. I was even thinking maybe I could hire myself out for a side hustle, but who was I kidding? My own yard is a handful, although as with gardening, I have come to treasure the Zen of it.
The next morning, I did some yoga and found a YouTube video of a man teaching his 14-year old daughter to assemble and operate the exact trimmer I bought. Once it was ready, it made my old one look like a kid’s toy and I attacked the weeds at fence line.
All in all, these were the best level-ups of the year. I’ve used both the mower and trimmer multiple times now, shaving my time in half while keeping the environment clean and going easier on my body.