Mowing the summer lawn is a love/hate relationship

I have a love/hate relationship with my lawnmower.

I love mowing my yard, a corner lot, because it is good exercise. I always work up a sweat and after it is done and I have cooled down, it always feels good.

And I love when my yard looks pretty.

I am not possessed with having a perfect yard. My neighbors can agree with that. There are some houses in our neighborhood that have fantastic lawns. I don’t. One guy has a yard that looks like a putting green.

(By the way, my good friend Alan Stevicks has a company that does lawn maintenance and he can make your yard look like the back nine at Augusta. Call him at 918-600-5780 and he will take good care of you.)

Some of my neighbors, who are older than me, use a lawn service and they do a really good job.

We have some other neighbors in nearby duplexes that keep their lawns in poor-to-OK shape. I guess if I were renting, I wouldn’t invest too much time in manicuring a lawn that belonged to someone else. On the other hand, I think I would have enough pride to make sure I didn’t have the ugliest front yard on the block.

I used to have help mowing my lawn from my two sons, but they are grown and living in an apartment in Norman and a rental house near TU. Josiah, who lives near TU, did mow our lawn once in April when I was sick and I appreciated that.

When I was a boy, I made money mowing yards in my neighborhood near 5th Place and Sheridan Road (near McClure Park at 11th Street and Memorial Drive). I made between $2.50 to $3.50 for each yard, which was good money for a kid from a poor family who was too young to get a regular job.

For $2.50, I could go swimming at the McClure Pool, get a Pepsi at the gas station on Sheridan Road and buy a couple of hamburgers at Cortner’s Restaurant. And I could save a little to spend at the fair in the fall.

I never tried to talk someone into letting me mow their yard every week. I just walked through the neighborhood pushing my mower and knocked on the doors of houses with high grass in the front yard.

One summer, I hit a rock with the mower and blew the engine. I didn’t have the cash to buy another one, so I tried mowing with a hand mower that I found in our garage. That’s didn’t work too well.

Now, when it is hot and dry in August in Oklahoma, I hate mowing my yard. But I am too cheap to get someone else to do it.

I have some bald spots in the front and back, most under large shade trees. Every fall, I plant grass seed in those areas. The grass comes up and looks great in the spring and early summer, but by August it gets dry and dusty.

That’s when I despise mowing. I come back in the house soaked with sweat and covered with dirt.

Plus, when it is 100 degrees outside and the heat index is in triple digits, I only mow part of the yard at a time. I mow the front and side yards one day and then the back yard the next day. On the third day, I trim (every other week).

There are two reasons why I don’t hire someone in August. First, I’m cheap. Secondly, I still want the exercise. If I don’t have a chore like mowing the lawn to do in August, I will stay inside where it is air conditioned and sit in my Laz-E-Boy and watch TV.

When I mow and it is hot, I take great care to hydrate. I usually drink two bottles of water while I’m mowing. And if I feel winded, I will stop and rest a few minutes before I continue. And I usually try to mow shortly after sunrise or late in the day when the sun is close to setting.

I am a voracious water drinker – at least 100 ounces a day and I try to get in 120 ounces (almost a gallon) during the summer. It is really good for people to sweat. It opens up your pores and gets rids of toxins that can build up.

I am in my early sixties and one by one, my friends from college are retiring. I’m not ready to do that yet. But I have noticed that the retirees almost always hire someone to mow their yards. One friend has had some medical issues and his wife insists that he not subject himself to that heat and exertion. That’s a good idea.

On the other hand, I have seen guys in their eighties out mowing and trimming in the heat of summer.

Someday, Susan and I may downsize and move into a small house or duplex with a small yard. I will really enjoy that but on the other hand I will hate it.