Geoff Folsom

Geoff Folsom

This week’s column is as exciting as watching grass grow.

The good news is that’s much more exciting than I used to think. I had no idea how quickly grass can grow until I became responsible for mowing it.

You see, we recently purchased a house for the first time. Since I moved out of my mom’s house, I’ve lived in rental properties, so there was no lawn to mow.

Usually, I lived in an apartment, but we rented a house when we moved to Missouri. However, the owners actually were nice enough to hire people to mow the yard for us.

Owning a home is great, but now we really have to do stuff for ourselves. We have a half-acre yard, which never really sounded very big.

But mowing a half acre is a different story, especially with a yard like ours, where the house is basically built into the side of a hill.

When we first moved in, we had a decision to make. Do we go the more expensive route and purchase a riding lawn mower for well over $1,000?

Or do we buy a push mower?

We (meaning I) ultimately decided to buy the push mower because I felt I needed to get some exercise. This was insane. In hindsight, I should have just gone way into debt to buy a riding lawn mower.

The nice thing about the mower I bought, which cost around $400, is it is self-propelled. The problem with this is I have to constantly hold a switch to make it self-propel, while at the same time holding down the bar that makes the mower go in the first place.

Being that I only have two hands, and I am trying to use them to push and maneuver the mower as well, this is a major pain.

Also, since grass grows primarily in warmer months, it’s usually hot and humid when I am mowing.

All this means I have to mow the lawn in short spurts. I start with the hilly part. I’ve always been a mow in a rectangle guy, mowing around and around until the grass is gone.

But with the hill in the back yard, I decided I need to start at the top and go down in rows. That requires making a 180-degree turn after every line, which is annoying but beats constantly having to walk back up the hill.

Usually, mowing the hill part is enough for one day. The next time I mow, I try to get the less hilly part of the back yard. Eventually, I work my way to the front yard.

Of course, all of this is contingent on not having rain. A major rainstorm can throw everything off and push the mowing schedule (which is just kind of in my head) back several days. That, obviously, means the grass will be even taller by the time I get to it — and tougher to mow.

My hope is to complete the front yard quickly enough, so I can take a few days off before I have to start again on the back yard. Well, I take a few days off from mowing even if the back yard needs immediate attention (truth be told, it can probably be more like a week or more before I start again).

Mowing with a push mower isn’t easy. But I don’t want to throw in the towel and get a riding mower. In addition to the cost, I’m a little worried about it tipping over in the hilly yard.

Some of our neighbors hire people to mow their yards. I need the exercise and to save money, so I don’t want to do this, either.

And even if using the push mower makes me look like it rained because of how sweaty I am, and my shoe inevitably gets some of the dogs’ mess on it, I earn a feeling of accomplishment. It’s a rare time I feel like a “real man.”

Even if the accomplishment grows over in a week.