My wife asked me the other day why I insisted on mowing the lawn. I am fortunate that she is not one of those women that has a “honey do” list always at the ready. A long time ago it was established that I am not nearly as handy around the house as my dad or her dad are.
There was one night, just after we were married, before kids, we were living in Newport Beach, CA right on the water. Our apartment was right above Balboa Island on one of the cliffs. It sounds very romantic, but the apartment was only about 1,000’ square feet and we didn’t have many belongings. We were in the process of crate training our first dog, Bear, a chocolate lab that I gave my wife as a present when we first got married. He was spending his fourth night in the crate getting used to the idea of it being his safe place in the house.
The apartment wasn’t much, but we were making a go of it. I had just gotten a nice bonus from sales at the resort I was working and we splurged on a couple of decorations for the house. We went big time and went to Target to buy a pleather (faux leather) arm chair and my favorite new wall decor, an overside clock, that had just become the trendy must have addition to our modern apartment.
As soon as we got home we went about re-arranging the living room area to make the chair fit. After the perfect place was found, I went to work hanging the clock. Not that either job was particularly difficult, but the clock had a glass face and was about two-feet in diameter. It might have weighed four pounds. That said, there was just one little screw hole in the back to hang it off the wall. I found a great place to put it up, right between the sliding door to the terrace and the window overlooking Balboa Island.
Once it was hung, we watched some tv about different law enforcement operations. You have watched them too I am sure, the First 48, Drugs, Inc, and a couple of others. I don’t know why, but they all seamed to be focused on Southern California that night. I didn’t think anything of it because we lived in a pretty secure little community with security and such. Regardless, that night we went to bed a bit early because we were tired from the shopping activities from the day.
At 2am we were shocked out of bed by the largest bang you have ever heard coming from the living room. I sleep through just about everything, but even this scared me awake! My wife insisted that someone was in the house. Not knowing what I would find, I said I wasn’t going. It sounds terrible, but I was not moving. I told her that I was waiting for the next sound before I left our bed. In my mind, I knew where my baseball bat was and some other blunt utensils that was not intended for personal safety. My wife was pissed, but we didn’t hear anything else. There was no other sound. Whatever it was had moved on.
Out of spite, she got out of bed to investigate and immediately started yelling at me. At that time, we slept with the door open and the minute she turned the light on in the hall, she was screaming.
At first I didn’t know what she was yelling about. If there was indeed someone or something that was there or what. She is from Colombia, so English is her second language. At this stage of our marriage, when she was mad it at me, the verbal onslaught was a combination of English and Spanish. This instance was just high pitched commotion.
As I got out of bed to her yelling at me, and being that it was 2am, I was still not totally understanding what the commotion was in regard to. When I finally made it to the living room the trendy, overside clock from Target had fallen three feet and landed squarely on the oversized metal dog crate that was positioned just so underneath it. There was glass everywhere. Bear, our chocolate lab puppy, was shaken up because this was supposed to be his safe place. In the meantime, my wife just kept yelling about how terrible I was at doing common jobs around the house.
I went back to bed.
Today, this is just one of the several examples of why I am not asked to do a lot around the house. So when the lawn needs to get mowed I actually do it as often as possible. We just bought a house and there are two acres cleared that need to be kept up. I only have an old push mower that my dad has rebuilt a number of times, so I get to feel handy and also, I get to think.
You see, that old red push mower is so loud that the only thing you can hear are your thoughts.
It takes me about 90 minutes to mow the lawn and it is some of the best time I have to myself because I get to just think. A lot of times I think about the family or what I would like to do with the yard. Maybe a swimming pool or a new walk way. However, more recently, that time is spent strategizing on what to do next in our business or for our clients’ business. My time spent mowing the lawn is where I get some of my most creative ideas from.
I wouldn’t say its meditating, but there are no outside distractions. I can’t be on my phone or take calls, I can’t really listen to music an audio book or a podcast, and no one else is going to walk with me back and forth across the lawn. Even though I am doing something productive for our house, I am able to really get my thoughts together and make sense of the craziness that is often going on around me.
A lot of people and especially colleagues, have a service that manages their lawn care because “time is money.” I couldn’t agree more with that mantra, but it would have to take a lot of money for me to consider giving up my once a week chore around the house! That hour-and-a-half I get to spend in the sun is some of the best time money can’t buy.
Do you have an unexpected activity that gets your creative juices flowing? I would love to hear about it and have you share in the comments!