Lawnmowerpalooza 2014

I’d insisted that I’d never write this blog post. I swore it to the point where it became an inside joke, but alas, it has come to pass… I’m writing about a lawnmower, and it’s Callaghan’s fault. He wins.

You see, ever since we moved into this house at the end of August, Callaghan and I have been debating what to do about our front and back lawns. Once we decided to keep the grass, we had to shift our focus to the issue of obtaining a lawnmower, and the never-ending lawnmower discussion ensued. New or used? Off the shelf or online? Online retailer or Craigslist or eBay or Amazon? Manual, thermal engine or electric motor? If electric, corded or cordless?


We’ve talked about lawnmowers more in the last month than I’d ever thought about lawnmowers in my entire life, so when the discussion finally ended and Callaghan suggested, “Why don’t you write a blog post about the lawnmower?” I could only hem and haw a little, like, “Um… yeeeah, maybe I could write about the lawnmower,” then conclude with a confession, “No… no. I really have nothing to say about the lawnmower.” I didn’t want to hurt his feelings or rain on his lawnmower parade, but honestly, he might as well have suggested that I write about a feline rectal thermometer. That would be another thing you’d purchase only because you absolutely need it, and you need it in order to perform a particular task, and that task is unpleasant. Yard work of any kind is my Number One most loathed house-related chore. I blame the Army for this. If I didn’t rake so many billions of leaves during peacetime in Germany, I might be more tolerant now. Anyway.

The end of the discussion was uneventful. Callaghan picked me up for lunch one day last week and announced, “Our lawnmower will arrive on the 30th!” There was no prelude, and a prelude wasn’t necessary, since the lawnmower conversation had been an ongoing thing for weeks. He forged ahead with the technical details.

“It has a Briggs and Stratton engine,” he said with a slight shade of resignation in his voice, “But it was the best lawnmower for the best price I could find.”

I knew he’d been hoping for a good deal on a lawnmower with a Honda engine. Lengthy debates with his Dad and many hours of online research had led him to the conclusion that a Honda engine was the way to go, and this was the part that turned the whole lawnmower thing into a valuable learning experience for me. The world of Honda had suddenly expanded to the realm of lawnmowers. Callaghan’s Dad proclaimed that the Briggs and Stratton lawnmower engines are the absolute worst, and he cautioned him against buying one.

But Callaghan arrived at his educated decision to get a lawnmower that happened to be powered by Briggs and Stratton, and then he ordered it and eagerly tracked the progress of the lawnmower’s shipping progress. On Friday, he reported that the lawnmower had arrived.

“It’s here! We got it!” Unmitigated glee. I was happy for him.

“You mean it’s here at the house?”

“No, it’s here in Phoenix. But it says that they won’t deliver it until Monday. I’m calling them to ask if we can pick it up.”

On the phone, he learned that the lawnmower was stashed somewhere in the back of a semi, so it would be impossible to get it before Monday. We ended up cancelling the yard sale we’d been planning for Sunday. The front lawn was a jungle and not at all fit for a yard sale. Plus, an aggressive storm system was moving in quickly, and we didn’t know how long that would last. (It turned out to be a good thing that we cancelled, too, because the sprinklers came on automatically at 8:00am on Sunday morning. That would have been an unfortunate occurrence during a yard sale, slap-stick comic relief notwithstanding. We’re still figuring out the sprinkler system.)

Finally, Monday arrived. “Today, we’re getting our lawnmower!” Callaghan sang as we got ready for breakfast. This was yesterday. And indeed, the lawnmower made it to our doorstep in the middle of the afternoon. It was like UPS had delivered the Holy Grail.

Callaghan texted me:


A little while later, he messaged me a picture:


By the way, could someone explain why lawnmowers are often red? No, on second thought, don’t tell me. I don’t want to know.

“You should totally write a blog post about this lawnmower,” Callaghan said, later, for the nth time.

“No,” I said, also for the nth time.

“Genesis thought it was a worthy subject!”

It took me a second.

“Genesis? As in, Phil Collins?” I thought he was joking.

“YES! He says, ‘Me, I’m a lawnmower.’”

“No way! Hahaha!!”

But he seemed to be serious. Later, my curiosity drove me into the bowels of the interwebs, where some things should stay deeply, deeply buried, like these lyrics from the old Genesis song “I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)” (first of all, WTF @ that title?!):

When the sun beats down and I lie on the bench,

I can always hear them talk.

Me, I’m just a lawnmower – you can tell me by the way I walk.

I am so not making this up:



I just can’t… I’m sorry, Genesis lawnmower song fans. I just don’t think this lawnmower thing works. And I apologize to the rest of you, too. What has been seen cannot be unseen, I know.

You know what does work perfectly, though? Take the Judas Priest song “Breaking the Law” and replace the lyrics “breaking the law” with “mowing the lawn.” There are some parodies already floating around out there – more than one person thought of it before I did – but seriously, it’s not even necessary to re-write the whole song! You can just replace those three little words and leave the rest of the song exactly the same. It’s brilliant:

There I was completely wasting, out of work and down

All inside it’s so frustrating as I drift from town to town

Feel as though nobody cares if I live or die

So I might as well begin to put some action in my life


Mowing the lawn, mowing the lawn!

Mowing the lawn, mowing the lawn!

Mowing the lawn, mowing the lawn!

Mowing the lawn, mowing the lawn!


So much for the golden future, I can’t even start

I’ve had every promise broken, there’s anger in my heart

You don’t know what it’s like, you don’t have a clue

If you did you’d find yourselves doing the same thing too


Mowing the lawn, mowing the lawn!

Mowing the lawn, mowing the lawn!

Mowing the lawn, mowing the lawn!

Mowing the lawn, mowing the lawn!


You don’t know what it’s like


Mowing the lawn, mowing the lawn

Mowing the lawn, mowing the lawn

Mowing the lawn, mowing the lawn

Mowing the lawn, mowing the lawn


If you’re not familiar with this song, you can listen to it here:



Can’t you just hear him chanting, mowing the lawn, mowing the lawn?

Anyway, I should totally play this for Callaghan while he’s out mowing the lawn for the first time. We’re both Judas Priest/Rob Halford fans, so it’ll work on several levels. For now, though, I’m lawnmowered out.

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