I mowed our lawn last night. The first time in my life that I have ever mowed a lawn. (That's what happens when you grow up in Egghead Family: you've read the Odyssey, seen Renaissance paintings, and understand the Library of Congress cataloging system, but you don't know how to mow a lawn. Or check your car's oil, or repair a toilet, or any number of other things I've taught myself along the way to adulthood.) We had a pretty large yard growing up, but neither of my parents ever considered that they would mow it themselves. (Because they were Eggheads, and also because they had very specific ideas about how to demonstrate their middle-class status, which was important to both of them.)

When I left home, I lived in apartments, and happily never thought about outdoor plants. When my partner and I moved in together a few years ago, it was to a house, the first one I'd lived in for many years. According to the lease, the yard was to be kept up by someone else, so we didn't get a mower. When we wound up having to take care of it, we borrowed the neighbor's. Or, to be precise, my gf borrowed the neighbor's temperamental lawnmower.

I have a very strong fear of fire and explosions, so gasoline-powered lawnmowers have always made me nervous. (Not that I've ever seen one explode, but having all that gas around freaks me out.) So when we moved to our current house, and knew we'd be responsible ourselves for the lawn upkeep, I lobbied for us to get an electric-powered mower. (My gf, who usually does the lawn, ruled out the old-fashioned push-only style.) So we got a Black & Decker electric mower, which I already thought was great: much quieter than a gas mower, and no pollution. The simple engines that run gas mowers produce horrific amounts of waste. And now that I've actually tried it out I love it even more -- it's safe and simple enough for me to use without being afraid of explosions, maiming, or losing an eye to flying rocks. (Yup, I'm the Safety First! officer in our household.) You plug in the extension cord and there's a squeeze trigger you hold as you push the mower. Want to cut the engine off? just release the trigger. There's no way it can run off by itself or chew a hole in anything. It's awesome. We have a small city yard, so 200 ft of cord is plenty. If you had a lot more territory, the cord might be a pain to manage. But for a small-medium yard, it's no problem.

So I cut the grass and it was actually kind of fun. I like any task where you can so clearly see your progress as you go along.