The day after we got the keys to the farmhouse, we bought a riding lawnmower with a 48″ deck. Buying that lawnmower somehow made me feel equipped, capable, and prepared for anything. Of the tedious and repetitive tasks on the homestead, mowing the grass is probably my favorite.
One evening after work I was finishing up on the lawn, just a few more passes to go, when I came up to the top of a narrow sloped section that I had recently cleared of blackberries. This corridor is bordered on the left by more blackberries, and on the right by a fence. In the middle is a 5-foot-wide path at a 45 degree slope that terminates 30 feet down in some more blackberries and a fence (that we intend to open up sometime to install an access gate to the middle pasture).
At the top of this hill there was some tall grass that needed to be cut. Feeling exceptionally confident on my 500 lb mower, I thought I’d just edge the machine forward a bit and knock out the tall grass at the top, then reverse my way off the slope. However, once the front wheels started down the slope, the rear wheels didn’t have the needed traction to reverse myself back up.
Josh was using the string trimmer nearby, and I didn’t want to bother him. I’d gotten the mower stuck in the ditch a few times already, and it was easy enough to pull out the drive pin and physically push or pull the mower out of the stuck spot.
“No problem,” I thought, “I’ve got this.”
Then I got off the mower, walked around to the back, and pulled out the drive pin, fully intending to PULL a 500 lb lawn mower uphill.
I think you can imagine what happened next. The mower did what any heavy thing on wheels would do, which is roll down the hill gaining speed, with me holding onto the back of the frame, heels dug in, dragging along behind it screaming “F$%&#!!!!!!” at the top of my lungs.
The mower came to rest at the bottom of the slope, angled into the fence. Miraculously, neither the fence nor the mower appeared to be badly damaged, but the only way to get the mower back out again was up.
Did I mention it weighs 500 lbs?
I swallowed my pride at this point and retrieved Josh, who scratched his head and wisely decided not to make any comments about why this had happened in the first place. After considering the situation, he headed to the barn and came back with some heavy chain and an ancient rusted come-along.
He rigged this up to the clothesline pole and slowly, inch-by-inch, used the come-along in combo with our own strong backs to winch and push the mower the 30 feet back uphill.
That evening ended with us both collapsed and sweaty on the recently cut grass, the mower back at the top of the hill and only a little bit bent. We laughed and shook our heads.
It’s true that I don’t always consider the consequences of my actions. I’m results-oriented, and sometimes thinking things through just takes too much time.
I’ve given you an example of when this backfires, but I promise I have a dozen examples of this decision-making style totally working out in our favor. We experience a lot of awesome things because I shout “Let’s do it!” before Josh even has a chance to react.
On Friday, Josh and I celebrated our 10-year wedding anniversary. In that time, we’ve learned that we work really well together (thankfully). We’re very different people who complement each other in just the right ways. I’m the instigator, the doer, the brute-force-is-the-best-answer person. Josh is thoughtful, he plans thoroughly, he takes the time to set up properly and get everything organized. Ultimately, it’s his careful planning and methodical process that gets our myriad of projects done, but few of them would even get started if I didn’t get the ball rolling.
We bought a property that has a lot of needs, and the house itself is not exempt from that list. The exterior paint is peeling, and the former owners helpfully did some scraping and priming, leaving us with a blotchy house that appears to have a leprosy. I am itching to get it painted and actually pay someone else to do it for once!
In preparation for this enormous splurge, we have a lot of prep work to do, including removing the rotten roof off of the back deck. With a little begging and pleading, I convinced Josh that this was the task we most needed to spend the weekend doing, and he gamely agreed. But I have no idea how to go about removing a roof without splintering the siding or breaking a window. Fortunately, I have Josh. I knew he would come up with a plan, and he did.
He methodically removed each rafter, cutting away at the support beams piece by piece, a very safe and methodical contrast to my preferred approach to demo: grab a sledge hammer and hope for the best. Using Josh’s method, nary a window nor bone was broken.
Without Josh, I’d have a hundred half-finished projects laying around, all stuff that I’d started and broke along the way or didn’t know how to finish. Without me, Josh would have a hundred projects that he’s still considering the best way to begin.
Seriously. We both scored big.