Western North Carolina Woman

one less egg to fry, one more lawn to mow
by robin harris

“D-I-V-O-R-C-E,” sang Tammy Wynette in her twangy, sorrowful way that could make even Mr. Spock shed a few human tears. (Well, half the tears would be human. The other half, Vulcan.)

After 21 years of marriage skidded to a halt, I found myself the sole upkeeper of house, home, cat, and yard. And what a H-A-S-S-L-E. At least in the beginning.

It was news to me that, despite all the passionate feminist bones in my body, I apparently was not an egalitarian on the home-front. Somehow, for two decades, my ex-husband had performed all the “manly” chores, and I, being the delicate, Southern flower that I am, nary a one.

The tragic truth was: I WAS 50 YEARS OLD AND I HAD NEVER MOWED THE GRASS! There, I said it. Whew! That felt good. Like confessing to murder.
One day I was looking out the living room window at my front yard, lush with all varieties of waist-high weeds and grasses. I really need to mow the lawn, I thought.

Wait! Me? Mow the lawn? I’d rather be krazy-glued to a front-row seat and forced to watch back-to-back shows of “Disney on Ice.”
And I, a professional counselor, who was always encouraging my female clients to be proactive and empowered.

I decided: I was mowing the damn yard. So I bought a small, non-motorized reel mower to do the job. Now, that IS a baby step.

Perhaps, eventually, I’ll graduate up to one of those loud, deafening, scary, rock-hurling weapons of grass destruction that would just as soon chop my feet off as turn my lawn into velvety carpet.

So, how does one go about mowing the lawn? I had heard that preparation was everything. I put on a nice T-shirt, comfortable shorts, thick cotton socks with my cross-trainers. Donned my leather garden gloves and wide-brimmed visor. Stuffed my watch and some kleenex in my shorts’ pocket. All right...I was ready.

Standing on the front porch, I perused the yard. Confusion overwhelmed me. How exactly do I mow?

Do I mow in horizontal rows across the yard? Do I mow vertically up and down? Do I mow in a circle, around the perimeter first then work my way to the center? If so, do I mow clockwise or counterclockwise? Help! What should my mowing strategy be?

I ended up using, shall we say, an eclectic approach. Mowing up, down, right, left, over and back, back and down, across and up, around and right, down and around, over there and some here. It took me an hour to do a 15x15-foot patch of grass. But I did it! I am Woman!

Here’s my next confession: I WAS 50 YEARS OLD AND HAD NEVER CHANGED THE FURNACE FILTER! Arrest me now.

At my request, my ex-husband came over to show me how this feat was accomplished. We went down to the basement, and I swear! he proceeded to essentially dismantle the furnace.

As I peered over his shoulder, all I could see was: brown metal, grey metal, black metal, this door and that panel, round knobs and rectangular levers, sharp edges, mesh wires, sliding gadgets and hanging parts. And more metal.
My eyes glazed over. I may as well have been staring into the main engine compartment of the starship Enterprise.

“See how easy that is?” my ex-husband said as he finished his demonstration.

“Uh, could you do it again?”

I haven’t had to change the filter yet this fall, but that adventure surely awaits me. And I know I can do it.

Being a single woman managing my property by myself has been quite an adjustment. But it’s the right thing.

The D-I-V-O-R-C-E was the right thing to do, too, for both me and my ex-husband. Of course, grieving is natural whenever there’s an ending, and it takes its own time. All part of the process of life unfolding and moving forward.

And besides, I really never did like my eggs fried. I like ‘em S-C-R-A M-B-L-E-D. Softly.


Robin Harris, MA, is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Certified Eating Disorders Specialist who lives in Arden. About the yard man who occasionally mows her grass for her, Robin has been known to whisper, “If loving him is wrong, I don’t want to be right.”
[ 828-775-5506; robinharris5506@yahoo.com ]

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