Adventures in an Urban Backyard


The divorce decree has been rescinded, and I am now allowed to share with you the incredible (and hilarious) story of Liam and his beloved (despised) weed trimmer.  Pop some popcorn, sit back, and enjoy.  I feel some film rights coming for this one.

To begin the story, you should understand that my husband has no love whatsoever for the outdoors.  Tennessee summers make him cringe, and that begins in February when we have our first fifty-degree day.  He starts grumbling about mowing the yard in ninety-degree weather at the beginning March–even if there’s still rare snow on the ground.  The poor man, with his Irish constitution, just can’t handle the heat and humidity that Tennessee (and many other parts of the United States) is known for.  When you add to this disdain for summer a disdain for most things green (What?!  The man is from Ireland!  He should revere green!), you get a stressed out mess, and that’s before the first flowers of April arrive.

In the past, we have been lucky enough to live in houses where most of the yard work was included in the rent.  Such is not the case with our new home.  By the time we moved in, the grass was already pretty high, and Liam got to use our lawn mower for the first time within a week of moving in.  Since we moved in May, you can imagine the sheer joy he must have felt pushing the mower around in eighty-some degree heat.  It was then that he realized the mower wouldn’t touch the weeds near the fences and steps.  With a solid determination, he decided that he would get a weed trimmer–after summer.

Of course, the weeds did not have the decency to stop growing until we could get a weed trimmer.  In no time at all, our weeds became more like…trees.  It became clear that the weed trimmer purchase would have to come sooner rather than later.  Cue Irish-boy excitement.  It is, after all, a tool, and men do love their tools.  Just…Liam wanted to love his new weed trimmer in October–or January, if at all possible.

Cut to the day he arrived home with his new weed trimmer.  He’d spent more than an hour getting a tutorial from the guys at Home Depot and felt like he was ready to go.  He handed me the box and asked for help putting it together.  I took that as he meant it and put it together for him.  After all, it wouldn’t do for him to throw it across the room in frustration before he’d even used it once.  In just a few minutes, he was dressed in his yardwork shoes, shorts, and protective eye gear.  I patted him on the back and sent him out to do his thing while I cooked dinner.

In five minutes, he was back.  Apparently, he’d managed to tangle the string already, and he needed my help to fix it.  Otherwise, it would be going over the fence into the neighbor’s yard.  I took the thing apart, re-spooled the string, and then returned to cooking.

You guessed it.  Five minutes later, he was back again.  Instead of having me work on the weed trimmer for the night, he decided to give up until he could get a different head for it.

Cue weeklong break between yard wars.  Liam then comes home with the new head and new string.  This one, of course, was supposed to be the answer to all of our problems.  Except, he was sure it was throwing the string every time he started it.  This particular head had two strips instead of a whole spool of string, and it was supposed to be much easier to handle.  After thirty seconds, however, he would look down and the string was gone.

By this point, I couldn’t possibly imagine what was going on to destroy so much string, so I ventured out to watch him in action.  He’d managed, in thirty-second bursts, to take care of most of the fence line, but the area around the concrete steps was really giving him fits.  I stood back at first, scared that flying string would take my eye out.  He got back to work, ruthlessly attacking weeds for thirty seconds at a time before replacing the string and going again.  I could hear the angry grrrrrrrrr as the weed trimmer attacked the tall grass around the steps.  It almost sounded like he was cutting through trees with a chainsaw (see previous post about Liam wielding a chainsaw for an excellent visual).  After a few minutes, I got brave enough to watch a little more closely.  It was then that I realized what he was doing.

“Honey…the string would probably last a little longer if you weren’t trying to cut the concrete steps in addition to the weeds… Just a tip.”

Visual aid submitted by MD Laidlaw.

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