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Now Taking Smug Living to the Back Yard

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Monday afternoon, I bought myself an electric lawnmower.

I suppose I should back up and give some basic history. Before Monday, I owned a gas lawnmower, because I had teenage children on whom I could pawn off the lawn mowing duties. (Before that, we had a lawn cutting service.) My husband had been in charge of that purchase, and he bought a thrifty little Honda, a non-self-propelled mechanical monster that accomplished the task handily.

Lawn mowing is one of those chores that you don’t notice until the grass is knee deep or the last cut was a bad one, punctuated by Mohawk-haircut-like ridges of stray grass. When teenage children mow the lawn, it’s a parent’s prerogative to point out these errors in style and skill.

It was a wonderful arrangement. The kids made a little money, and I didn’t have to pay the big bucks to the mega-landscape companies who charge $50 for twenty-five minutes of “work,” and this after taking a machete to your prized ornamental plants. It was a great deal – that is, until my little chickadees began flying the coop. One of them escaped to northern California, and the other is going to southern California. I’m thinking that sentencing them to lawn cutting duties is part of the reason they took off to a state that is quite curiously devoid of lawns.

I knew that I would have to make an executive decision soon, so a couple of weeks ago, I declared to the household that I would be taking over the lawn mowing duties. My husband argued that I would lose interest as soon as the humidity reached the same number as the temperature. I disagreed. Part of my interest is that I could really use the exercise. I don’t mind grass, even though I’m highly allergic to the freshly mown stuff. I’m also allergic to ash and cottonwood trees, tomato plants (not the tomatoes), and goldenrod, but that doesn’t prevent me from going outside on a nice day. That’s why God made the people who make Benadryl.

My first lawn cutting foray was tough. It took an hour of fiddling with the choke before I could get the thing to turn over. Then I had to baby it along to get over the thick stuff, and race it across the bare sections before it would die. Since it wasn’t self-propelled, I had to muscle it over berms. We have a pretty large yard for a city lot, and it took almost two hours to cut. After that fiasco, I decided straightaway that I wasn’t going to struggle any longer with the gassy, greasy, oily mess that was our old lawnmower.

A short trip to the local landscape supply store was in order. My original intention was to get something self-propelled, but then I asked about the electric lawnmowers. I thought they’d be pricey and ugly, much like my Prius when I first purchased it. I was pleasantly surprised. The Neuton Battery Powered Mower is a combination of green and light green. It is made completely of plastic materials, except for the blade. A mulching mower, it is incredibly lightweight, too; if I take the battery out of it, I can lift the entire lawnmower into the back of my Prius all by myself. There’s no oil, no grease, and no hot parts.

Best of all, it’s electric, so there would be no more visits to the gas station where, before, I’d be precariously filling my little plastic gas can (and getting gas all over me as a result). I rather like the idea of being environmentally conscious. The battery can be charged indoors between mowing, and it only takes (they say) about ten cents' worth of electricity to give it a full charge.

The Neuton is a little pricier than a regular gas-operated mower, and I wasn’t sure if it was worth the extra hundred dollars or so. I asked Randy, the salesman, if it was okay to bring it back if I didn’t like it, or if it didn’t perform to my satisfaction. He said, “Sure.” But I could tell by the look in his eye that he wasn’t going to be seeing me again. Randy said that all of his Neuton customers were happy ones.

The maiden voyage of the Neuton Battery Powered Mower was yesterday. I cut the back yard during my lunch hour (forty minutes). This morning I cut the front lawn (forty minutes). The best thing about this mower is that it’s so damned quiet! It produces less noise than my vacuum cleaner. I can mow at 7 a.m. if I want to.

I might call Randy to thank him, but I’m never giving this thing up, ever!

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About Joanne Huspek

I write. I read. I garden. I cook. I eat. And I love to talk about all of the above.