i hold my breath with excitement as Jim, the Lawnmower Man, slowly and carefully backs the long trailer down the endless gravel driveway and into the wet, grassy yard. My new riding lawnmower is here!! It’s finally here!! The stork has arrived!!!! Slowly…slowly…i strain to see as the trailer inches toward us.
Oh, holy Blades of Grass, Batman! It’s…..RED!! My first motorized yard thingie is RED!!!
“It’s BEAUTIFUL!” i blurt out involuntarily as air whooshes out of my lungs.
And it is. This is the largest purchase i have ever made that is exclusively used for the upkeep and maintenance of GRASS, of which i seem to have an abundance of now. My eyes tear up. i feel so adult.
i notice the eyes of my brother and father glance toward me. i resist the urge to turn my head and i resolutely resist clapping my hands and squealing with glee. i hold my arms still at my sides.
My family members of the male persuasion have lately taken on the collective belief that there is not a snowball’s chance in h-e-double-hockeysticks that i can take care of a log cabin 20 miles out of town all by myself. It started with the upkeep of this oversized lawn and then escalated into the dangers of ladders and darkness and not deadheading rhodedendrons.
“All that work! How are you going to do all that work?” Was the question continually put to me.
Receiving nothing but smiles and reassurances that i know how to prune flowers and mow grass, the constant catastrophizing began to lose its momentum and die down. And then one day, i accidentally let on that i assumed i could live up a river and through the woods and still have high speed internet and work from home.
My brother lost it.
“If you haven’t thought about the internet issue, what else haven’t you thought about!?!” He exclaimed in exasperation. My father had similar feelings and the two of them called each other several times, commiserating about my naivete and trading doomsday predictions about all the many, many ways that i was going to fail, and most likely die, in my attempt to live in a cabin in the country.
My mom texted me. “They’re at it again,” she would say and i would stop packing and sigh.
“They have no faith in me.” i texted back.
“They just worry and care about you. And they like to micromanage.” She replied.
i smiled. THAT, they do. And i love them.
Over the weeks that followed, i tried my best to reassure them. i was committed to this dream. It was all i could think about anymore and i KNEW it was the right thing. Every cell in my being yearned for this cabin. It was like the Universe took my dream home out of my head and plopped it down on this one acre parcel with a canal and a view just for me.
It is My Happy Place.
“I’m going through my kitchen and getting rid of everything I don’t need and giving it to you!” Mom’s text caught me by surprise. “I’ve already got your kitchen taken care of! Don’t buy anything until you see what I have!” i can almost hear her giddiness. Her baby is coming home.
Thank the stars for Mom.
“Just don’t mow anywhere near that canal!! The bank is soft and before you know it, you will be IN the canal with the mower on top of you. Mowers don’t float.” Mom cautions vehemently. i assure her i won’t.
As the weeks go by, the silence from my brother and father becomes a tangible, sticky thing between us, while my mom and i grow closer, giggling excitedly like slumber-party best friends. As we plan the move, she gathers enough dishes, glasses, utensils, gadgets and small appliances to outfit two kitchens and has moved on to bathrooms. i am living with my parents now, waiting for the sale to go through, while the boxes in the garage that my mom has been filling with odds and ends from her own home are multiplying like kittens.
“i will have your entire home outfitted, just about!” She happily tells me one day as she gifts me my favorite chair of hers.
i wonder if there will be anything left for my dad to sit on.
But dad knows better than to get in the way when mom has put her foot down and he smartly stays in his recliner so she can’t take it and give it away too. Resigned to the fact that this is really happening, he offers one last fatherly word of advice:
“Don’t mow anywhere near that canal. You can’t see the edge of the bank and if that mower goes in, it’s taking you with it. I mean it .. it’s dangerous.”
There seems to be a theme here.
Fast forward a couple of weeks and i am here with Other Brother and Dad, and we are excitedly/curiously/resignedly (in that order) watching the arrival of my “gently used” aka “completely-rebuilt-because-that’s-all-i-can-afford” riding lawn mower.
And it is RED.
It. Is. AWESOME!!!!
Jim unloads it and begins to start it up and explain all the knobs and levers, cautioning me all the while.
Don’t try to start it when it’s not in neutral. Don’t lower the blades until it’s in neutral. Don’t try to get off while the blades are in motion. Don’t shift to reverse unless you have switched the key to the “allow reverse” position. (Why WOULDN’T you allow it?) And most important of all –
Don’t mow too close to the canal.
At that, an all-male chorus chimed in like back-up singers to Mower Man’s song.
“Yes!” “That’s what I told her!” “Are you listening, Candice?” “Lawn mowers don’t float!!”
But this time, as i mounted the mower to take it for a test drive, the admonitions of the Consternation Chorus did nothing to dampen my spirits. i have a Li’l Red Riding Mower!!! i can mow!!! i am an adult!!!
Tired of the broken record and suddenly feeling inspired, i stood up on the mower, straddling the seat, and looked up at the bright blue sky. As the sun glittered off the fast moving water of the canal, i spread my arms wide.
“If i go in that canal,” i loudly announce to the Testosterone Trio and the entire world, “i will stand on the front of the mower like this, singing that Celine Dion song as i go down with the ship! i’m king of the world!” And i began singing Whitney Houston’s rendition of “I Will Always Love You” because i don’t really know my divas.
Mower Man stares at me in confusion. Other Brother observes my Oscar-worthy performance with the passivity of one who expects nothing less from me. Dad ignores it and begins asking more questions about engine stuff.
Me? i’m king of the world!
And i’ve got me some grass to mow.
Next Up?? candice mows a lot of grass and learns that Whitney Houston did NOT sing that song in The Titanic.
And there is such a thing as propane spiders.