I love yard work. I always have. When I was ten years old, my Dad gave me the job of cutting the grass of our rather large yard. The first time I cranked up that lawn mower, something clicked. When my own son turned ten, I wouldn’t let him near my Toro, something for which he must have been eternally grateful. The last time my wife cut the grass was from atop her Dad’s brand new John Deere riding mower, wearing a bikini, trying to jumpstart her tan back in high school. No, at the Dunnevant estate, the yard is my thing.
Part of the attraction is the simplicity of the work. I advise people about where and how to invest their money. I implore them to plan for the future, to protect their assets from the risks associated with life’s unknowable variables, like an unexpected disability, or untimely death. It’s all very complicated and the pressure of all that cajoling, and the inherent possibility of error combine for a high stress existence. Yard work, on the other hand is gloriously straight forward. See grass, cut grass. See weed, pull weed. The best part of it is that after a couple of hours you can stand back and admire the completion of the thing. There is a marvelous sense of accomplishment that comes with finishing something.
However, not all yard work is created equal. Recently I scheduled my annual aeration and over seeding with the good people at Virginia Green Lawn Care. They gave me the following instructions: “Prior to our arrival, please try to rake out any moss you find in the back yard. This will insure proper seed growth.” My back yard has quite a bit of shade so moss does have a tendency to accumulate back there. So, Saturday morning I stepped off of my deck at 8 am, rake in hand, to get the job done. Three hours later I had a hand full of blisters and 7 fifty gallon trash bags full of moss stacked against the back fence.
I consider myself an extremely fit 56 year old. I spend close to four hours a week on a tread mill. I do curls and bench presses. I sweat profusely on the hated abdominal crunch machine. Nevertheless, when I woke up Sunday morning, both of my hamstrings were on fire. The simple act of getting out of bed sent waves of pain through my legs. It was as if I had spent ten hours being tortured by a sadistic guard at Guantanamo. Apparently, the motion of bending over to scoop up armfuls of freshly raked piles of moss was just too much for my 56 year old hamstrings to endure.
It is now Monday morning, a full 48 hours has passed since all the moss raking and I’m still moving gingerly, sitting and rising very carefully, closely resembling a much older man. The last time the back of my thighs hurt this much was after I got paddled by the principal in junior high for flying a classmate’s pants up the flagpole.
So, I suppose this is how it’s going to be going forward. Routine physical labor will visit extreme discomfort upon me the older I get, is that how it’s going to be? Well, let me tell you something. I will never give up yard work. I don’t care if it sends me to the ER, no teenager is going to touch my yard…EVER.I think I’ll buy some Advil stock.