Things I Do: Wash My Cars and Mow My Lawn

What’s a “chore” if you don’t actually dread doing it? My wife would tell you its a mental problem. For me, there’s something very relaxing about mowing the lawn, pulling weeds a little as I go, and taking great care to make sure the edging looks clean. Is it escapism? Is it pride? Is it because I’m cheap? I won’t say it’s one of those, “if you want a job done right, you have to do it yourself,” type things, because my lawn is certainly not a work of art (I follow a simple weed n feed schedule and struggle with summer blight and crab grass every damn year).

Definitely, I’m cheap. I still can’t bring myself to pay someone $30 for an hours worth of work, even if the trade off is recapturing an hour and a half of my time. Wait …let’s call it “fiscally responsible.” Maybe it’s because I was raised by a guy who always mowed his own lawn and had an incredible lawn. Like, perfect. He never outwardly obsessed over it, but my Dad had an amazing lawn. In fact, when we moved, he seeded our new lawn himself …and he did it without and underground sprinkler system. Now that I think back on that, that might be one of the most amazing things he ever did.

Yikes. Have you ever gotten elbow deep into a blog entry and forgot where the heck you were heading with it and the point you were trying to make?

I think I’m asking …do I mow my own lawn and wash, vacuum, and detail my own car because I’m cheap, because I’m fiscally responsible, or because it’s yet another “chore” I can do that allows me to escape and daydream? And if it’s the third reason, is that a bad thing?

No doubt, my kids will always start helping me wash the car, so it’s good bonding (but they get bored at about the 10-minute mark). When they see me mowing the lawn, I think its good for them to see me working and taking pride in my house, and they help by picking up sticks when I ask, or sweeping the clippings off the driveway. I tell myself that, if they don’t grow up to have Bill Gates’s or Lebron James’s bank accounts, they’ll remember, hey, they grew up without a lawn service, without weekly trips to Jax Car Wash, without a cleaning lady, and with parents who clipped coupons and took them to the cheap movie theater and snuck candy in that was purchased at the discount pharmacy around the corner?

That’s what I saw growing up, and I turned out all right(ish).

This week we started “chores”, “jobs”, and will begin paying out weekly allowances to all the kids, and maybe this will all reveal itself to be a genius master plan. Thoughts? That’s another blog entry.

I don’t know about you, but washing the car with the Tigers game blaring from the radio speakers on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon (minus the timeless voice of Ernie Harwell of course) is a vivid and beautiful memory of my Dad – or while he was tinkering in the garage on his work bench, or fixing something, or changing the oil on our cars. His lawns …again …another great memory and, in the case of the new lawn I mentioned above, amazement. So, while I’m not actively engaged with my kids while doing this stuff, and they simply ride back and forth in the street on their bikes while I mow, or they run around in the fresh cut lawn, or play in the yard while I mow, I’m there. Should I feel bad? Or is that almost as good as if I hired someone to cut the lawn and used that hour, instead, to ride my bike with them, or throw the football around?

For now, I’m going to keep washing my car, mowing my lawn, and doing my own landscaping, hedge trimming, gutter cleaning, and house washing …because I enjoy it. And maybe someday I’ll figure out why, exactly.

Do you like Twitter? Cuz I do. And I’m always around @donkowalewski.

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2 thoughts on “Things I Do: Wash My Cars and Mow My Lawn

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