After months and months of frustration with my reel mower, I finally caved and bought a real mower. Mind you, I didn’t go the full-fledged gas guzzling route. Rather, I went with my alterna-yuppie tendencies and bought an electric mower. My yard is small enough that even the far edges are reachable with a 100 foot extension cord. Plus, an electric engine is far more environmentally friendly and doesn’t entail the sparkplugs, flooding threat and other hassles of a more traditional gas mower.
I started my research a couple weeks ago with a stop at Lowes. I had nearly made up my mind that I wanted to go the electric route, but I wanted to actually see an example. While there, I snagged a brochure, jotted my notes and weighed the relative merits of each. The kindly Lowes employee – an older gentleman – came by to offer his sage advice: “Women usually prefer the self-propelled. They’re less work.” Now, there would have been plenty of other ways to suggest that upsell without inserting the gender aspect. He could have mentioned a number of features that may merit the higher cost. Instead, when I explained that I was interested in an electric and asked for the difference between the two models on display, he tried again: “You know, electric means you have to mess with a cord. You should really consider a self-propelled.” I smiled, thanked him and walked out.
Later that week, I again mowed with my reel mower. Even after cross-cutting the lawn, it was still uneven and looked ragged. Over the next ten days, it grew and grew and grew as unrelenting rain prevented me from cutting. So Saturday morning, I set off to (a different) Lowes and its neighboring Home Depot, notepad in hand, and compared the scarce few models available at each. I came home and discovered that my leading front runner was $30 cheaper on Amazon, with no sales tax and free shipping! Nearly ready to Add to Cart, I stopped by Menards while I was out running other errands. Success! They had a very comparable model on sale for even less money. I snagged it and brought it home.
Sunday morning, I donned my grubby yard clothes, did the small amount of necessary assembly and sat down to unravel the extension cord. With it sufficiently untangled, I ran into the screened porch to plug it in. Suddenly, for the eleventh day in a row, the skies opened. Within the next two minutes, as I frantically pulled everything back to the garage, thunder rumbled and lightning brought torrents of hail. I sighed and went about my day. By the time I got home from a Cougars game, the sun had been out long enough to make things nice and steamy, while drying out the lawn. I mowed my lawn with the words of reviewers in my head. It did look like I was vacuuming my lawn! But in a relatively quick span, the lawn was nice and even and looked better than it has since I’ve lived in this house.
I’m sad to give up my defiant reel mower. But the resulting lush suburban grass makes it worth it.
And besides, I can keep using the reel mower on the slower-growing, shaded backyard – just to keep it real.