If you’ve ever watched old cheesy sitcom reruns on Nick at Nite or TV Land, you’ve seen a version of this marital conversation a million times:
Wife: Honey, please mow the lawn.
Hubby: I mowed it two weeks ago.
Wife: The grass is a foot high. We’re getting complaint letters from city hall.
Hubby: I can’t mow it now. The ground is too wet.
Wife: It hasn’t rained in two weeks.
Hubby: I can’t mow it now. The game is on.
Wife: Football season is over.
Hubby: Baseball season just started.
Wife: Fine, I’ll just do it then.
Hubby: No! You have to wait until dusk/morning/afternoon/when mosquito season ends/whatever.
And on and on, ad nauseum. All marriages have their battles, but the big battle in my house is yard work. As in, I am the only woman on the block who gets stuck doing most of it. And that’s because a) my husband grew up in Hong Kong, which has more concrete per square foot than Manhattan and therefore he does not know a lawnmower from a shovel; b) my husband is an uber-tightwad, and thinks that the pennies it costs per week to maintain the yard is better spent on penny stocks; and c) he just plain doesn’t want to do it.
Which leaves me, the corn-fed, backyard-loving Midwesterner of the couple, stuck doing almost all of it. Which I don’t necessarily mind, but between the two-year-old and the full-time writing job, I don’t exactly have the time. I can barely keep up with the gardening and the housework as it is. And our neighborhood has very high standards for lawn care (most of our six-figure-earning neighbors employ professional landscape companies to keep their lawns and gardens looking pristine with twice-weekly treatments by muscle-bound crews of eight laborers). Meanwhile, our one-and-a-half-income lawn looks like something out of Little House on the Suburban Prairie.
What my husband doesn’t seem to understand is there are consequences when our lawns turns fallow. Like our neighbors getting pissed off, for one. Like our property values going down, for another. Not to mention the fact that if our grass gets longer than say, about five inches, the place turns into fucking Wild Kingdom. Last week I finally convinced hubby to mow the grass when we found a greasy pile of feathers that had once been a large bird (torn to shreds by a red-tail hawk that had taken up residence in our overgrown yard) out by our back deck. Today as I nagged my hubby yet again that the lawn needed to be mowed, I pointed out not only the pile of coyote poop by the air conditioning unit, but also the scattering of broken robin’s eggs and half-eaten squirrel carcass in our front yard (more evidence of that pesky red-tailed hawk). Hubby is taking the day off tomorrow, and I just might have won this round. That maggot-ridden squirrel next to the driveway probably sealed the deal.
So next time you need to get your spouse to do something around the house, just rustle up some roadkill and leave it in the front yard. Should do the trick.