I hate mowing lawns. Hate. HATE. Mowing the lawn was the one duty I was tasked with as a teenager, and it scarred me for life. The Midwest in the summertime is a special Hell, and for your sins, you’ll mow when it’s 95 degrees/98 percent humidity. My allergenic torments: the smell of cut grass was like tear gas, and the lawn clippings on my bare legs might as well have been poison oak. Eyes and nose running, shins itching, I’d bitch and curse my way through my appointed task every weekend. (At one point, I distinctly remember calling it “the cunting lawn”. Such was the level of my vitriol. I don’t think even British people use that particular c-word modification, and our friends across the pond, they know how to spin a cuss word.) I’m sure I wasn’t the only kid who prayed for rain on Saturdays and Sundays, or better yet a drought, or perhaps some vast black seething clouds of hungry locusts. (MOWING. HATE.) Many teenagers, upon leaving The Nest, take it upon themselves to do everything that their parents told them they couldn’t: drink, smoke, do drugs, buy a motorcycle, date a (INSERT ETHNO-RELIGIOUS GROUP HERE). My ambitions were slightly less picaresque. I swore that I’d never mow another lawn again. And for some twenty years, I upheld that oath. I lived in dorms, then apartments, and when we moved into our first bona fide house, a house with a huge backyard rife with lush, green, evil Grass, I promptly hired a gardening service. “Mow and blow, fellas.” The chugging of the lawnmower (along with the smoky belching roar of the hated leafblower) was sweet music, because it was someone else doing the mowing. The noise was the perfect soundtrack to my sloth.

But something happened when we began the process of moving to the new Casa Avant, which also has a yard. I began pricing push mowers. And lawn rakes. I wanted to mow. No – I needed to mow.