Biographical Non-Fiction posted July 25, 2023

This work has reached the exceptional level
My scheming backfired.

Hitting a wall

by Mary Vigasin

I am too smart for my good. At least, I thought so when I devised a plan to motivate my husband, Harvey, to get to work around the house.

After all these years, he stopped mowing the lawn and vacuuming the house. He hit a wall, not a real wall, but one that hit him just as hard. It was his 75th birthday that hit him.

So, I planned to motivate him to return to mowing.

Our lawn is not top-grade. In fact, we put the crab in crabgrass. Hubby loves flowering weeds, and we have more weeds than actual grass. Our lawn is green, brown, and yellow, which does not include the bare spots.

We have ¼ of an acre with a large backyard. The house stands back from the street with the front lawn in 3 sections, with the walkway and driveway splitting up the yard.

I wanted to avoid nagging him to get to work. I just watched as the grass grew for two months, and as it grew more junglelike, I expected soon to use a machete to chop our way-out wearing khaki and pith helmets.

I thought he would be embarrassed at the sight of our lawn. He still did not touch the lawnmower, and I was the one that became embarrassed at the presence of the growing wilderness.

The neighbor across the street fueled my embarrassment. I knew she must be shaking her head in disapproval. She has a postage-stamp lawn with a top-of-the-line landscaper who does not let a single leaf fall on her property.

Another month passed, and I changed my tactic as the jungle outside grew. My next tactic was to tell him it would cost us a small fortune to hire a landscaper. I played up the cost of getting a professional landscaper. We should cut back on the more expensive grocery items because caring for the lawn would consume more money.

He did not take the bait.

So, I then started the hunt for someone to mow the lawn by phone calls or e-mail:

#1. Phillip. We had this guy clean our gutters last year, and he wanted to mow the lawn, but we declined. I called him and left a message with his wife and a text.

He never responded.

#2. I used a service that finds contractors. I got a call from a handyman who said he would come out the next day at 10 AM. He called and said he was running late and would be there in the afternoon. He never showed. (Number 2 was the correct term for him.)

#3. Searching the Internet for landscapers, I found a local company and sent an e-mail as directed by their website.

I made an impassioned plea for someone to come out and mow. I received no response. (My mistake was describing our lawn.)

#4. I talked to someone from another landscaping company. He asked me to send pictures of the lawn. I sent him several photos and never heard from him.

I could not find anyone to lend me some sheep to eat on our lawn.

My last-ditch effort to motivate Harvey was to have him fill the lawnmower with gas, and I would mow the lawn. After all, if I can push a full shopping cart around then I can push a lawnmower.

When I started, I expected him to take over. It did not happen. Some shopping cart, pushing that beast of a lawnmower, was like moving an elephant. I had forgotten our lawn is elevated, as our house is on a hill. It took me an hour to do one section. I gave up doing anything further until the next day.

Later in the afternoon, the phone rang, and #2 called. He was outside of our house two days late. We let him finish the front and our large backyard for $100. (I even gave him a tip)

Looking at the lawn a few days later, I understood the saying “growing like a weed.” A couple of days of rain brought back my jungle.

Luckily, #2 called and said he would be there the next day or the day after. He never showed.

A week later, I mowed again.

#2 called to say he would be there the next day, and I told him not to bother. I went to the referral website and canceled any further contact. I found out that I was being charged by the referral company even though #2 did not show up. Luckily, they reimbursed us.

I am now mowing the lawn, pushing that beast around the yard. (The lawnmower, not Harvey.)

As to the vacuuming, I have not planned to coerce him. However, it might sound like it. The first time I used the new vacuum cleaner, I caught the cord in the machine and shredded at least six inches of the cord’s protective cover. The second time, I knocked over the vacuum cleaner right onto my kneecap and limped for two days.

With me now doing the mowing and vacuuming, it appears Harvey’s wall fell on me!


I found the referral charged on my credit card $98.86 to pay #2 for his first visit. (remember he charged me $100.00)
I also found a second charge of $98.86 for the time he never showed up. They then had him scheduled again the next week and were about to charge another $98.86. That would make nearly $300.00 within 3 weeks for lawnmowing. Luckily they reimbursed me and said #2 should have never charged me the 100 bucks.
As to Harvey, I think he is going through a period of depression and fear triggered by the sudden death of my sister-in-law. For 3 months after her death, he kept checking on me when I was napping to see if I was alive!
A physical found no issues for a 75-year-old guy.
Pays one point and 2 member cents.

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