There was nothing on my calendar today.
I had two offers for birthday parties, one offer for dinner, and there was a ballroom dance.
I turned them all down, for because I don’t know when the last time was that I had a whole, clear, nothing-scheduled day off work. So I protected it with my life, and enjoyed every minute. I hung out with my mom, got little projects done (but specifically refused to do chores on this glorious day), played in my garden, and did a lot of cooking.
Tonight I talked with my brother on the phone about how my dad is doing (not good), and then I played scrabble with my mom.
It was the best day ever. For realz.
By the time the sun was going down, I was rested enough to stop being obstinate about mowing my lawn. It had cooled down (comparatively) enough that if I was going to do it, now was the time. Also, mom was beating me something awful at scrabble.
So I put on my mowin’ shoes (every real Girl has some), opened the garage door, and pulled out the mower.
I got the front yard done just fine (best I can without a weed eater), and started on the backyard.
By the time I got around-the-garden mowed and started on the “regular” yard, I could tell it wasn’t working right. I knew it was time to add gas, but something else didn’t feel right, either. I don’t wear my cochlear implants when I mow (who wants to hear that awful sound?!), but I could tell by what it was doing and how it felt that something else was off besides it just running out of gas.
I thought maybe it needed a little oil.
I do know enough to let it cool before adding oil.
So I did.
It gave me time to sweep the front sidewalk and driveway.
Then I added gas and a little oil, and went back to work in the back.
This is when the excitement happened.
It turns out that if you don’t get the oil cap back on just right, and spill a little gas when you are filling up the lawnmower, and then accidentally run over a little baby escaped-watermelon, it makes for one amazing chunky explosion.
I mean CHUNKY explosion.
Also, it causes your lawnmower to catch fire.
It was amazing! I wanted to stand and clap and jump in excitement, except for the shock of it all.
Oh, and the fire.
But the fire was fine, for because I am a mormon, so my house is full of be-prepared-fire-extinguishers.
So I put the fire out (knowing to use the fire extinguisher on the mower, and the water hose on the grass), all while wearing my big-girl-mowin’-shoes and spraying foam all over my melon patch.
The explosion made such a sound that the neighbors – The Menz – came running around the house to make sure I was okay (for which I was grateful, in case I had not been okay).
My neighbor, who is very much not a mormon, saw the exploded watermelon all over my fence, and said, “It looks like you shot somebody”, adding a few choice words in between.
My other neighbor, checking out the foam all over my lawnmower, added that it sure sounded like someone had been shot.
I was just standing there, making sure my mowin’-shoes hadn’t melted.
It was the most exciting thing that has ever happened in my backyard.
The dogs were very jealous that they missed it.
The Menz, of course, were less concerned that I was okay, and more concerned about this new found evidence that girls ought not be trying to mow their own backyards.
Nonsense, I say.
It wasn’t my fault.
It was the watermelon’s fault.
I worked hard putting in garden boxes for raised beds, and very carefully put up that fence around it. It’s not my fault a watermelon tried to escape. “Natural consequences,” I say.
“It looks like you shot somebody,” say The Menz.
Clearly, I have offended The Menz by destroying a piece of machinery in my effort to murder a watermelon. While otherwise very polite and helpful neighbors, they are not realizing I am grieving for my watermelon and worried about its nearby brothers and sisters far more than I am worried about the lawnmower.
This was my next offense.
The Menz don’t care about watermelon survivors.
They want a proper burial for the lawnmower.
Already conspiracy theories are being whispered from house to house… stories about piston rings and spark plugs fly through the neighborhood faster than that watermelon flew through the air.
I realize I am on trial.
I am on trial for the murder of a lawnmower.
I want to wash watermelon juice off my legs, but somehow The Menz now hold the authority in my backyard, and I’m not allowed to leave until the issue is settled.
I suddenly feel far away from – even lonely for – the doilies in Relief Society.
Finally, finally, finally, I get slapped on the back like a real-feller, and am declared innocent.
“That watermelon wanted to die,” The Menz say, adding something about a sheared flywheel key and coil pickups, “but it killed your mower, like a deer on the highway.”
I am very glad I didn’t mow over a deer. I did run over a squirrel once when I was biking at the river, and it was the most horrible thing ever. I am really, really glad I didn’t mow over a deer.
But mostly I just want my watermelon back.
So I grieve, hosing down the brutal evidence off my fence while they start playing with screwdrivers and other shiny tools. I am not sure if they are trying to fix it for me, or if they are fighting for parts. I am glad I am not wearing my cochlear implant processors; sometimes silence is best.
Excepting secretly, in the silence of my own head, I am kind of sad I missed the sound of an exploding watermelon.
We might need to play re-do’s later, for a little instant replay when no one is looking.
Oh, and when I buy a new mower.