Saturday, April 26, 2008

Mixing Mustard and Gasoline

You’ll be glad to hear I’m not trying to kill my husband with a flammable sandwich condiment. (I’ve got a better plan.)

Earlier today, Brett decided to mow our lawn.

Unfortunately (for our neighbors) Brett and I live in a nice neighborhood. We’re midgets living in a land of financial giants - doctors, lawyers, dentists, and one (very well-paid) minister.

Now, our house is on the end of the cul-de-sac and extremely less valuable (but what houses aren’t these days! Bada-bing! I’m here all night, folks).

But we are right in line with these other nice houses.

And the nice people who live in those nice houses can afford personal gardeners or gardening services. Therefore, since the first wisp of spring, their lawns have been immaculately cared for - cut and nourished within an inch of perfection.

By comparison, our house looks like a poor country cousin. Our grass is tall, raggedy, and unkempt.

I’m not that observant myself, so I didn’t even notice how bad it was until I caught several of my neighbors giving me the evil eye – no doubt seeing the value of their houses decreasing as our grass grew higher and higher.

I asked Brett if he was going to mow the lawn earlier this week, but he said there might be a chance of rain so he couldn’t commit. Well, refused to commit, was more like it.

There was more than a chance of rain – it poured buckets and buckets over the Midwest this past week, making it impossible to mow (or so I heard every night).

I was just about to go door-to-door telling the neighbors we were growing native prairie grass in an effort to “go green” and save the environment.

I even had my speech worked out, “Just think of the mower gas we’ll save, and all the great oxygen we’ll provide for your little prodigies. Oh, aren’t you lucky to have us as neighbors!”

Then, Brett decides today is the day. Oh, happy day.

But nothing is as simple as it seems (apparently). There was a trip to Lowe’s to purchase “a lawn mowing repair kit,” and two separate trips to the gas station. By early afternoon, I was rewriting my prairie grass speech.

But, lo and behold, I finally heard the blessed sound of rackety mowing as Brett zigzagged his name into the front yard.

(Okay, okay, he really didn’t do that. He just mowed this diagonal pattern he’s so proud of creating. I can never understand the fuss he makes over it. I mean, it’s JUST diagonal – don’t call the Pentagon, you know what I mean? You didn’t invent diagonal!)

While Brett slaved outdoors, I slaved indoors on my hands and knees cleaning the bunny areas. While I was immersed in – you don’t want to know what I was immersed in – I hear my cheerful, windblown husband tromp up the stairs in those beautiful size 16 shoes.

“Hey, babe,” he breezed into the laundry room.

I tried to bodily throw myself in front of him to prevent him from entering the ONE CLEAN ROOM IN THE HOUSE. But he mistook my gesture for swooning (or something) and thought I wanted to make out.

Well, what woman doesn’t want to make out when she’s sweaty, smells like poo, and has had her husband track wet grass into a room it just took her two hours to clean!

Show of hands?

After I tolerated a kiss, barely, I had to restrain myself from ripping out his larynx as he clomped over to the laundry room sink and started to wash his hands.

Before I knew what was happening, he’d unscrewed the top of the laundry detergent and was about to pour it on his hands.

“NO! WAIT!” I screamed as I rushed over.

“What wrong?” he asked, looking a little panicked, like perhaps at the last minute the nice people at Tide had decided to start replacing their detergent with flesh-burning acid.

“There’s only one capful left! And I’m going to use it for the stinky bunny towels.”

I was suddenly realizing I had probably overreacted with all the screaming and exaggerated Chariots of Fire run over to the sink.

“Okay. Um, can I just stick my finger in some detergent? The gas from the mower got all over me, and it really smells.”

As I nodded, begrudgingly, I was suddenly hit with the smell of gasoline. It was overwhelming. Unbelievably strong.

And all I could think was, “Oh, thank you so much for bring that stink into the house. Like we don’t already have enough problems with odors! We own freakin’ bunnies, man!”

I watched as Brett tried the detergent first. Then, he used the dish soap I keep in the laundry room, squirting out enough to wash all the dishes in a small Third World country.

Eventually, he declared himself clean, even though the bunnies were hiding under the end tables looking suspiciously fearful someone somewhere might light a match.

“Thanks for mowing the lawn!” I said, my Stepford wife program kicking in.

“Well, I mowed most of it anyway,” he said cheerfully on his way out the laundry room door.

I clutched at his sleeve. “Most of it? What does that mean?

“Well, I mowed the front.”


“And I mowed the sides.”


“And that’s it. I’m done for today.”

Incredulity body-slammed Stepford wife to the ground.

“Wait, wait. Let me get this right. You moved the front, the sides, and NOT the back? We have an unevenly mowed yard? We have PRAIRIE grass growing in the backyard?”

“Well, you said you wanted it mowed.”

“No, I said I wanted it all mowed.”

“NO, you didn’t. You just said “mowed.”

“Well, I MEANT ALL of it. Why would I only ask you to mow just part of it?”

(Meanwhile, I’m seeing our neighbors sarcastically thinking, “Oh well now THAT looks so much better.”)

“Well I’m done for today.” Brett headed down the stairs, leaving me breathless in what felt like standing behind NASCAR’s starting line up.

“Open a window,” I yelled down the stairs. “You stink!” Seconds before realizing that phrase could be taken several ways.

Brett shot me a look before hoisting a nearby window open.

What happened later, I blame on the gas fumes.

I was making dinner, and the recipe called for ½ teaspoon of mustard. Suddenly, my brain cells deserted me, and I couldn’t figure out how I was going to fit the teaspoon inside the squeezable container.

Seriously. This is how delusional I was.

I unscrewed the cap and put my face close down to the opening. Trying to gauge how wide the opening was, I gripped the bottle.

That’s right. I GRIPPED an open SQUEEZABLE container with my face a millimeter from the top.

Well, you can guess what happened next.

I had mustard on my face, up my nose, down the front of my shirt; glopping all over my hands and down the sides of the bottle.

As I stood there, covered in Dijon, my husband walked in from starting the grill (not the smartest thing he could have done smelling like Exxon Valdez).

It goes to show what a nice person I married. He gave me a sympathetic look and said, “Honey, do you want to open a window?”

I waited for the inevitable follow up, but he didn’t take the expected parting shot.

So, if years from now, you see an older couple, sitting side by side in the nursing home, and one suddenly turns to the other and bellows, “YOU STINK!” - be sure to stop by and say hi to us.


Captainswife said...

ok, that is so awesome. i have to admit that i would have MADE my husband go back out and finish that lawn! I love being a good "stepford" wife, as you call it, but in all honesty, who leaves the lawn HALF MOWED!! haha. I hope you got the mustard from out of your nose.

Alice said...

I'm gonna need some more clarification on why Brett was doused in gasoline, just from mowing part of the lawn. Is this in any way related to the ripped pants incident?

Anonymous said...

Very fun to read... much less fun to survive I'm sure... what do you mean "stepford wife"?

Ann-Marie said...

I just realized something. Our lawn has a mullet. As if mullets weren’t bad enough on people, we have to introduce them into lawn care? Geesh!

Tob –Stepford Wives is a movie. A new couple moves into a suburb where all the women seem to be “perfect” wives. The wife suspects something and eventually it is discovered (SPOILER ALERT) the men in the suburb have been killing their wives and replacing them with identical robots who attend to the men’s every need.

A lot of people call women “Stepford wives” whenever they are subservient to men or are one of those women who are good at everything.

Alice – I’m not exactly sure how he came to be covered in gasoline. He was little vague on how it happened. I suspect it has to do something with the “lawn mower repair kit,” but I’m not sure. Believe me, if I find out…new post!

Sarah – I’m still sneezing – I hate mustard anyway, so I really hate it coming out my pores!

WendyJanelle said...

Hahaha! Yes, fun to read indeed.
I never "make" Fred mow, but I lovingly suggest that the more action he takes, the more action he gets, you know? ;-) And he knows that I'll shower WITH him, if he's sweaty from mowing ALL the grass. Call it an incentive program.

And the mustard thing-- seriously, that just cracks me up! Sounds like something I might do!

Heidi said...

too funny. I have a neighbor that has a day of the week EVERY week and mows. He usually starts in in March (ok, that might be a slight exaggeration), but I was so impressed when Jason beat him to it this time.
We also have another neighbor who has a "frat house" across the street and we are wondering if he is ever going to mow his.
I wonder if he thinks that weeks and plants cut themselves and lawn mows itself.

Juliet said...

Love the soap event...Love, Mom

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the details on the stepford... very helpful

Simply Stork said...

nothin' says lovin' like a face full of mustard...

hilarious read (lol)