It’s not easy being green: Longtime passion comes to a halt with current residence

Voices of the Clarion

Posted: Sunday, July 30, 2006

I was sitting around watching television a few weeks ago when a commercial came on. I have no idea what it was for, since I get bored with commercials, so I started channel surfing.

I stumbled across “Inside the Actors Studio,” with host James Lipton. If you’ve never seen this show, well, it’s weird, but Lipton interviews actors in an unusual format, asking such things as, “What’s your favorite cuss word?” “What’s your favorite word?” “Least favorite word?”

You get the idea.

Lipton comes from an extraordinary background in literature and drips regal posture and distinct pronunciation with every breath he inhales.

That’s not what caught my attention. He was interviewing Tom Hanks. I’m a Tom fan from way back — we’re talking “Bosom Buddies” in the 1980s.

Anyway, Lipton asked Hanks, “What’s your favorite sound?”

I have no idea what he answered, but I was taken aback by the first thought that popped into my head.

A lawn mower.

Apparently, I have fond memories of mowing the lawn.

I’ve always liked mowing the lawn, although my parents felt it best that my brother be responsible for that chore.

It wasn’t until I was on my own that I finally got a chance to wear the coveted green sneakers — you know, the whites ones stained by fresh-cut blades. I even purchased a push mower — you know, the kind without a motor.

I relished in the exercise, forming precise blocks of cleanly clipped grass, rarely altering from my patterns and much enjoying the mindless jaunt through the yard on a warm summer day. It’s like total escapism.

As time moved on, I met and married Mark, who also liked cutting the lawn. I swear he bought a gas mower just to throw me off.

“I’ll teach you how to use it,” he’d tell me. Then he’d conveniently take care of business while I was at work. I was starting to suspect my boss was in on it.

Of course, this wasn’t true. Eventually Mark tired of cutting the grass and taught me how to operate the mulcher.

It was a great experience. I’d spend weekday mornings or evenings choreographing perfectly patterned squares and rectangles around the yard. It was almost too good to be true.

But, alas, four years later, we moved.

It’s funny how when you buy a house the list starts as soon as you look at it.

“Oh this is great for now, but we could ...” followed by an endless stream of unrealistic goals that if you could afford, you obviously wouldn’t be buying that house in the first place.

When we bought our current abode, the goal was for Mark to have a shop. The whole first year was dedicated to reaching that goal. He worked hard, doing much of the work himself, with assistance from his buddies.

It’s a great shop, as most shops go. In fact, it’s as big as our house — and twice the height. Many of Mark’s friends have shop envy.

Once it was done, we realigned our goals.

I wanted an arctic entry right away, a room split in two — one to put outdoor gear in and one for our four dogs with access to an outside kennel. However, after the first winter, we realized how fast the snow would run off the metal roof into the kennel and bury them. Scratch the dog room idea.

In the meantime, Mark came up with a scathingly brilliant plan to remove the wall between our small master bedroom and the guest bedroom to give us more space.

In one weekend, the walls came down.

Unfortunately, so did the closets. But we found a great place to hang our clothes: in the unfinished arctic entry.

OK, so two years later, I think we’re on Plan H now. That would be “H” for “help.”

I’ve often heard about people like us — those who start project after project without ever finishing one — and this concerns me because we’re getting close to my favorite project: a yard. You thought I’d never get back to it, didn’t you?

Currently, our yard consists of dirt, gravel, rocks and so many weeds we can’t find the snowmachine trailer. The potential is there to create a mower’s paradise, it’s just going to take a lot of effort to build it.

But I’m not giving up on the dream.

I can’t tell you what our house will look like in the next couple of years, but I guarantee my future will include a pair of green sneakers — they’ll be in the arctic entry, on the floor beneath my dresses.

Dori Lynn Anderson is the managing editor of the Clarion.



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