Yardwork, how do I hate thee.

Let me count the ways.

Now, I have more than a passing familiarity with yardwork. As an indentured servant, er, child, I was routinely pressed into service for some form of manual labor, aka yardwork. I weeded, I chopped and stacked, I cut grass and weedeated (which is a totally different activity from ‘weeding’), I planted, I dug, and, when I was done, I swept the driveway. I’m not entirely sure why, but, much like eating that last chip before you close the bag, I always had to sweep the driveway before calling it quits.

So believe me when I say that there’s no activity that I like less and do more than yardwork. Now that I’m growed, I’ve trimmed my yardwork down to the essentials: mowing the grass and occasionally weeding the flower beds. Once a month or so I weedeat. Taken in a vacuum, none of these activities are particularly horrific. But add a dash of duty, a spritz of obligation, and two shakes of urgency and they are my worst nightmare. Keeping my yard looking even decent is like treading water, and I’m always about to go under. I’m the guy who’s been treading for hours, and just my nose and lips are above water at this point.

And it’s not because I’m lazy. At least, not primarily. I’m not afraid of hard work, either, or of getting my hands dirty. I just prefer to keep my outdoor activities confined to things involving some form of competition (like pick up basketball, tennis, golf, or touch football), or some form water (skiing, swimming, wakeboarding, et al.). Yard work is no fun, it’s a grueling and solitary labor, and because it’s something that I’m supposed to do (as a homeowner), I don’t even get much satisfaction for getting it done.

I suppose the problem-solvers among you would suggest hiring someone to do it for me, but I have a hangup about that. A hangup that I extracted a policy from. I decided that in order not to positively reinforce my avoidance of all things unpleasant (like yardwork and vacuuming), I would not hire someone to do them for me. After all, I’m perfectly capable of doing them myself — I have the time and the skill to do these things, and I’ll just have to learn to do them. Like it or not.

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