Perhaps it’s a Mars/Venus thing, but the men and women in our family have very different opinions about power tools.
Horsepower, of course, must be a strut-worthy number. The way I understand it, the term horsepower came from determining how much coal a horse could pull out of a mine in one minute. One horsepower equals 746 watts. Now I don’t know how many horses it took to pull a wagonload of coal, but I am reasonably sure it shouldn’t take six Clydesdales to cut back a few blades of grass. Doesn’t matter; 5-7 HP mowers are common.
It used to be that people could sleep late on Saturday mornings and wake to smell newly mown grass and hear a faint clickclickclick outside. That was probably the sound of a neighbor’s push lawn mower, that non-invasive machine that allowed folks to get something accomplished WITHOUT WAKING UP THE WHOLE DARNED NEIGHBORHOOD! I’ll bet no one on my street even owns a push lawnmower any more. Heck, most don’t own a lawnmower at all. Lawn services show up with equipment large enough to pull 30 horses and scatter throughout the neighborhood to mow it down in minutes. You couldn’t hear a jet fighter go overhead when they’re out in force.
Then come those gawd-awful blowers, edgers, and trimmers. Men rev those phallic-like tools like they’re entering enemy territory. Everything has to be big and noisy. I bet they don’t have a pair of hand clippers on any of those lawn trucks.
The electric lawn tools are much quieter–and cheaper–than the gas models, but don’t stir up nearly as much testosterone. Dearly Beloved, Al Gore, and I reached a compromise on these. I haven’t found that tethering his tools to a power cord has affected his masculinity at all. (DB’s, I mean.)
Watching our daughters and their husbands deal with these issues has been hilarious. One son-in-law purchased a riding mower large enough to pull a semi-trailer a few years ago. At the time they lived in a suburb with huge lots. Now, I’m not even sure he can get it through the back gate of the in-city house they are moving into this week.
Other son-in-law, married to our daughter who has definite opinions about such matters, bought (under duress, I’d guess) a small mower which made grass cutting quite literally an exercise and wouldn’t you know, they’ve since moved into a house with a yard double the size of their old one.
It was not, however, the mower which has made him the subject of teasing (and sympathy) from the rest of the guys in the family. It was the dreaded trimmer/edger.
Our guys call them weed whackers (is that a brand name?) and they are sore subjects around here. I can’t even remember how many times I’ve rooted a cutting, planted and nursed it along, only to hear zzzzzt, then “OOPS! Sorry, Sweetie” as I watched my baby shrub sail through the air. Son-in-law’s trimmer does not have that capability. His trimmer is neither gas nor electric. . . it’s battery-operated. A gift from The Little Woman. He refuses to even call it a weed whacker.
He calls it the weed bender.
Last week when the two oldest grandsons were here from Indiana, DB gave them lessons in such life skills as Introduction to Tools and Equipment —power and manual. In Wrenches 101, Allen wrenches emerged a clear favorite.
Every kid needs to know the problems of inflation, so Intermediate Bicycle Pumps proved useful almost immediately, and Power Washing Pointers–oh, my!
(I won’t even mention Beginner Driving Grandmary’s Car in the Driveway other than to say I asked the instructor to remove that one from the curriculum.)
It was DB’s electric leaf blower, however, that nine-year-old Car Spaghetti found intriguing. Perhaps his interest was piqued by Final Four week, but we were nonetheless surprised to look out and see this:
I think a lay-up shot is out of the question with that thing.
The Indiana grandsons would expect me to add this: GO, BUTLER BULLDOGS!!!!