Spring officially starts once you’ve mowed over your hibachi

Tall grass and hibachi The official start of spring is almost here. I know this because I received a Sears catalogue depicting what appears to be an all-American family taking time off from its busy modeling schedule to cook hamburgers on a brand new stainless steel grill large enough to accommodate an entire side of bull elk. As you would expect, children were in the yard squirting each other with water toys and running barefoot over a perfectly manicured lawn which, judging from the size of the family dog, must be self-cleaning.

Mom was nearby, well oiled and laying on a lawn chair in her bathing suit, still recovering from her recent Victoria’s Secret lingerie shoot in the Bahamas.

Around the Hickson household, spring starts out a little differently. I was reminded of this yesterday as I stood in our back yard, waist-deep in weeds, swatting at a mosquito with a rusty spatula and trying to remember the last time I saw our hibachi. Each year, I promise myself I won’t begin the spring by embarrassing our entire family.

And each year, a search and rescue team finds me whimpering somewhere in our back yard, surrounded by weeds, laying in a fetal position next to our lawn mower.

My family has a hard time understanding this. Especially since, in most cases, I’m found less than six feet from the house. I tell them not EVERYONE is born with a keen sense of direction, and that all of this could be avoided if I just had a riding mower with Onstar.

I generally lose this argument because, as my family points out, I could find my way out of the yard by following my own clipping path IF I didn’t insist on starting out with a crop circle every time.

That’s when I’m sent back out to mow the lawn with an orange rope tied to my belt. The mowing process can last up to several hours or, like yesterday, less than 15 minutes, depending on how long it takes me to run over the hibachi. While I can laugh about it now, I wasn’t laughing when I was blinded by a spark so intense it flash-burned the hair off my legs.

The good news is that neighbors unfortunate enough to be facing a window — any window — at that particular instant are expected to regain their sight within a few days.

However, this still leaves me with a partially mowed yard and what is now a two-piece hibachi set. On one hand, having separate grilling surfaces is nice, but only if the total net volume of what you’re cooking is equal to, or less than, one chicken drummette.
For example, I tried preparing hamburgers for our family. This process took just under four hours, the last 15 minutes of which was spent waiting in line for our order at Burgerville. That experience has led me to consider buying a new grill. Something I can cook multiple items on, which would therefore make it large enough to avoid running over with the lawn mower.

This is particularly important to me if we go with the propane model.

Then again, if I run over THAT, it could really speed up the lawn mowing process.

(You can write to Ned Hickson at nhickson@thesiuslawnews.com, or at the Siuslaw News at P.O. Box 10, Florence, OR. 97439.)

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Ned's Blog

I was a journalist, humor columnist, writer and editor at Siuslaw News for 23 years. The next chapter in my own writer’s journey is helping other writers prepare their manuscript for the road ahead. I'm married to the perfect woman, have four great kids, and a tenuous grip on my sanity...

30 thoughts on “Spring officially starts once you’ve mowed over your hibachi”

  1. We went to a home show last weekend, where the Mister had himself a Man Moment. Because there, amongst the completely useless services (no, we don’t need you to spraypaint the insides of our gutters) and somewhat sketchy salespeople (oh yes, $4,000 for a washing machine is a GREAT price!), there were LAWNMOWERS. Row upon row of grass munching machines. With multiple speeds, vibrating options, and detachable bags capable of holding quite a load. Sort of like a giant Hitachi.

    I sort of forgot where I was going with that train of thought…

    Something about spring, I think. And mowing. Or something.

    Batteries. I think I need new batteries.

    :: wanders off in pursuance (is that a word?) of personal ADD moment ::

      1. I get off the track as often as possible. I loathe running.

        Unless, of course, my husband is chasing me.

        But when he offers me vibrating options, I’m easy to catch. 😉

  2. Thank you for the image of you in the fetal position somewhere “in” your lawn!! My lawn is still happily sleeping under a large pile of snow, but I can now see my mower in the gazebo, mocking me with its hungry smile. If I owned a hibachi, I wouldn’t need to shave my legs for a while…..things that make you go “hmmmm”.

  3. as a former driving teacher, i would take my students driving in areas they were unfamiliar with to test their ability to find their way back home. many of them did quite well. for the others, let’s just say it is amazing how many of them agreed with me when i told them the sun rose in the north and set in the south. 😀

  4. I think you have a wild sense of humor and yet, grasp the importance of getting started on the lawn as soon as possible. Like the part about a huge orange rope to haul you back to the house, or something…haha!

  5. The part about the crop circle made me laugh… Louder than is socially acceptable… In a lecture. Oh well. The lecturers jazz hands distracted everyone from my outburst.

    I thought spring had started the other day. We had one day of sunshine… And then it snowed. Great start to spring, right there.

      1. Summer… Great… Killer bees just waiting to torment me. Ants getting everywhere… And I mean everywhere. Can I just invent some sort of job that will allow me to go into year-long hibernation? I would just be the best in the business

          1. Ah, but that involves some effort in getting there… I need something that will allow me to make some big claims about how awesome I am with no proof and then just sit back and pretend to be working as I scoff down Jaffa cakes feeling smug.. I do believe I have found my calling as a politician.

            1. Let’s see, “… make some big claims about how awesome I am with no proof and then just sit back and pretend to be working…” Yep, politics would be a good fit 😉

  6. And blow you clean out of the universe!!! My ex would grill in a hail storm and bring in steaks in a pan full of hail stones and water… And never notice. (He was drunk) and he’d get so mad when we’d refuse to eat it.

  7. Hire a landscaper, Ned. Then you can be the one to watch, laugh, and temporarily lose your eyesight when “the help” runs over the Hibachi. Win-Win, I’d say.

No one is watching, I swear...

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