“Thou Shalt Not” by Shari Courter

This story appears in the anthology “Not Your Mother’s Book…On Home Improvement.” 

Several years ago, my husband bought me a weed-whacker for Mother’s Day. I’ll let that sink in for a moment. My Mother’s Day gift was a weed-whacker.

It’s not that I’m complaining about being the one who did all the yardwork. And I’m not the type that always expects a gift, but something about opening that weed-whacker on Mother’s Day didn’t sit well with me. It didn’t help when my husband saw the look on my face and said, “This one doesn’t plug in, so it will make your life a lot easier.”

No, what would make my life a lot easier is if YOU did the yardwork, I thought. But I didn’t say that out loud.

The biggest problem with the make-my-life-a-lot-easier weed-whacker was that I couldn’t start it. Clearly, this super easy weed-whacker was made for a man, but little did they know. Since it doesn’t plug in, it contains a tank for gas that rests under the handle and adds about 5 extra pounds to the machine. Since I could no longer simply turn it on by using a switch—like I had with my old one—I had to figure out a way to balance the contraption on one leg, hold the handle steady and trigger down with my right hand, and yank a pull cord as hard as I could with my left hand. Gee, that does make my life easier! I sarcastically said to myself while struggling to start the machine.

The bottom line is that I could not start that freakin’ weed-whacker by myself. I had to beckon my husband outside every time I needed to start it, a process that entailed waiting for him to put something on—other than his boxer shorts—and trudge outside, while loudly commenting, “It’s really hot out here.” To make matters worse, I also lacked the capacity to keep the stupid thing running after he started it. It wouldn’t die right away, mind you. It waited until he was back on the couch in his boxers.




That was 2008. The next Mother’s Day—in 2009—I did the yardwork after church. No complaints. I find it relaxing to ride the lawnmower around an acre of land, wearing my bathing suit in the warm sun. I don’t even mind push mowing the trim, as I chalk that up to productive cardio. But then it came time to drag out that horrible piece of machinery. My nemesis. That freakin’ weed-whacker. Notice the term “weed-whacker” never stands alone anymore.

I made the same mistake I always made. I attempted to start it by myself, repeatedly. Until I was hot, sweaty and pissed. I screamed my husband’s name in my most terrifying demon voice and waited for him to appear. Round two of our ritual began. He started that freakin’ weed-whacker and just as he disappeared into the house, it died.

That’s when I completely lost it. The meltdown to end all meltdowns took place right there in the front yard, in my bathing suit, on Mother’s Day. I had a knock-down, drag-out, F-bomb-dropping, testimony-losing tantrum and I literally beat the shit out of that freakin’ weed-whacker.

Shari, the freakin’ weed-whacker, and some Amish friends . . .

Shari, the freakin’ weed-whacker, and some Amish friends

Standing there panting and dripping with sweat, I heard it—the clippety cloppety sounds of horses’ hooves on the road directly behind me. I slowly turned around to see a caravan of Amish families trekking by our house with hands over their children’s ears, their mouths agape with horrified looks on their faces, thus forever confirming their stance against technology. Glad I could help!

I don’t do the yardwork anymore. Not just because of that incident, although that certainly contributed. Somehow after that, I lost my yardwork mojo. I started running into things with the riding mower and my husband had to change the mower’s blades four times. And I lost focus. I stopped noticing our son’s golf balls scattered in the grass and needless to say, things got dangerous out there.

My husband finally put his foot down and announced that he would be doing the yardwork from then on. So far, he’s lived up to that promise, with exception of one thing. He has yet to use that freakin’ weed-whacker.

HomeImprove 250_RGBShari Courter is married to her high school sweetheart, Ron, and they have four children; Zac, Aubrey, Kearstin and Caymen. Shari is a licensed massage therapist and stay-at-home mom. In her spare time, she enjoys not doing yardwork and blogging about her family’s antics.

Again, this story appears in “Not Your Mother’s Book…On Home Improvement.” The book is filled with 65 very funny stories by do-it-yourselfers. Purchase this book today from your favorite retailer, Amazon (http://amzn.to/Hm66pb) or Barnes & Noble (http://bit.ly/1w5gLvO).

To submit your stories for consideration in future NYMB titles, go to http://www.PublishingSyndicate.com and click on the “Not Your Mother’s Book” tab.