Not that it’s a guy thing, mind you, …

Sometimes, I don’t know how my wife and I got things done while we were both on active duty.  The only remembrances of "honey-do’s" is the blur the weekends always seemed to be.  Now, as The Boss works during the days, I really try to knock out as much as possible so that the weekends are for whatever she wants or needs to get done. 

Call me crazy (although I prefer Toad), the smell of freshly mown grass, the feel of the earth, and the slight tingle of a sunburn on my neck beckon me this time of year — and honestly I look forward to it.  Ah yes, Springtime … trees are budding, bulbs are pushing through the recently mulched beds and … I’ve got the smell of high-test gasoline and "30-weight" oil on my hands.  Now into my 3rd Springtime since leaving the Force, I’ve realized that not everyone has this same … enthusiasm … for lawn work.  Imagine that?   

Why, or how, I don’t know.  But the knack for making small mechanical engines "work" was passed to me by my Dad I suppose, it’s in my genes. Each fall I tear down and store all of my lawn machines and then with the warmth of the Spring sunbeams, I put it back to gather with the goal of having "it" start, on the first pull.  I’m about 50-percent, I’d say.  Which is a great percentage rate I realized, after listening-in at the end of year spouses meetings. In the before-time, I hadn’t stopped to think about the trouble this time of year posed for those folks whose milspouse was away/deployed/geo-separated, etc. when it came to maintaining "the damn mower."

Now, it’s an added goal of mine to find those two or three or four folks whose mower sat all season with gas in the tank and 12 year old oil in the sump.  I bring in my gear and we attempt a Cardiac Repair of their Briggs & Straton.  Gentlemen (I know you’re out there), this isn’t necessarily a guy thing but … after you get your equip up and running  (no, not THAT equipment you heathen), look around you.  Make some phone calls to the spouses-grapevine, see if someone needs your help in getting their gear going.  It’s a little thing for you — but it could be a finger-saver to them.  They say a dull knife is more dangerous than a sharp one, … well I believe it doesn’t hold a candle to the dangers of a poorly maintained gas powered, rotating metal blade. 

Okay — get up from the PC and grab your Spouses Directory — make that call.  Then let’s go grab a sunbeam and the 30-weight oil, and help one of our compadre-spouses with their lawn equipment.  O&O, MaintenanceToadOne

About the Author


Maintenance Toad One, or simply "Toad", retired from the Air Force after 26 years and brings 18 years of marriage, 14 years of it Military-married-to-Military experience. His wife remains active duty Air Force and they have just completed their 22nd PCS, which includes Toad having two tours in the Middle East as well as the initial campaign of OEF. That life behind him, he now focuses on all things mil-spouse, turning up and speaking to any forum that will allow him the opportunity to address the issues facing the mil-spouse.

  • I don’t live near any other military families that I know of. But I have somewhat mischieveously passed this husband duty off to my neighbors. Actually, my neighbors’ adult son who mows their lawn. This is the only thing I have asked for neighborhood helped with. In exchange, I make them all cookies. Whatever type of grass we have on our block is still brown. A few green weeds are peeking through but no mowing just yet. But I better get started baking cookies!

  • InTheAirForceAgain

    Toad, you are so right about this time of a year being a hassle for those of us with deployed spouses! This is my first year managing the lawn care on my own and 3 weeks into it I can’t think of anything other than having the other half home to do this for me! I seriously considered hiring help but can’t shake the guilt of passing up a perfectly good cardio workout. For me the lawnmower isn’t the problem, it’s “the damn weedeater!” Thankfully there are some guys from the non-deployed squadron who live down the street and don’t have a problem answering panicked calls for help…3 weeks in a row! Thanks to you and the guys like you who take the time to help out when needed.

  • Sarah

    We just moved into a new house, and I spent all week trying to get the backyard started out of sand. Raking, picking up rocks, seeding, fertilizing… I don’t have anything to mow yet, but I’ll give you a call when I get grass and you can come mow it any time!

  • liberal army wife

    oh, if only my non military neighbours would read this… and I have a riding mower that needs work… of course up here on the frozen tundra, we have only mud right now. matter of fact, we master gardeners are telling people to get the heck of their yards! all the frost isn’t out of the ground. but you would like to come on up and fix that, and the weedeater and the brushmower…. this is the 3rd summer without DH…

  • Dude you rock! Seriously that must be a big relief for some spouses. I personaly like the yard stuff as long as it involves a comfortable riding mower, and the weedeating thing, but wouldn’t know what to do if they broke down. It is great to have friends who understands military life and jump right in to help. Thank you for being one of those guys.

  • That is an awesome thing that you do! I know that there are several spouses that would LOVE that! Isn’t it amazing how the slightest thing can brighten our day?

  • Kel

    i wouldve LOVED you for htat last year..i had never before in my life owned a mower.. We either borrowed or lived where they did lawn care for us. and before that i lived with mommy and daddy and didnt have to do the “dirty” chores that i have come to LOVE doing. I didnt know abotu draining everytign to store it away until my grandfather asked me in so i did it and got new this year and it started on the first try and all is good.. just dont ask me to sharpen any blades. me and blades do not like one I will definitely have DH check those when he returns from school this week thoug. THANKS!

  • dusty

    Can you come over? 3rd summer for us too.
    Faced with paying a lawn service big bucks or nearly having a nervous breakdown trying to push the monster-manly lawnmower/trimmer/edger again, I’ve decided to go to Walmart and buy a $100, lightweight, ladylike, nearly disposable lawnmower this year. Wish me luck…I’ll need it.