The Weekly Edit: Mowing the Lawn in a Floral Dress

Aug 5, 2020

Think for a moment about your childhood, about the chore that you hated more than all others.  The task so despised that your dislike for it continued into adulthood.  For me, that chore is gardening.

My Mother is a Master Gardener.  Even in the picky climate of the Rocky Mountains, her flower beds are awash in colorful displays of peonies, allium, and iris.  Her handmade raised beds are filled with cucumber, squashes, peppers and onions — a salad bar for the elk and deer.  And she dutifully plants, waters, and prunes her gardens until they’re the envy of the neighborhood.

As a child, she would often force me to help her in the yard.  Perhaps she thought it would be a bonding experience.  More likely she needed the labor, and if I wasn’t smart enough to make myself scarce, then I was available to help.

The majority of our gardening disagreements centered around appropriate attire for yard work.  She in her washable shorts and polo; me in whatever I wanted to wear that day divorced completely from appropriateness to the task.  Nearly every morning, I was sent back into the house to change clothes because “that is not what we wear to work in the yard.”

Whatever my Mother finds fulfilling and life-affirming about gardening, I have never known it.  Hand me a scrub brush and gloves and I’ll clean every dirty toilet, squalid sink, and filthy floor in the place, but hand me a gardening spade and I might throw it at you.

That’s why Kyle is assigned all yard work and gardening chores in perpetuity.  At least, he was.

Last week, a summer heat wave turned our yard into a lush, overgrown jungle.  Our lawn was going to seed.  Gnats and bugs abounded in the deep foliage.  And with Kyle’s work schedule busier than usual, it became obvious that I was going to need to mow the lawn or we would soon need machetes to reach the garage.

Instead of changing into a pair of grubby shorts and a tank top, I decided that now that I am a home-owning adult, I’m going to garden in whatever the hell I want.  So I put on my favorite floral sundress and pinned my hair into a cute updo.

Overkill?  Perhaps.  But we live on a busy street, and I’ll be damned if my first public appearance since the start of COVID was going to involve athleisure.

Dressed in my cocktail-hour finery, I mowed our third-of-an-acre into perfectly manicured rows, expertly trimmed the flower bed edging, and pruned back the bushes.  Because if you’re going to be forced to do yard work, you might as well do it right.

Kyle, stunned both by my spontaneous embrace of yard work and my attire, sent a video of me to my parents.  And my Mother was finally forced to admit that yes, you can do yard work in your nice clothes.

Cultural appropriation is an oft-mentioned by poorly understood concept.  The Remix discusses how a handful of Black visionaries turned the hip-hop style of NYC into a fashion phenomenon without getting any of the credit.  From Dapper Dan to Misa Hylton, the documentary chronicles how the luxury brands went from shunning street fashion to profiting from it.  It’s an excellent watch if you grew up on early-90s hip-hop.

My hair is so dry right now.  My daily walks may be keeping me sane, but the ensuing sun exposure is killing my locks.  I needed a moisturizing hair regimen that is going to smooth out my dried up ends and soften the brassy tones.  These are the products that I’ve been using.

Briogeo Be Gentle, Be Kind Mask

Aussie Hair Insurance Leave-In Conditioner

Redken Brownlights Conditioner for Brassiness in Brown Hair

We don’t eat a lot of pasta in our house, but Half Baked Harvest’s 20-Minute Lemon Butter Pasta with Ricotta and Spicy Breadcrumbs caught my eye.  I added more squash, zucchini, and grilled some mushrooms and tomatoes to go with it as well.  We also added some Italian sausage.  It was a fresh, light take on pasta that was good for a quick summer dinner.

But I would only make half of the recipe next time because we didn’t finish the leftovers.  Pasta two days in a row is a little too much in August.

With a sudden abundance of time on my hands, I decided to take a class on non-fiction writing.  I’ve been enjoying it, so when our instructor mentioned that her first book was about the first year of marriage, I snapped it up.

Wedding Cake for Breakfast is a funny, relatable collection of essays from well-known women writers.  And it’s nice to know that nearly everyone finds the first year of marriage challenging.  Though hopefully they’ll write a sequel about what it’s like to be trapped in your house with your spouse during a global pandemic while you try to figure out if there’s ever going to be a right time to think about future plans when every day is just about survival.

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  1. Cait says:

    Never before have I wanted to work in a yard more than during quarantine! Instead, apartment living means my indoor plant collection is threatening a Jumanji-esque takeover.
    How are you liking the Aussie leave-in conditioner? I haven’t seen it before but I love Aussie 3 minute miracle per your recommendation. I’m crossing my fingers this could be a cheaper replacement for my beloved It’s A 10 leave-in.

  2. AB says:

    Kyle! Release the video!! We need this.

  3. Meghan says:

    Amen, sister. Recently “celebrated” our first wedding anniversary and a few friends were like, “How was your first year of marriage?” I responded basically that I have no idea because this year wasn’t normal at all and so I’m going to give us a pass. Cheers to more normal years in the future.

    • M says:

      I second this! Also I lost my dad unexpectedly last August, got married in October, and then a global pandemic. Teleworking in a city apartment since March. I have no idea what normal is.

  4. EWilso says:

    I too hated an outdoor task as a child. Growing up in Atlanta with droughts an expected phenomena, being the oldest, I was always tasked with watering the azaleas. every day my day would ask me, when he returned from work, if I moved the sprinkler all over tarnation (the yard) to make sure they all survived. Ironically, me and my husband’s first house with a yard… FULL of azaleas. I can so sympathize with your plight.

  5. Amanda says:

    I’ve not cut my hair since February… it’s gone from just hitting my shoulders to much longer, and I have given up on daily drying and straightening. It’s getting frizzy, the framing around my face has officially grown out, but I’m not sure that I’m ready to go get it cut. Anyone else struggling between embracing the pandemic and feeling like if things are reopening, regular conventions around hair care apply?

    • e says:

      Me! Normally I get my curly hair highlighted every 6 – 8 weeks and trimmed or cut 3 times a year. Not seeing a stylist since February has meant outgrown roots, a bunch of gray strands I blame on stress, and straggly ends. My stylist is a trainride away so she’s not an option right now. I can’t imagine sitting for a color but I do consider popping into a local place for a quick cut. But the other part of me feels like I accept what I have now (and have traded in blow dries for updos) and if I got it cut, I still wouldn’t look like I did “before” so maybe just going with it is the better option. I go back and forth on this ever day

    • MIchelle says:

      I don’t put product in my hair, color it or anything- but I did go every 6 weeks to cut it back to an inch above my shoulder, layer and thin it out.

      I made a haircut appointment the moment I could. My hair gets so heavy that it makes me really unhappy otherwise. Not only is the physical weight lifted but a mental one- how to get this out of my face without giving me a headache, etc. I was close to the point that I would just ride it out for a few more months and donate it again.

      I’d say go for a cut at least if you aren’t really close to donation length.

    • anonymous says:

      YES! I likely will not go to a salon until I have been vaccinated. Usually go every five weeks for cut (chin-length curly hair that I dry straight every morning) and color. It is now past my shoulders and there is a lot of grey. I am resigned that it will be half-way down my back, totally uncontrollable and very grey before this is all over. Which i just have to accept as a better alternative than contracting COVID-19.

      Here is what i have learned (not all of it good);
      – it’s not just that i think curls look messier than straight hair, it is also that the bottom is not sharp/clean because it has not been cut since February.
      – i need to stop pulling it into a high ponytail (which I haven’t been able to do in decades) when i run in the morning because that apparently is causing breakage along the hairline.
      – I really do not like feeling my hair on my face, neck or shoulders — but it dries more presentably if I let it dry loose and curly than if I pull it back (even not tightly) because that just makes it flat, flat, flat.
      – The key appears to be not touching it at all.

      Know that we are out here unhappily growing out our hair and making do by understanding that prudent and messy is better than sick/disabled/dead. We can do it!

  6. JBindc says:

    This image of you mowing made me laugh, and it was a much needed laugh after an ungodly early cranky toddler wakeup. Thanks for continuing to write awesome posts for us, I’m thankful.

  7. Mercedes says:

    I love everything about this story. Your blog is such a bright spot in the otherwise stressful days right now. Thank you for keeping this going and giving so many of us a little reprieve and something to smile about.

  8. E says:

    This story is so fun – thank you for sharing!! I love it.

  9. RKT says:

    I love gardening, but I also loved this story! Thank you!

  10. Ana says:

    Love the visual and storytelling od your garden adventure! Totally made me laugh ???? Thanks for sharing!

  11. Erica says:

    I believe you’re not a huge fan of the stone Yellowstone, but this has major Beth Dunn energy and I’m here for it. Keep doing you, floral dress and all!

  12. Kat says:

    We’re going to need to see that video for this story to be believed 😉

    J/k, but this video sounds extremely uplifting!

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