A couple of weeks ago, on a beautifully warm and sunny day, I mowed the grass, pulled some weeds, and then settled on my porch to read a book.
But I couldn’t concentrate on the book. I wanted to be out in the sunshine. So I went into the shed and found our sidewalk edger and decided to edge the sidewalk. While we have owned this edger for many years, I don’t think we’ve ever used it.
I got started, cutting through the sod that had begun to grow over the sidewalks. I did a little, then decided to read a bit more instead of sweating in the sun. But my brain didn’t want to read, and my body apparently wanted to sweat in the sun, and I found myself outdoors again, cutting away. I’d had no idea to what degree the soil had washed and the grass grew over the pavement. There were places when I must have cut away three-inch-wide pieces of sod.
Eventually, Chef came home and we worked on the project together. As always happens when Chef is outside, his little neighborhood friend zipped past on his bicycle. To each other, we call this boy Dennis the Menace. He’s constantly there, asking to borrow our stuff, asking questions about what we’re doing, or just hanging around, watching. Dennis has a little brother too, who seems to be learning from his older sibling about how to irritate communicate with the neighbors.
“What’s that thing?” Little Brother asked.
“It’s an edger,” Chef replied.
“You should get an electric one,” Little Brother stated.
“An electric one?” Chef asked. “I don’t know if that would work as well.”
“It does,” said the Expert Little Brother. “I’ve seen ’em.”
“Doesn’t the cord get in the way?” Chef asked.
“It doesn’t have a cord,” Little Brother said.
“Well, it must be gas, then, instead of electric,” Chef said. “Otherwise it would probably have a cord.”
“Oh,” Little Brother said. “Well, it would be a lot less work.”
“Well, if we had a gas one, would you buy the gas for it?” I asked Little Brother.
He laughed. “No!”
I said, “Well, the gas costs money, so I’d have to work at my job to earn the money for the gas. Then I’d have to go buy the gas and put it in the machine, and then I’d still have to do the edging.”
Little Brother looked at me as if I were speaking Cantonese. Dennis, who had joined his younger sibling, had a similar look on his face.
“So really, it might end up being more work to have a gas edger,” I tried again.
Still, blank looks on their faces.
“And this way we get our exercise,” I said.
“Yeah,” said Little Brother skeptically. At least he seemed to understand exercise better than economics. A Dave Ramsey class would be lost on these boys.
“Ready to go?” Dennis asked Little Brother. And they zoomed away on their bikes.
So much for my lesson on personal finance. But at least our sidewalks and our yard look nice now.