Monica Bielanko
That's What She Said
Just A Junk Drawer Dream
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Mower, Marriage and Mayhem!


It was to our very great surprise that Saturday found me and my husband wandering the aisles of Home Depot in awe. It truly is the depot for everything home! To our even greater surprise, my husband and I left the building with a brand new, fire engine red lawn mower. The Mower, she is beautiful and shiny and sleek and sexy with kickin' curves and a seductive growl. But wait. I'm getting ahead of myself.

The lawn mower was a MUST HAVE. We have recently become those neighbors. The ones whose grass is nearly as tall as their house, where you can't see the front door for all the weeds. If we didn't buy a mower we had decided to just go with the weeds; we could teach Max to bark viciously at all passersby and begin the search for a rusty 1979 El Camino with chipped racing flames painted along the side that we could place on blocks in the front yard. I could wear spandex all the time, could drink ALL day long (dream come true!) and shout profanities at small children walking home from school. But have you ever tried to find a '79 El Camino with racing flames? There just aren't any on CraigsList. And Max will serve would-be burglars tea and crumpets on the good china and show them where we keep our credit cards before he'll bark at strangers. Lawn mower it is, we agreed.


An hour after leaving the Home Depot, my betrothed found himself putting together a lawn mower in his Man Room garage and I began happily planting flowers in our front yard!
"I don't even know who we are anymore!" Serge shouted from the garage.
"I know! Shouldn't we be drunk at a bar somewhere? Or, like, fighting about money?" I replied.

Our suburban bliss lasted but seconds more. Before you can say PATIO FURNITURE a barrage of profanity sliced through the azure evening sky.
"I broke it! #$%&!!!! I managed to do the only @!#$&*# thing you can do that ruins the mower! GODDAMMIT!!"
"Wait. Let's just pause and think this thing through", I replied calmly, obviously high on weed killer and the gasoline we had purchased for the mower. "You can't break it just by putting it together wrong."
"Yes you can! I put the string thing that starts it on the wrong screw. You can't undo that. It's ruined."

We went on in this manner until we were arguing about who said what that one time in 2005... and then my distraught husband repaired to bed. But I had a plan. To shame him and win the argument, which is, of course, the most important thing. I was going to wake up early, put on my tightest shirt, take the mower to Home Depot and coerce some eager, young, male, employee into fixing my mower. I would return home just in time to be lounging on the couch with my morning coffee so that when Serge awoke I could smugly utter; "I've just fixed the mower. You can mow the lawn now."
Oh, he'll feel so foolish! I rejoiced to myself.


Early the next morning Max and I saddled up in my car. As I was pulling out onto the busy street a few blocks from our house a flash to my left caught my eye. There bolting across the street was a dog! Dragging a leash! And several cars were headed toward him! Without thinking I slammed my truck into park and jumped out in an effort to catch the fella as he darted past.

Unfortunately, I forgot to close my door. As I sped toward the dog, my dog gallumped past me in his effort to get at the runaway canine. As he scampered by I glimpsed an ecstatic look on his face like, Running in speeding traffic!! Isn't this a fun game!!!

My beautiful, black son was headed straight for one of the busiest intersections in Salt Lake City!


The quality of my scream frightened even me. It was a raw, horrified shriek. And it stopped Max very nearly in his tracks. From full-on run to complete stop. He turned around and ran right back to me. I grabbed his collar, embarrassed that four or five drivers had pulled up behind my abandoned vehicle and were watching the drama unfold.

As I dragged Max back to the car a fire truck laden with a half dozen strapping firefighters roared past and stopped on the road at an angle so as to block traffic. Aforementioned lads jumped from the vehicle and began wrangling the dog that was causing all the Sunday morning commotion. And commotion it was! More Sunday action than the church-going folk 'round these parts have seen since April when Jimmy Christiansen dropped his mother's casserole dish on his way over to welcome us to the neighborhood with her signature Tuna Casserole!

Several concerned motorists that had stopped their vehicles cheered. Not when Jimmy dropped the casserole, at the firefighters rescuing the runaway dog. And life was good. Especially since I got the lawnmower fixed within seconds, had time to get home and wake up Serge with a cup of coffee and the sentence I fixed the lawnmower, idiot.