28 April 2007 by Published in: General musings 11 comments

People often ask me how I manage to practice law full time and be a prolific writer. I always tell them it’s all about discipline, but there’s really more to it than that, although self-discipline is certainly a critical element of my success.

I’m extremely fortunate to have an extremely understanding and cooperative wife in Susan. She wholeheartedly supports my work, and her indulgence goes a long way toward making me as productive as I am.

I’ve also been fortunate enough not to have been blessed with being handy. I’m not. I have a few very basic skills, but beyond that, I’m not handy at all. As just one example, the last time that I tired to build something out of wood by myself, it was the summer between my freshman and sophomore years in college when I built a rack for my stereo components. I still have it all these years later. It’s not pretty, but it is very functional. However, it means that I seldom have projects around the house to occupy my time.

There’s one other reason. We live on a good sized lot, about four tenths of an acre. That means we have two pretty large yards, including a fenced back yard. With three big dogs, that’s critical. For the past ten years or so (we’ve lived in this house for 12 years), I’ve paid a guy to mow our lawn. It’s something I’ve been more than happy to permit someone else to do. However, with Susan unemployed and my cash flow not flowing yet after leaving the firm, money’s been very tight around here. Consequently, after discussing it, we decided that it wasn’t smart to spend $150 per month to pay someone to cut the grass right now, so we’re going to do it ourselves this year. Susan did it last week, meaning it was my turn today. It’s literally been ten years since the last time I did it, and I’d forgotten just how miserable of a job it is. For one thing, the little trees that weren’t really much of a hindrance ten years ago aren’t so little any more, and they most assuredly are a hindrance now. For another, parts of our back yard don’t drain well, and it’s a gooey, muddy mess in the far left corner. Finally, with three big dogs, there are, shall we say, lots of land mines out there in that yard to avoid. I stepped in one tonight. It took me an hour and a half and I was a sweaty, dirty mess by the time I was done, and my elbow was bothering me, too. I took a shower, and now I’m vegging on the couch.

That’s an hour and a half that I could have been writing….. ๐Ÿ™‚

Scridb filter


  1. Steve Basic
    Sat 28th Apr 2007 at 10:19 pm


    Yet another great post. ๐Ÿ™‚ After years of mowing the lawn here, I just had it with that weekly chore and for the past 3 years I have had a landscaping crew to do the yard work. Safe to say, I don’t miss it at all. ๐Ÿ™‚

    They came a few days ago, and while they were outside working, I was reading an article on Tom’s Brook that is featured in the new issue of North and South by this “prolific” writer I know. That beats mowing the grass anytime.:)

    Hope all is well.

    Lazy in the Garden State,

    Steve Basic

  2. Sat 28th Apr 2007 at 11:11 pm

    I wish I could live with mediocre lawn service, I can’t. Everyone I’ve tried just doesn’t do a good job so I did the reverse of Steve and went back to mowing and trimming myself. I don’t have dogs but I have a very large back yard with a 12-14% grade. Going on 69, the mowing task becomes more of a poor man’s stress test. So far, I haven’t caved in and bought a riding mower.

    The lawn looks like I want it to look, I get sweaty and worn out once a week, and then I hike a lot to stay in shape for mowing the lawn. But if I wanted to be a prolific writer, I would find some way to unload the chores.

  3. Dave Powell
    Sun 29th Apr 2007 at 6:55 am

    Getting back in touch with the common man, Eric?

    I also hate the lawn. I also have three big dogs. My lot is smaller, but I completely sympathize with the land mines.

    For all you guys who mow, please don’t tell me you also fertilize, or worst of all, allow Chem lawn to visit. All you do then is encourage the stuff to grow more…

    Dave Powell

  4. James Epperson
    Sun 29th Apr 2007 at 11:05 am

    My idea of lawn care is: Pave it over and paint it green! Alas, the wife
    does not agree, so we must mow. I wish the botanical geniuses would
    develop a grass variety that would cease growing at, say, 4″.


  5. Sun 29th Apr 2007 at 5:35 pm

    I have a very small lawn but my husband and I are on the same page about it. Each year, we extend the garden in front of the house so the lawn is slowly disappearing. I’m all for xeriscaping. Just let it go wild.

  6. Sun 29th Apr 2007 at 7:04 pm

    I guess it’s not a bad thing that we ended up not moving into the house we built last year. The yard there would be twice as big. ๐Ÿ™‚


  7. Sun 29th Apr 2007 at 10:05 pm

    We have a much smaller yard to cut here in York, PA (0.75 acre) versus our old house near Cleveland (1.3 acres) with my push mower, so I’m thankful for less yard to cut. I can read Eric’s blog with the time I save!

    Seriously, the time savings is great, instead of over two hours of cutting grass.

    Of course, I think about all those folks who cut grass at Gettysburg all day long everyday all summer. Yikes!

  8. Rob Wick
    Sun 29th Apr 2007 at 10:15 pm

    Think I’ve talked the missus into letting me get a rider (especially since she’s been pushing the mower lately), so I can mow without so much sweat. Praise be!


  9. Rick Allen
    Mon 30th Apr 2007 at 8:21 pm

    Eric, I hear ya! I hate mowing the lawn……….always have………….but I still do it, though I dont have the size lot you have to contend with.

    My dad always called cutting the grass “meeting the Frenchman” …and I learned to dread when I was old enough to meet that notorious frog named…….. “Moe DeLawn!”.

    I’ve known him ever since,……. and I still dont like him. ๐Ÿ™‚



  10. Mon 30th Apr 2007 at 10:12 pm

    It’s comforting to know that I’m not alone. ๐Ÿ™‚


  11. Mike Nugent
    Tue 01st May 2007 at 10:43 am

    Yet another reason to move north from those southern climates! The last bit of snow has just melted from my yard (early this year, it’s usually around until mid-May at least) and it will be several weeks before I even consider mowing anything!

    I’ve got 3+acres which is mostly wooded. I do my part to go “green” by leaving as much as possible in it’s natural state. When I do mow, all I really accomplish is to knock down the dandelions for a few days.

    Maine – The Way Life Should Be (at least that’s what the sign says when you cross over from NH!)

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