Tuesday, August 19, 2014

A Line Trimmer's Nightmare

With less than two weeks left at my summer job, I thought I'd share one of the things that makes my job not only difficult, but annoying and a pain.  As I cut grass at different parks all day (everyday), I encounter different "obstacles" for my line trimmer. These obstacles are always a frustrating challenge and I will be oh-so glad when it is no longer my job to make them look nice and neat.

For those of you who have never line trimmed (or weed-wacked/whipper-snipped or however you call it), you may think that line trimming is a straightforward, fairly easy job, but it's not.  The line can get stuck in different objects or can fling things at you--not just grass.  I've been pelted with rocks, pine cones, bits of earth.  And those projectiles have surprising reach--hitting not only my legs but my arms, hands, neck, face and sometimes smack-dab in the eye (luckily for my safety glasses).  One of the worst is when a sharp piece of something flies straight up your nose.

With all that in mind, I've composed a list of THE SEVEN WORST THINGS TO LINE TRIM.  Call it a vent if you will, I think of it as a piece of interest, really.

7. Bleachers
 Grass and weeds growing beneath wooden and metal bleachers.
Really, bleachers aren't too bad.  More so an annoyance.  The grass and weeds flourish beneath the boards and at times grow tall enough to touch people's shoes as they sit to watch a game.  It looks bad which means it has to be cut.  The only way to do so is by maneuvering the trimmer underneath and between the metal frame at different vantage points.  And even then, it's hard to get everything.

6. Low-hanging trees
Tree with low-hanging branches that impede travel near the trunk.
 A fair number of trees on our route have branches that stick far out and then hang low to the ground.  To get all the grass beneath the trunk, I've had to duck and dodge limbs and hunch myself into small spaces.  This wouldn't be so bad if many of the trees didn't have spikes/thorns or were pointy coniferous trees.  

5. Parking Lots
Concrete blocks found in parking lots to mark the curbs.
The stone blocks used in parking lots are descendants of evil.  An army in number, they never seem to end and all four sides need to be trimmed.

4. Chain-link fences
Grass growing up through a chain-link fence
Really, all fences are annoying, but chain-link fences are the worst.  The trimmer line hooks into the fence if you go to close, thus chewing up your line faster than you can blink, as well as ripping your trimmer from your hands.  The grass weaves between the holes meaning that no matter how close you get, at the end, there will always be bits of grass peeking out. These fences never look good.  I wish all fence makers built fences with a could inches of give above the ground.  The the trimmer could sneak under.

3. Soccer Nets.
Worse than chain link fences are soccer nets.  The flimsy fabric hangs on the ground meaning that you either need to be uber-talented to both hold it out of your way and trim at the same time, or you need a buddy.  Like with the chain-link fence, if you go to close to the netting, your trimmer gets sucks in and tangled within.  That means you then have to stop and extract it with the utmost care.  If you're not careful, you can tear the nets, too.  An utter annoying.

2. Ditches 
A giant ditch.
 You may wonder how ditches can be worse than chain-link fences or soccer nets, but ditches are awful.  My image doesn't do this one ditch much justice (and please ignore my finger!  I didn't realize it was there until we'd left).  The far bank continued on around a bend behind me and is over six feet tall.  Ditches are a pain because even though the grass may be nice, it's too steep for the mowing machines to get to.  That mean it has to be completely trimmed.  It's awkward standing on a slant while you trim and depending on how steep the ditch is, it can hurt.  Other problems with ditches is that wet days mean water or mud in the bottom.  Say "ah" for a mouthful! Let's not forget there may be red ant nests on the slopes so keep those feet moving!

1. Rocks.
a rocky bank
While all the above are bad, the number one worst place to trim: Rocks.  Or in this case, a rocky bank.  Like a ditch, it creates uneven footing that is multiplied by the rocky surface.  It looks gross before you trim and after you trim.  Rocks, like metal fences also chew your line, and if you're trimming with a buddy, you may find yourself pelted with even more painful projectiles depending on where you trim in relation to each other.  I feel like I cannot express how truly terrible it is.  

And yet, despite how much I hate trimming these obstacles, I feel a sense of accomplishment and pride when it is cut and looks good (well, as good as it can looks).  Still, I will not miss them when my time is done.

For anyone else who has done landscape/ground maintenance, does my list match yours?   

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