To Mow or Not to Mow

Our new string trimmer (and edger and lawn mower!)
For the first time in our life, we are renting a home, so we are new to trying to figure out what is the responsibility of the landlord and what is the responsibility of the tenant. In our findings, this can be different in every case, depending on the agreement.

Regarding our lawn care (gardening), it seems the unwritten understanding is that we are responsible for the upkeep. A few weeks ago we had a gardener mow the grass for us for Q100 ($13 USD). We were back in the States while it was done, so I was not there to supervise. Evidently 'cutting the grass' only means to cut the grass you can easily get to, as no edging/trimming was done and it looked like the yard was hacked at with a machete (maybe it was). Needless to say, I was not looking for a repeat of this disappointment.

The previous tenants told us the neighbors son did the gardening for Q100 a month, which sounded great, but when I went to inquire, the gardener and his son came over to look at the yard and quoted me Q500 a month ($65 USD) - gringo price evidently. I told the gardener 'demasiado!' (too much!), but thanks for coming over. After a conversation with the landlord, he said he would speak with the gardener. A short while later, the landlord told me that the gardener's son would work a half day Saturday and a half day Sunday, for 30Q each half day. That sounded better, but it was an 8-10 year old kid, and I didn't know how much he would get done in that period of time, so I was still left scratching my head.

I had seen some of the old type of rotary lawn mowers in town, and went to one of the hardware stores to inquire of them. After talking for a while about them and the gas string trimmers (weedeaters) they had on the shelf, the manager (who spoke a decent amount of English), suggested an electric string trimmer, which cost Q550 (about $72 USD). Without realizing it, I must have subconsciously given the contemplative gesture that you learn to give to let shop owners know you aren't that interested, and that the price is too high. I was actually wondering if I could use it to not only edge/trim, but cut the entire lawn. The manager ended up telling me that he would sell it to me for Q450 ($59 USD if I bought it today) - DEAL! I left the store with the new trimmer, an extra spool of trimmer line and a pair of hedge clippers, ready and eager to work in the yard and make it beautiful.

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