Thursday, April 20, 2006

Temporary insanity

Yesterday I mentioned to the Spousal Equivalent [who was out of town] that I planned to mow, and that I hoped to mow the front yard – about half an acre – with the push mower instead of the riding mower.

The push mower is very hard to start. So hard, in fact, that last year I did not start it even one time. The weedeater and I got to be very good friends.

But there's a small slope at the edge of the yard along the road, on either side of the driveway, that really does need to be mowed occasionally, instead of whacked. So I figured after I mowed that hard part, I would move on to do the front yard.

I pulled the mower out of the shed, pushed it up to the driveway [when it does start, it starts more easily on a smooth, flat surface] and pulled the cord. About 30 times. Not even a sputter.

It just came back from its annual tune-up-and-sharpening trip, and I can only assume that the tuner-upper, my neighbor Tim, had started it. I gave it a break, hopped on the riding mower and did about an hour's work in the back yard, before trying again.

Second verse, same as the first. Except this time I kicked it a couple of times and said some swear words. I pushed the mower out of the shade, thinking maybe sitting in the warm sun would help when I tried to start it again. Back on the rider to finish the back and side yards. [We have about three acres altogether. Yeah, it's a load of fun.]

The third try – 30 pulls on the cord each time – had me in tears. I had to get cleaned up to go get a haircut, so I went inside, left a message for Tim, got a shower and headed for the hairdresser's. I left the push mower in the driveway with my work gloves on the handle, and hoped someone would steal it before I got home.

Now the whole point of wanting to cut the front yard with the push mower instead of the rider is that I would be exerting more effort. The discovery of a 'fat gene' at a time when everything we use to accomplish our tasks is designed to make accomplishing tasks easier is not, in my not-so-humble opinion, a coincidence. I wanted to put my muscle where my mouth is. So to speak.

My gloves were on the hood of the truck when I got home, and a small patch of grass had been cut. I called Tim and asked him why he didn't just go ahead and finish the job. I also told him how many times and with what effort I had tried and failed to start it. He said it started on the first pull for him. I told him I'd gotten it primed, kind of like opening a pickle jar.

At any rate, it fired right up for me, too, as I knew it would, since once it's been started it seems to remember what it's supposed to do. I mowed around things and down the slopes and even did some back-and-forth straight mowing for more than an hour. At this point I hadn't even touched the front yard. And I decided it was a good thing the Spousal Equivalent is a shrink, because I was definitely suffering from temporary insanity.

My Mowing Adventure began yesterday morning at about 9 a.m., and I finally got everything finished at 4 p.m. I started and ended on the riding mower. If I'd spent any more time with the push mower, I wouldn't even be able to type this morning. There are some muscles in your arm and back that are only used when pushing a recalcitrant lawn mower.

Bet you didn't know that, did you?

1 comment:

PastaQueen said...

I've never been able to start a mower that requires you to pull a string. It's one of life's embarassments, like how I've never been able to serve a volleyball over a net either.