Sunday, May 8, 2011
Lawn Mower Blues
My gift to my mother was a nicely mown lawn this Mother's Day Sunday. This may seem simple - no brainer - what is there to mowing a lawn?? Well, this being my life, nothing was simple.
A couple of years ago my brother bought a used riding mower, 1970's vintage, because it was a "special" edition of a lawn tractor. It was pretty cool, had a hydrostatic transmission and hydraulic mower deck. But it was pretty old, and took almost as much oil to run it as gasoline. Last week it took a dump, as in throwing a rod. My brother, who had been using this to mow the lawn, decided to sell it instead of putting more money into it. Since repairing it would have been a chunk of change and my change is limited, I was glad he was throwing in the towel and cashing out. He was able to sell it after just a few days of advertising it. Guess it really was a special edition to sell so quickly without a working engine.
That left me with a dilemma of what to do to mow the three or more acres of lawn I have. The next door neighbor was mowing it, but when my brother bought his tractor that arrangement stopped. Buying a new riding lawn mower was out of the question - very costly. Finding a used mower in good shape at a decent price at the beginning of summer mowing season is hard to do. My brother is trying to get things together to start his own establishment, so I needed something I could drive and maintain.
Although I work with healthcare and computers now, long long ago I helped with the family farm implement business. We sold mowers and parts for mowers, so I know a little something about what to look for. I saw an auction this Saturday (yeah, BEFORE Mother's day) with an older riding mower that is a good brand. I had to stand most of the day Saturday to wait for the mower to sell. Men were hovering around it, inspecting it, giving it the once over.
I was familiar with the going price on Craigslist thanks to my brother's research. There was another unadvertised mower at the auction that was a much better mower and even more men hovered around it. They ignored the dishes and tons of Christmas decorations that took hours to sell. I waited and waited, bought a couple of sombreros that I have since given away, and FINALLY it was time for the mower I was interested in to sell. About six men bid on it. I waited until the bidding was pretty well over, and upped the bid once and BINGO got the mower. I think if the more expensive mower had sold first I might not have been able to afford the mower I bought, because I could see the guys thinking - if I pay THAT for the older mower, then I won't be able to buy the newer mower. Thank heavens I was content with the older mower. I didn't have to check it out mechanically, because surely SIX men had already figured out that it worked.
Now I had the mower purchased, I had to get it home. My older brother came to the rescue and we managed to drive it right into the bed of his pickup and get it home. WooHoo!! Then I had to buy gas. Ouch!!! I then mowed yesterday and today, with my neighbor coming over and giving me pointers on how to run the dang thing. Thank heavens for people with real volume mowing experience. I got the knee high grass mown and have quite the sunburn going on. I will have a true farmer's tan on my arms. I think it took about 12 hours to mow the lawn. And that is without doing the trimming yet. Big sigh.
I did mow part of my other neighbor's yard in addition to my own. The older gentleman who lives there with his wife recently had knee replacement surgery, but he waited so long his muscles had atrophied so he is still unable to walk several months later. His wife is hemiplegic and unable to mow the lawn, so one neighbor is taking the far half, and this week I took the close half. I got it done just before their children got there for Mother's Day.
My brothers cooked supper for Mom, and my sister and one of my brother's bought her big bunches of penny candy, a lot of it from Mom's childhood, and some of it her old favorites like Snicker bars. I'm pretty stoved up from two days of standing and driving and burning, but Mom loves a tidy lawn so it was worth it. Now I just have to try to maintain it. Argh!!!
I go tomorrow for my pre-procedure testing, to make sure I can endure general anesthesia for the bladder/kidney test thingy. I am totally bummed because my car is even worse this weekend than last week. My brother is going to drive me in his pickup, and then take me to work and pick me up later. I don't know what I am going to do on the transportation front. I live three miles from town, so I'm going to have to do something fairly quickly. Argh x2!!!
Hoping you all had a pleasant weekend. The weather was lovely for getting a sunburn here - slightly hazy at a high altitude and a cool breeze. Got my annual May sunburn going on big time. Guess maybe Dr. Skinner will have to check me for even more sun damage next year!