Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Lawnmower Saga of 2011

Anyone who knows me a little, or pays attention to random tweets or FB status updates that I post, knows that I obsess over our lawn.  And, honestly, its a curious obsession...I don't spend hours upon hours out applying fertilizer and weed treatments; I don't water the yard at all, but for whatever reason, I spend an unhealthy amount of time worrying about what it looks like.

During the summer months, much of my scheduling becomes based on when I can mow the yard.  We have a decent sized lot, not huge, but because all we have had is a small push mower, it takes about an hour and a half to mow.  Factor in the time it takes to cool off, shower, and get on with the rest of the day, its a long process that I plan for accordingly.  I never want to wait until a weekend, at times, because the grass can get too long and the yard won't look nice once finished (too many dried ugly looking clippings afterwards).  In any event, before I go into excruciating detail, just let it be suffice to say that I spend way too much mental energy worrying about getting the yard mowed.  Jackie will certainly verify that as truth.

So anyway, as I have been tiring of those long mowing hours, I have kept on thinking about getting a larger mower to cut down on my time and on the amount of work required.  I was thinking that the beginning of next spring would be the perfect time to purchase one.  Life, as always, doesn't work to my plans.  My little push mower, about a month and a half back, stopped running about halfway through.  So, considering that mechanical knowledge is only slightly greater than a European Swallow, I took it to a local place to get it looked at, and had a good friend who graciously allowed me to borrow his push mower for a couple weeks, so I could at least finish the yard and keep it somewhat normal looking.  

After about a two week period, I got the lawnmower back (it had dirt in the carburetor).  We had about a week of rain that prevented from mowing right away, so the grass was pretty long when I got out to finally mow about two weeks ago.  I get about a third of the way down, and the mower is smoking.  I take a closer look, its spitting/leaking oil.  Sigh.  I take it back to the place and explained all this, and they take a look at it.  In the meantime, two-thirds of the yard, which was already fairly tall, kept growing.  Then the temperature cooled just a bit, and was joined with several days of rain, and the grass took off.  Ellie looked like she was walking in a jungle when we took her out in the backyard to do her business.  And I am going crazy...not only is the grass way too tall, thereby by upsetting my obsessiveness regarding the lawn discussed above, but the fact that one-third is at one height and two-thirds at another is completely jarring.  (Obsessiveness in thought has its advantages, but it makes these small things much more anxiety ridden than they need to be).  

I get a call last Friday, before we are about to head out of town, letting me know that the it would cost more to fix the mower than what I originally paid for it, and essentially the same as a newer, upgraded mower would cost.  Ultimately, that makes it a pretty easy decision, but frustrating nonetheless when you have to purchase a new mower at the end of the season with so few times left to have to mow.

In any event, on Monday I went down to our local place and picked up a brand new Toro walk behind mower.  Only real upgrade is that it is self-propelled, and it has a little more horsepower than the other one.  Yesterday I used it for the first time to finish the other two-thirds of the yard, or to cut it a little bit until I can do the entire yard at a normal height this weekend.  Fortunately, for my obsessive mind on this topic, the self-propelled does seem to make a difference, which will at least make the task a little physically easier to do; and the mulching blade on this mower seems to work better, as it handled some tall and thick grass in some areas with little problem, and little evidence of heavy grass clumps, which was always a problem with my previous mower.

And who would have thought I could make an entire blog post out of a lawn mower.  That's what obsessiveness does for you.