procrastinator when it came to chores, except burning the trash in the big 55 gallon drum out back. I liked to light a fire and pretend it was a burning city.
Sometimes on those really hot days of August washing the car wasn't so bad either.
But I had little fondness for lawn mowing then or ever after. I considered it one of the great flukes of mankind or was it one of the curses placed on Adam after the fall. What a brilliant idea this, shave down the grasses and create a perpetual labor to be repeated ad nauseum during the hottest months of the year.
Nonetheless, through the decades I have managed to manicure my own grounds to the satisfaction of county codes, if not always to the particulars of some of my more green-thumb cursed neighbors.
As a boy, of course, I used a push mower, you know, no motor, all elbow grease. Very few people around had a power mower in those days, except those some where above the average blue collar families such as mine. Despite the fact that power mowers became to eventually outnumber the old muscle powered devices throughout suburbia, I continued to use such devices halfway into the 1990s.
I probably wouldn't have stopped then if my thyroid hadn't blown it circuits. When that gland decided to go rogue it sapped away my strength, even to the point I could barely walk. I certainly wasn't in shape to force a mower over our less than even grounds. I broke down and bought my first power mower. That was some time around 1995.
I think it ran pretty well for several years, but everything breaks eventually and one day I found it lying still behind the shed, four wheels motionless toward the sky. I tried CPR (crank, pull, repeat), but it was too little too late. It was gone. I went out and bought a replacement.
My wife never quite shared my attitude. She believed in a proper disposal of departed leaves, so crunching up dead leaves in a bag was a blessing.
That mower went belly up as well after a few seasons. It didn't seem to last as long as the former one
Well, this did me well until two years ago and suddenly it got temperamental. It'd start up instantly, but after I mowed several rows it would sputter out. It would rest a bit and then stubbornly not start until about the time pulling cord had turned my arm into a rubber band. Over the course of summer these rests grew longer and the starts grew harder and finally it gave up the ghost.
I thought this sounded like a clogged fuel filter. I went to Sears and found a fuel filter that I though was for my machine. I even asked the clerk and he agreed, so I bought it. I went home and torn the thing apart and what to my surprise did I find? This model mower did not have a fuel filter.
Thus last year I went up to Home Depot and got a new mower. I stood there and stared at an old-time push
mower for a long time, but since my wife often chooses to go out and mow the front yard (before neighbors begin throwing things), I figured she would prefer an engine. Our budget is an ever shrinking commodity anymore, so I went for the cheapest power mower on display, just over a hundred buck. (I think the non-powered push mower actually cost more.) This was your basic basic. It had wheels and it had a blade and it had a motor, but you supplied the push. There was no bag. It simply mulched up the grass and spit it out over the lot. It was a cool black.
It was wonderful. Without those self-propellant gears and no bag growing fuller by the row it proved light and fast. I mean I could blaze through all my yards and even do the east side of the house where none of my other mowers choose to go. We use to have to go hack that stuff down with weedwackers and sling blades.
Wednesday I was back in Sears looking at lawn mowers. It isn't that I wanted to buy a new mower and my budget is even worse than last year, but the grass is inching up and we must do what we must do. I admit, I stood again drooling over the old powerless push mower, but because of recent health issues I have once again grown weak and need the motorized help.
I next turned my sights on a battery powered mower. Wouldn't that be nice if it could do the job? There
would be no more running to the gas station and no more of that terrible noise. I could be environmentally friendly mowing away in peace and quiet. I inquired of the clerk about this machine. She was very nice, very helpful. It seemed it would do my sized lot, but battery charge (6 hours to fully charge) would depend on length of grass (keep it under 2 inches), and how wet the grass is (keep it pretty dry). I was tempted, but still didn't want to spend the money on something that might not do the job.
I turned and pointed to the cheapest gas-guzzling, plain vanilla, bagless animal and said, "Ill take that one." After paying the $170 (oh yeah this was the absolute cheapest one and on sale no less), I went down to the pickup area to receive my purchase. I dutifully pulled my car up along the loading zone. Inside I ran my receipt over a scanner and my name popped up on a status screen above my head. Shouldn't take long, I was the only one there.
As I waited in my queue of one a stock person came out the flappy doors of the warehouse and passed by me.
What a downcast face he had. His chin was so low it was in danger of being bumped off by his shoe. He looked like the dead walking. I got the feeling he wasn't overly thrilled with his lot in life, but he was quickly gone before I could offer him any solace. He would have probably eaten my brain if I had anyway.
A time or so later the warehouse doors flopped outward again and another glum young man came out behind a flat cart on which perched a large box. He said nothing. As he angled forward I could see "Lawn Mower" in big black letters on the side of the box. Ah, this must be mine!
He continued mutely pass me and out the door to the sidewalk, then down a ramp in the curb and around my car. Still not a word, no, "Are you Mr. Meredith?", no, "You waiting for a lawnmower?", no simple, "Hello". I walked to the rear of my car and opened the truck. He lifted the box off the hand truck and slid it in. Still not a word. I think Sears has Zombies manning their customer service pickup. I think he might have mumbled something when I said, "Thank you," but I couldn't make it out. He never even asked to check my receipt. He never even looked my in the eyes. I could have been anyone just snatching up a free lawnmower and he wouldn't have cared.
I worked as a stock person most of the last decade. This is not how I ever dealt with customers. This is not the way any store should want to be represented by their employees. I don't get these young men. With where the unemployment rate is these days (and it is understated to boot) any one having a job should be grateful to have it. If you don't like your job, then look for something else, but don't take your frustration out on the client.
Enough preaching, I drove home to assemble my new acquisition. I soon learned what a sad state I am
I couldn't even finish. By the time I got to attaching the mulch guard I was too tired to stand. I packed up my tools and called it a day. I went out this morning and finished up. I still need to get gas, but that's okay. I wasn't going to pull the cord and start mowing today in this heat anyway broke the record by 3 degrees today at 88). The grass isn't that bad yet that it can't wait for a cooler day for its execution.
"You thinking about the leaves," I asked.
"That's the fall. Let's worry about the leaves when the leaves fall."