Saturday, July 22, 2006

What Makes God Laugh?: Homeowner Edition, part one

It’s an old joke, and I find it more true every day. What makes God laugh? When people make plans.

I had plans for today.

Up early, get the mowing done* before the real heat kicks in. Shower and dig into the grading by noon.


My mower is old, at least 10 years and maybe more. (I’m thinking lawnmower years might be very similar to dog years.) Three or so years back, the gas suddenly started pouring out of the side. The mower doctor diagnosed it as dead carburetor. Eight weeks (really) and $160 later, the mower had a carburetor transplant and was back home.

So I pulled out the old guy this morning. He hadn’t had much use lately, but I had mowed the back yard last weekend and the front, small side, and back three weeks back (while patiently waiting for Neighbor Boy to do the rest, to no avail). I’ve had a lot of trouble starting the mower this year. Tall Son tried and he had no trouble, nor did Neighbor Guy, but I swear the cord would catch hard and whiplash my arm when I pulled it. So just getting the thing started was a trial. That done, however, I could mow along merrily until something made it stall out (tall grass, usually) or I chose to stop. Then there would be no starting it again for at least a half hour.

I managed to get the front, small side, and back mowed this morning, along with at least a tenth of the ginormous side. The mower had been making something of a clanging sound all morning, and smoke was wafting out the engine, so I was already trying on for size the idea that I’d probably have to buy a new one soon. (And yes, I did put more oil in the mower.) During one of my stall-imposed half-hour breaks, I researched prices at Sears, Home Depot, Lowe’s. So I was semi-emotionally prepared for what happened after I ran out of gas.

I filled the gas tank, stepped back, wiped my brow, and watched while the gas poured right back out the side of the mower. Deja vu all over again.

I really had other plans for that money.

Tall Son was building a building nearby and stopped for lunch. We caught up – hadn’t even had time to talk on the phone for over a week – and he agreed to stop by after work to unload the new mower I was about to go buy.

“It’ll cost you more, probably,” he said, “but get one with a Honda engine. Everything we use on the jobsite that has a Honda engine never needs anything but basic maintenance: oil changes, and so on. They never give us any trouble and they always start right up.”

Start right up. That sounds appealing.

One hour and $400 later (tax and extended warranty because darned if I’m dealing with a broken mower again any time soon), my new fire-engine-red Troy-Bilt-self-propelled-with-a-Honda-engine mower and I were home from Lowe's. This one, I'm pretty certain, is a female. Tall Son came by, got her out of the truck for me, put in the oil and gas, started her up.

She purrs. I swear.

So it’s not what I planned to spend my money or my day on, but at least I have Mower Security. Now I’m planning to get out there tomorrow morning before the tropical heat sets in and finish the ginormous side of the yard.

I’m hoping God’s not laughing too hard about right now.

*Neighbor boy and I have parted on amicable terms regarding the mowing situation. His family’s mower is simply not working properly. Going forward, I will do my own mowing.


The Minstrel Boy said...

I use horses. I had two out front yesterday, this morning my front lawn looks like a golf course. The original riding mower.

Bitty said...

Horses are good, better than self-propelling mowers if left alone to graze...