Hell on Wheels (tf)

Generally I carry on about weightier topics. But I’m feeling less pretentious today. And quite a bit aggravated by one of life’s little chores that can turn hellish with the pull of a rope. I’m speaking of course about cutting the grass…which seems a simple little task, and is actually if you have a device for cutting it that actually, you know…..works.

Since the cutting grass season has started I’ve gone through the following…

1. Four year old mower. Died multiple times. Always paid a guy to “fix” it, which worked out better for him than me because the “fix” would only last about 2 weeks. So I decided, much like throwing money into an old car, that it wasn’t worth it anymore. Besides, I had a free alternative.

2. My Mom’s mower. Mom is 84 and a neighbor cuts her grass for her, so she had no need for her machine. I gladly took it off her hands. First time I used it I realized that even though it’s “self-propelled”, that bit doesn’t work anymore. It’s amazing how lazy we’ve gotten, reluctant to even push a thing that has wheels on it without substantial help. But still, I’ve got hills and stuff, and this was a huge pain in the ass. But at least it worked. So I sweated through it, happy at least it wasn’t costing me anything other than wet clothes and curses. Until it started to make really funny noises one day….and nearly caught on fire. Dead. The most dead lawnmower I’d ever seen. You didn’t even have to try to start it to know that it had taken its last breath. I rolled it to the curb and waited for some fool to drive by and pick it up. It took all of 30 minutes. I hope it didn’t end up killing the guy. But…not my problem anymore.

3. Lowes here I come. This is a bad match. Me and Lowes. There is nobody who knows less about the stuff in Lowes than I. I stand in the middle of the store and become paralyzed. It’s like being dumped in a strange land where nobody speaks English anymore. I’m not interesting in “fixing up” anything. I don’t want to “build” anything. My brain is simply not wired this way. Put a screwdriver in my hand and I need to ask which way to tighten. Every time. Eventually, I stumble on a wall of wildly priced lawnmowers. I do what I always do, which is buy the cheapest one that has a name I recognize. The name escapes me now. I get it home. I put it together. And it won’t start. The pull cord? Won’t let you pull it. Seems perverse to have such a thing….but if it’s gonna happen it’s gonna happen to me. So I load it back up and bring it back. Guy says “what’s wrong with it?” I say, “can’t pull the cord”. He says, “that’s ’cause you didn’t put it together right. See…”…he then proceeds to disassemble and reassemble the thing while I’m standing in line. Before he’s done showing off his manly skills, I’ve had enough. “I don’t care. I don’t want it anyway”. He’s genuinely taken aback. “You don’t want it?” “No, I don’t want it. If I’m too dumb to put it together, I sure as hell ain’t gonna be able to use it.” And so that’s that. Poor slob. He looked at me like I was an escapee from a mental ward. Show me up will you? Screw you, I’m heading to Home Depot. Which brings us to…

4. This one was $100 more….but said “no assembly required”. Worth it. Got it home. Started right up. Only problem? Blade wasn’t turning. I thought that was the point? Was near tears at this point. Looked at the directions for the first time. Turns out there were a few steps to take. I missed one of then. The one numbered “1”. Hooking up some wire or another. Live and learn I guess. So after about an hour I was sailing through the high grass like a hot knife through butter. But still, why did I feel the ever-present sword of Damocles over my head? Ah yes, now I know. The second time I used it, while halfway through my backyard….it stopped. Gas? Plenty. Oil? Yep. Pull cord? Well, you know the rest. I nearly ripped the arm out of my socket. Cord would not budge. I stop outside staring at it for a long time. Then it started to rain.

I went inside and googled the make and model and “pull cord won’t pull” and found about 5000 other saps with the same problem. The solution? Well, there was many things to try, and I tried them all, but in the end the one that kept getting the most play was “return it”. So I did. Guy said “what’s wrong with it?” I said, “can’t start it…cord is stuck”. Here it comes. But no, he just said “well that’s odd” (“not really” I wanted to say…based on my online research) and took it off my credit card. I said, “I want another one”. He says, “the same kind?” I say, “yea, I figure it can’t happen twice.”

Yes, number 5. Five.

So I look for help to get it off the shelf. Guy I find makes me go outside and find a wheelie cart, then when I do he tells me all about his bad back…so I end up lifting the thing and nearly killing myself while he stands there and supervises. I get it out to my car and ask the first guy I see who looks stronger than me (took about 2 seconds…a customer, not an employee mind you) to help get it in the back-seat. He says sure and I’m all set. Lawnmower number five. Got it home…remembered step one this time, and was all ready to go when the skies opened up and it started pissing down rain. That was yesterday. It’s been raining ever since, so I haven’t had a chance to break this one yet.

I’ll keep you posted.

–Tom Flannery

~ by admin on May 15, 2012.

2 Responses to “Hell on Wheels (tf)”

  1. Luddite 10

  2. Just hire someone to do it, sometimes it’s just easier to admit you were not meant for manual labor.
    ps. I hate Lowes & Home Depot..I don’t even like the smell. Meanwhile, it’s like porn for my husband.

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