As I went out to mow my grass today, I honestly thought lawn mowing issues were a best-forgotten part of my past. Perhaps that was my downfall. A disaster was looming.

This is an issue that’s been creeping up in little mini-disasters since my grass started growing again this year. The dreaded flat tire.

At first the disasters were ingorable. Sure, every row I mowed was cut higher on one side than the other. But it wasn’tbad, it was just a tiny little thing that no one but me would notice. Over time, that lopsided nature of the rows became less easily ignored, but still I mowed on, week after week. One afternoon while getting my mower out of (yet another) impossible position I’d managed to wedge it into, the Fella pointed to the back left tire. “That’s flat.”

And yes, it was. There was no denying it. I’d managed to convince myself that I was leaning to the left while riding along in the seat because my left side was significantly heavier than my right. Had nothing to do with my completely flat back left tire…. Nothing at all.

But once the Fella is on the case, he is quite persistent. He wouldn’t let me ignore the issue any more. He took my patched together cigarette-lighter charged air pump and checked to see if it was still functioning. It was not. An evening was spent re-patching, trying the cigarette lighters of both our cars, checking the fuse, and finally dumping the old piece of shit. A few days later, he bought me a new tire pump.

That was a little over two weeks ago.  The pump has been in its bag in my bedroom since. I had big plans for today (as I always do on my days off), and first on the list was eliminating the foot-tall yellow flowering weeds that had sprung up in my yard since last I operated my mower. I checked the gasoline, pulled the mower (with exceptional difficulty — flat tires make rolling heavy things difficult) out of the garage and up next to my car, where I’d assembled my tire pump. I was excited to get going on the thing until I took a closer look at the flat tire. Well F-ing A. It was the same tire Dad and I removed ages ago to such disastrous results. And when we’d put the hub cap back on (again, with exceptional difficulty — nothing about this machine is user-friendly) we’d neglected to note that the little air refill nubby thing was NOT poking through the designated hole. Essentially, this amounts to me having to REMOVE the hub cap in order to pump air into the tire.

I cried a little. Don’t think poorly of me, I know this is nothing, under normal circumstances. Removing a hub cap should be an easy business. BUT IT ISN’T. The ‘nut’ or ‘bolt’ or WHATEVER holding the hub cap on is entirely round and perfectly smooth. HOW DOES ONE REMOVE SUCH A THING? It’s about a quarter of an inch wide and butted right up against the cap, which is fairly indented at that point itself. I don’t know how else to describe this except that in the moment I saw this, I had flashes of a memory of Dad struggling to remove it before. It came off somehow after a fair amount of time on his part, but unfortunately, my flashes of memory (mostly blocked because of the misery of the experience) did not include a solution to my current predicament. Sigh.

Fortunately I have my Fella, who said he’d look at it later. Unfortunately, I’m afraid by the next opportunity I have to mow the grass, my weeds will have developed consciousness and started fighting back.

And to top it all off, I just drank a swig of a diet coke that’s been sitting on my bedside table for three days. Blurgh. But it’s been awhile since I’ve had any frustrations to vent in this forum, so cheers to that!

PS, Happy Birthday Mom!! I love you!

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And if God is laughing, I might as well laugh too. And for bonus points, I’ll share the laughter with you all!

Last time I tried to mow my grass, I would say the venture was half successful. I declined to share the story here because it seemed a bit like complaining, but it adds a little flavor to my woes of today, so I’ll throw it in for good measure.

I mowed the front yard without incident. I thought “Hey! This is actually gonna be easy! For once!”

Then I hopped off to open the fence to the back yard and the whole endeavor fell apart. I attempted to restart the mower to no avail. I pushed pins, lifted levers, turned knobs, clutched cranked and eventually, almost cried. The darn thing wasn’t even trying to turn over. Nothing I did worked. Nothing was happening. Gah.

Even worse, my eight hundred pound lawn mower was stranded quite some way away from my storage shed. Though I am not a frail little lady or particularly unwilling to get my hands dirty and sweat a little, there was no way I was going to be able to push that mower to the shed in less than an hour’s time. Ridiculous.

Fortunately, I know some clever people and only a couple of days later, it was determined that my battery was not well connected. Or whatever. Anyway, that was remedied and I was able to DRIVE that monstrosity back to the shed.

And today  I was bound and determined to mow both front and back yards again. The front yard was already beginning to look bad again and the back? Oh my, it was atrocious.

So this morning I got started early. I threw open the shed door with enthusiasm for the task at hand. I pulled (with all my might, may I add) the darned thing out into the driveway and started it up. With ease! Oh, finally, this time was going to be easy. Surely I had dealt with all of my mower issues and all would be well.

Once I’d driven into the grass, I engaged the mower blade. No, I take that back. I turned the lever to engage the blade, but nothing happened. Sigh. Of course nothing happened. Why would I ever think mowing my grass would be EASY?

My wonderful Dad suggested the owner’s manual for trouble shooting. Amazingly, MY MOWER BLADE WON’T ENGAGE is not among the trouble shooting topics. Really?

But I began to notice a pattern among the other mower deck/blade questions – the belt. So the belt was a potential problem. Ok, so back out in the front yard, on hands and knees, butt sticking up in the air checking the belt. Voila! The belt was unlooped from the little pulley things. And that’s as technical as I can get 🙂

For real though, for it being as easy as it obviously was for the belt to come unlooped, it was ridiculously difficult to re-loop it. There’s this bar sticking up that’s supposed to prevent the belt from slipping out (obviously a failure) that made it nearly impossible to get it back in place. I ended up using a pair of pliers (ummm… or a wrench? I’m not really sure which is which) to pry the bar away from the pulley so I could re-loop the stupid belt. All the time, butt sticking up in the air in my front yard. So attractive.

BUT I DID IT! I felt absolutely unstoppable after solving this dilemma. I plowed through both the front and back yards,  beautifying my property with ease.

Then I got a little cocky with it. I started taking corners at excessive speed.  I finished the yards proper and there’s this tiny little bit of grass near my shed  that is awfully difficult to mow with my gigantic riding lawn mower, as I have a gravel driveway and the mower blades don’t like the gravel driveway. But I can do anything and so I tried it out. It went smoothly for 0.267 seconds. I made a sharp turn and ran half the mower into a flower bed up against the fence. If you’re having a hard time visualizing this scenario:

Lawn Mower Situation

So don’t worry too much about scaling… obviously the mower in the upper left hand corner is far too large to ever to have found itself in that position, but let’s just assume it did.

 
The barrier into the flower bed (which, let’s be honest, is hosting honey suckles and weeds at the moment, and maybe a few chipmunks) is an old telephone pole laying on its side. It protrudes quite a lot from the ground. I drove over it too fast. I could not build enough reverse speed to undo my damage. Nor could I pull it out from behind. Nor could I push it from the front. That particular attempt resulted in a LARGE bruise on my thigh and quite a few scratches up my leg as I slid rather forcefully to the ground.
 
Fantastic.
 
It was at this point that I started laughing hysterically. Honestly, who else could get themselves into this much trouble JUST trying to mow the grass? I’m pretty sure God is trying to tell me that I just need to let the weeds be. To hell with being a good homeowner.
 
However, I can say with a fair amount of confidence that I am just trying to excuse myself from further attempts to dominate this machine that clearly is intent upon dominating me. Time after time. Not next time! I will prevail!
 
Only… can someone come help me un-stick it first?