My Mowing Crisis

On Saturday, I’m mowing for a client, everything’s going great. But the mower then starts to stutter, wheeze and cough. I notice oil has suddenly begun to leak, and clouds of whitish smoke belched from the machine.

You can tell how smart I am because I knew immediately something was wrong. Perceptive, aren’t I?

I was almost done with the lawn, so I struggled with the mower and finished the job. But I have another lawn to mow, plus my own.

The Boy Scout in me says “Be prepared.” I was prepared with a back-up mower stored in my shed, to help me through just this situation.

Darlusz the Polish frog looks doubtfully at my bad, jury-rigged repair try on a broken lawn mower handle.

Of course said back-up mower is really iffy. I bought it new a couple years ago on a Home Depot gift card. The mower was a lemon. I didn’t realize when I put oil in it the first day I had it that there was a flaw that prevented the oil from lubricating the engine. That would be a problem, so I screwed it up.

Home Depot would not let me return the mower, even though the problem was the manufacturer’s fault. That’s a long story, so I’ll let it rest.

I did get it fixed, so the back up mower kind of runs.

But of course there’s a lot of other things wrong with the mower. When I pulled it from the shed Saturday afternoon, a bolt that holds the handle onto the machine snapped like a dead, dry twig.

Darlusz Zabagaiski, the Polish frog that lives here at my house was watching the whole thing.

“Dat not goud,” he said. Darlusz has a keen sense of the obvious.

By this time, the hardware stores were closed, so I couldn’t buy nuts and bolts to fix it. “I’m a Vermonter, we’re famous for jury rigging things, I’ll just rustle around my work bench and find something to put things together,” I told Darlusz.

He looked dubious.

My options turned out to be very limited. The best I could do is take a big screw out of a Christmas tree stand, one of those screws that holds the tree in place.

I used the Christmas tree stand screw to connect the handle to the machine, but I had nothing to hold the bolt in place. So I resorted, to, yes, duct tape and string.

“Oh, dat iz ugly,” Darlusz said.

“Since when do I have to be Martha Stewart to mow the lawn,?” I snapped.

The job did look like something out of the Web site “There, I Fixed It,” which chronicles spectacularly amateurish and weird repair jobs. But desperate times call for desperate measures.

It actually worked for awhile but kept coming undone. At this point, Darlusz knew better than to say anything.   He went out onto the deck and watched me get more and more frustrated.  Finally, with the lawn two-thirds done, I gave up.

Darlusz knew what to do. By the time I got back in the house, he had an ice cold beer ready for me. I downed almost all of it in one swig.

Oh well. There’s a heat wave settling in, and the National Weather Service in Vermont says not to exert yourself outside this week. So I’ll see if the original lawnmower can be fixed (doubtful) and I’ll try to do better repairs on the backup.

The lawns can wait until it cools down, I cool down and the mowers cooperate.

2 Responses to “My Mowing Crisis”

  1. Jeff Says:

    That Darlusz, he’s a smart frog. We can all learn from him.

  2. kim Says:

    I am going to promote the desert look! Lots of sand and mesquite….I’m so sick of mowing and trimming!!!

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