Well, those of you who read my notes already know that I have lawnmower troubles. Spring fever apparently hit me again today. I got up about 3:45 a.m. or so and did my usual morning work. I drove to work (with my eyes open) and opened the store. It was an uneventful day, other than me moving the counter to adjust the register to accommodate our horizontal challenges and clearing out all the shelf tags. I came home and tried to sleep. After lying there for 20 minutes or so, I realized that sleep was not coming. Pepper and I strolled to my Mom’s to deliver her mail, along with my Dad’s paper. We ate because my Mom still thinks I am the petite 90-pound daughter she once had. I am convinced that her primary goal in life is to feed everyone. She is an excellent cook though, so no complaints. I am also convinced that she wears “Mommy blinders.”
After we finished eating, Pepper and I walked back home feeling a rush of energy. We took our usual journey up the road and back home again. It was then that I decided I could air up the tire on my riding mower if I carried the air compressor outside. (The hose would not reach where it was parked). Surprisingly, I managed to lift the thing and stumble outside. Eureka! It worked. The tire was now fluffy. I recognize that the mower still needs a belt, but I came to realize that I might be after the wrong belt. Anyway, after I got the tire aired up, I fought a swarm of wasps exiting the hood. These were not tiny Northern wasps; these were huge, angry, red wasps. If you have never seen an overweight woman fighting off an angry mob of red wasps, be sure to put that on your bucket list. It is quite a sight to see. Once I averted the wasp attack, I thought it might be a good time to see if the mower would even start. It struggled but it started after a few tries.
I hooked Pepper’s leash to the seatbelt in my car. I leave the car door open so he can roam a bit. Since all my concentration was on the mower, I failed to notice what Pepper was doing. I walked to the open door and found him in the passenger floorboard. I forgot that he is terrified of the lawnmower, compliments of Star Puppy. I coaxed him out of the car and took him inside. He was fine with that prospect. The lawnmower is still running. Spring fever was coursing through my veins so I thought I would make a few swipes just to see if it would even work. It did. I kept the mower in a low gear so that I could observe any problems. I managed two circles in one section of the yard before it started spitting and sputtering. It died. I sat there a moment pondering the situation. I had failed to realize the weather-torn vinyl on the seat cushion might allow water to seep into the cushion. There I sat, with a wet ass and a dead mower. So far, I had successfully carried a heavy air compressor outside and aired up a tire, carried it back into the house, fought off killer wasps, saved a terrified Pepper, and I had a wet ass. Happy spring!
I continued to sit there for a few more minutes and then I pushed the mower up the hill to the house. I fetched the gas can and poured gas into the empty tank. I checked the tire again. Damn. I carried the heavy stinking air compressor back outside and aired up the tire. The engine was hot. The valve stem is facing the inside. I reiterate, “THE ENGINE WAS HOT!” I have to mention that my vocabulary had digressed by this point. It is not that I deliberately choose curse words to say, they just exit my mouth without my brain’s consent. I grew up on a farm. When you constantly face the threat of a bull charging you, a copperhead striking at you, and lawnmowers that refuse to cooperate, you develop a colorful vocabulary. Some people refer to it as “potty-mouth.” I prefer to call it “spontaneous Southern slang.” As I spurted out some spontaneous Southern slang, it occurred to me that I should not use some of those words. I convinced myself to sing, “Home on the Range” every time I had an impulse to curse. Okay. The tire is aired up…again, gas tank is full, seat is still wet, and engine is hot. “Home, home on the range.” It started right up this time.
I proceeded down the hill to mow some more. It went down the hill and cut the grass beautifully. It would not climb the hill. “Home, home on the range.” As I was singing, I remembered how the mower is prone to do this and sang louder. I began to rock forward and backward, just willing the damn thing to move. Again, if you have never witnessed an overweight woman rocking back and forth trying to move a riding mower while singing, “Home on the Range,” I encourage you to do so. When it is stuck on a hill, it is almost impossible to put it in neutral. The damn thing refused to budge. I began to sing louder. I think I heard some dogs howling across the creek. I was able to put on the parking brake. Of course, I had the blades stopped by this time. I got off it and tried to push it backward. I learned that I could not push it backward when the brake is locked. “Home, home on the range.” I unlocked the brake and managed to push it backward. After riding on flat ground, it climbed the hill and I parked it; however, I parked it close enough to the house that I will not have to carry the air compressor out again. I carried my wet, singing ass inside the house.
The butterflies in the air, the birds singing, and the flowers blooming signify the spring season is upon us again. What you do not hear about is the mutant killer wasps, the grass that grows inches overnight, and the ‘freakin’ lawnmowers that drive people insane. Spring, “Bah Humbug!” I just want to live in a world where the grass stays the perfect height. I want a mower with tires that never go flat and an engine that never gets hot. Preferably, one that can climb hills too. Is that really so much to ask? “Home, home on the range.”