My husband was concerned as he left for work the other morning.
He'd just heard, on the news, it was supposed to start raining that afternoon and continue off and on for a few days. His beloved yard would be very tall by the time he had the chance to mow it again.
SO, in an effort to avoid more stress in his already stress-filled life, I decided to MOW THE YARD!
That idea may not seem like such a big one to many of you fine folks out there who already are Mowers of Lawns, but it was a HUGE decision on my part. I hadn't mowed in years and then it was with a push mower. Unfortunately, because of a shoulder problem, I couldn't pull the cord to crank up the push mower. So my other option was to use the RIDING MOWER!!! That was the problem. I didn't have a clue as how to operate that enormous piece of equipment my husband so dearly loved!
I finished my coffee and shuffled back to the bedroom, where I dug out my oldest jeans and a grungy shirt and a pair of my rattiest tennis shoes. Decked out in that attire, I looked in the mirror and studied the pitiful chick I saw looking back at me. "Give me a sack and I'll look like a Bag Lady," I thought. Oh well, I couldn't restore my faded beauty, but I could at least try to do a favor for my Elder Prince Charming by mowing the yard and I could put on a big hat and disguise myself. Maybe the neighbors would think we'd hired the mowing job done this time!
I made my way to the corner of the garage and found the Green Beast---- waiting!
As I said, I didn't have the slightest idea of what to do with that machine. I had NEVER even perched myself atop it.
"Lordy," I thought as I looked at it in all of it's GREENESS, "I do NOT want to do this!!" The Green Beast was looking back at me--I'm certain it did not want me to experience my maiden riding lawn mowing experience on it! I swear little green tears were trickling from each headlight!
As the machine and I squared off, the phone started to ring! It was my daughter!
Yes!! SHE used to mow yards for money in her youth! By now I was seeing visions of the blond pony tailed teen roaring over the yards of neighbors accurately maneuvering the Green Beast we owned at that time.
My eyes were opened wide, as I suddenly took on the features of the Smiling Grinch as he was about to enter Whoville. I said to her in my sweetest voice, "Do you suppose you would have time to mow the yard for----for your DAD this morning?"
I held my breath, waiting for a positive reply.
"Uh, no, Mom. I have to go to work in a few minutes," she quickly shot back.
Rats! My hopes were dashed. She wouldn't be coming over to help out her old parents, so then I asked her, "Well, can you at least tell me how to 'work it' ?.
"Mom," she said, "I used a different one (mower) . I wouldn't have a clue as how to run this one. Why don't you get out the instruction manual?"
The INSTRUCTION MANUAL!
Oh my goodness. She actually suggested to ME, her elderly, feeble Mom, to get the INSTRUCTION MANUAL out and figure out how to operate the Green Beast!
On my own.
All by myself?
OH, the sacrifices I had made for that girl and this was the thanks I got!
So I dug out the INSTRUCTION MANUAL. Oooops--the "Operator's Manual".
I studied the manual with the intensity of a brain surgeon reviewing a complex procedure.
OK, I exaggerated that part a bit. I flipped though the pages and got the general idea.
I located the levers and. . . . . .
the gas tank (Yes! it had gas in it--one less issue!!) and. . . . . .
the pedals that made the Beast go forward and backward (see, some bright man decided to put ARROWS on top of them so all you had to do was LOOK at the directions they point to know which one to press!) I also located the STOP pedal!! Whoo-hoo--I was in business!
One more quick review of the "start up" section!
I was brimming with confidence!!
I took a deep breath, released the brake, turned the ignition key to the first position, pushed the choke lever up and cranked the key full blast.
Yikes!! The Beast shimmied and shook and came to life!!! It coughed and spit a bit at first, but it was "running"!!!
"Oooh-Oooh-Oooh," I wildly thought, "What do I do, now?"
Then it came to me!
I needed to step on the pedal with the arrow that meant FORWARD!!!
With the Beast still shaking beneath me, I stomped on the forward pedal and shot out of that garage door like I was riding a Green Rocket!!
Whooooooaa!!! "What now, what do I do NOW?" the thoughts were racing through my mind as I was quickly making my way across our yard and in the direction of the Neighbor's Yard--with a death grip on the steering wheel!
"I need to TURN this baby around and go the OTHER direction for a bit!" I wildly thought.
With just a bit of hesitancy, I cranked the steering wheel to the right and Wha-Lah--- me and the beast were heading in the OTHER direction! Oh JOY!!! Oh Happy Day! I was driving the Green Beast!!
I was slowly getting the feel of maneuvering the machine. Hmmm, I thought. This seemed pretty simple!!! Back and forth a few times and I'd have that yard cut in short order! What was the big deal? I had figured it out!
I have to admit, I was feeling preeettttty cocky at that point! I looked back behind me admire the new swaths I was leaving behind me. Unforturnately , all I saw were the squiggly lines I had created over the once perfectly straight lines my husband had left in his last grass cutting event. "Oh, well," I thought, "I'd like to see him hem something with my sewing machine." This would just take a little practice!
Then I decided to look down and watch the grass shoot out the little grass "shooty out spot" on the mower---located just beneath my right foot. Strange. There was no grass coming out.
I didn't see anything coming out!
Something was amiss.
Apparently, I was just mashing the grass down---there was no cutting activity taking place!
At this point, and against my better judgment, I stopped the Beast and I called my husband at the office.
He was giggling with delight when I announced I was mowing the yard for him. "Yes," I told him, "I'd gotten it started, but for some reason, there was no grass coming out of the grass "shooty-out spot."
This predicament seemed humorous to him. After he composed himself, he asked if I'd lowered "the blade deck".
"Well, no," I replied, "I thought it was already in the spot it needed to be located. How do I do that?"
He told me to look at the directions that were printed ON the Beast--right where my feet went!
AH-HA! I thought, another brilliant idea from the maker of this product. Evidently, I wasn't the ONLY person who missed this part in the manual!! It seemed to me that this has been a problem for them in the past, so they decided to stamp the information i on the machine!!
My hubby informed me he had it set to cut the grass at 3 1/2 ". He wanted it kept at that level, but if no grass came out, then lower it to 3" because maybe the grass hadn't really grown that much since the last mowing! "Hmmmmm, " I thought.
I hung up and climbed back on The Beast.
OK!! Since no grass was shooting out--I needed to lower the blades.! I was capable of pushing a lever and turning a knob! I positioned the cutting level to 3"!
And I was OFF again---certain this adjustment would result in grass spurting from the "shooty out spot"!
I stopped the engine and turned the dial to 2 1/2". This seemed like "scalping level", but I didn't care. That danged yard was gonna get cut!!
Off I roared again and soon I looked down, certain grass would be spewing from the side!
This time I said "enough" and pulled that baby back in the garage.
By now, I'd been messing with this chore for long time! I closed the door and came inside, noticing how I smelled like exhaust--with nothing to show for it!
Later, my husband called. "Well, how does the yard look?" he cheerfully asked. I told him, I'd lowered the blade deck to 2 1/2" (I clearly heard gasping on the other end of the line with this information!) and there was no grass coming out, so it probably meant it didn't need to be cut, yet (I crossed my fingers and hoped! ).
He asked if I'd turned the blades on.
"Turned the blades on?" I replied. "There's no place in the directions that say I have to do that. I thought they just started turning when I started the thing."
He was roaring with laughter and telling folks in the background how I was mowing without the blades turning.
Interrupting his moment of jolliness, I yelled, "How do you turn on the blades?"
"You just push the yellow button down on the top right. (See on the photo above!) But you only push it down when you're going forward and if you stop or go in reverse, it shuts the blades off, (safety feature!!!) so when you start forward you have to push the button again," he explained between guffaws, "and turn that mowing level back to 3 1/2 inches!"
I hung up the phone.
Well, dang. Now I knew how to make the blades work. So, back to the garage---staring at the green beast--I opened the door---again. First, I climbed on the seat again, raised the mower deck back to 3 1/2", then with the instruction book back in my lap, I reviewed the "start up" process once more. (Short term memory skills are starting to fade!)
I went through the moves and Yes, the "start up" was successful!! I proceeded to back out of the garage without taking out the retaining wall, then I turned around and The Beast and I faced the yard!
With The Green Beast roaring like the grass cutting animal it is, I leaned over and pushed The Yellow Button.
It stopped!!! Danged. I started her up again--let her roar, then pushed the yellow button once more. She came to a noisy stop again. I turned her off and got the phone. Hanging my head in disbelief, I had to call him again---certain this would bring additional rounds of laughter.
However, he was not laughing this time.
I think someone told him he'd better watch it or his yard would be the scourge of the neighborhood by the time he returned home.
"Did you blah, blah, blah?" he said.
"Yes, I did that," I curtly replied.
"Well, did you blah, blah, blah?" he continued.
Gritting my teeth while I listen to the blahing, I waited until he finished and said, "Yes, I did that."
"Well, he said, (I knew how much he wanted that grass cut, so he was reallllllly trying to be nice and helpful)" did you blah, blah, blah?"
"I'll try that," I said and hung up the phone--certain I'd be pulling that tractor back in the garage without whacking down a single blade of grass.
Once again, I mounted the steed, and I cranked her up. This time, as I pushed the yellow button I added more throttle (another new term in my vocabulary) and The Beast came to life and stayed alive!!
Glory be! I could feel the power of those rotating blades beneath my butt as it was plastered on the yellow seat. I hit the pedal with the forward arrow and away I went---little pieces of grass were shooting out the side!! Woo-hoo! Look out yard!!
After many trips across my backyard, I felt confident enough to make lawn mowing debut in the FRONT YARD--in full view of interested neighbors who knew they'd never seen anyone other than my husband on The Beast. I did not want to make a fool out of myself and find that I was the "entertainment feature" again that morning. I'd already done that at my husband's office.
Heck, no! I wanted to hold my head up high as I zipped back and forth and mowed our lawn! I wanted to look like I actually knew what I was doing!
After a few minutes, I'd finished the job and except for a trench I put in the mulch around one of the little maples and the tiny little bit of grass clippings that covered that mulch (it actually helped to hide the missing mulch!) and the few spots that didn't get touched by the blades (I figured MOST of it had been cut--by now, my lawn mowing standards had been lowered)- - - - -
I finished my first (and hopefully LAST!) mowing job.
I really didn't like the green tire marks I managed to smear on the driveway, but- - - - - -
THE STONE RABBIT told me, as we relaxed and admired my "beginner" lawn mowing skills, that when the rain started it would wash away those green marks!
It wasn't very long before the rain started - - - -
and it did wash away those green tire marks!
As I looked out across my freshly cut lawn, I honestly thought I could see that danged grass starting to GROW again----right before my eyes!! :)