Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Landscaping Scissors

Today, being that it was my day off, I got to mow the lawn.
Just like most tasks I perform, there are certain rituals involved to get the job done properly. For instance, there is grass on all four sides of the house and there are doors on three of the four sides. So the first thing I do is open the inside doors and then make sure I unlock the screen doors associated with each. The opened doors allow me to retreat into the house quickly and easily, whether it is because I really have to pee or if I accidently disturb another hornet’s nest. Simply opening the doors from the inside without unlocking the screen door immediately causes cussing and sometimes a quick “plan B”, which reminds me I need to get a couple of screens fixed.
My mower is a trusty machine; it was used and abandoned before it came to live with us. It has front wheel drive and has an add-on clippings catcher. Over the past six years since my son-in-law gave it to us after he fixed it up for a customer of his who never paid his bill to reclaim it, I have never done anything but add gas a number of times and replaced an air filter only once when it was suffering from a cough. I’m not sure how often it was used before we got it, but I must’ve put over a couple of thousand yards (no pun intended) on it myself.
The ritual needed to be performed to get our mower going is this … I roll it out of the shed, pump the little rubber gas thingy 15 times and pull the cord thingy twice. The first pull is so easy I almost fling my arm back out of my shoulder socket, while the second pull always seems as though the mower is pulling back playing tug of war with me. It’s okay. This happens every time. Next, I pump the rubber gas thingy another 10 times only at a slower pace than I used the first time. While developing this process, I’ve discovered that pushing the gas thingy different amounts of times resulted in various types of problems, like hic-cupping, motor seizures, billowing black smoke and one time I swear it electrically shocked me. So, after a number of trials “10” times and only “10” times does the trick. After the tenth pump, I pull the cord and the motor starts up … but for only 4 to 5 seconds. I then quickly pump the gas thingy 3 more times, wiggle the spark plug wire connection and pull the cord once more and then it starts with a puff of smoke and finally continues running, ready to kick some grass butt.
I now go into my section and cut routine. I have to start from the outer edge of the grass area, closest to the shed, and circle the entire house so that I am always closing in on the landing area. The landing area is the last patch of grass to be cut. Usually there’s one of those big tall paper-recycling bags waiting there for the clippings. Sometimes I also leave a beverage or cookie there as well … you know, like a reward for completing my chore. So around and around I go, from the back of the house to the side of the house to the front of the house, following only the perimeter of the tall grass until I actually get so excited when I have to veer out of the way of the bag and my reward as the tall grassy area diminishes into one last foot wide strip.
There is one difficult area where timing and accuracy really matters.
In a previous post, My Little Brown Friends, I mentioned my neighbor has a landscaping crew who comes to cuts his lawn and yard. Well, between our yards is one of those coral type fences, you know the kind the cowboys always jump over when the horse they’re attempting to convince to wear a saddle bucks and kicks and chases them trying to bite them in the ass.
Because our mower is difficult to manuever under this fence, I must figure out which day the landscapers are coming (usually a Tuesday) and cut my grass before they arrive. This way, after they wiz by the fence on their big ass, sit down type tractor mower there remains a half-foot patch of uncut grass from the front of the yard to the back of the yard, under the fence, separating the two yards. I love sitting on the back porch drinking my beverage, eating my cookie and watching the poor dude with the weed-whacker trim the edge of my grass. Afterall, like I said, it’s a tough spot to mow.
In the end, I roll the mower back into the shed; I empty out the add-on clippings catcher into the brown paper sack and I head back into the house. I lock all the screen doors, close and lock the three inner doors, shower and begin to prepare dinner for the wife and me.
A half-hour later … “”Honey, I’m home. Nice job cutting the grass.”
“Of course it’s a nice job”, I think to myself. ”Oh Joe, by the way, I moved the clipping’s bag you left in the middle of the back yard. I guess you didn't realize there’s a patch of tall grass still uncut where the bag was sitting?”
“Oh crap, Where are the scissors?”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Quite clever!!! But, one can wonder, is planning your schedule to mow the lawn around when the landscaper for your neighbor comes, worth the effort?

The variable would be if it takes longer to get the damn weed wacker started, then it would have to actually do the trimmng.