Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Lawn Ranger

The lawn mower is the lynch pin in the arsenal of the Lawn Ranger. Without it, he's like Thor without his hammer, Sosa without his bat, or Hillary without Clinton. (They're all tools, get it? but I digress...)

Two weeks ago I told the story of the demise of Big Stumpy and his associate in grime, Rocky. (They will sing songs and write poems about it someday...) I also pointed out that I had to buy a new lawn mower. The story of the lawn mower makes for an interesting (hopefully) story, too.

Note to self: If you hit a stump you kill a lawn mower. Good information that. The first time I hit a small stump, the mower continued to work, but had a heavy vibration in it. The second time, the mower wouldn't start. Dead. I took a moment of silence and began my nightmare.

Places that work on mowers won't give you a quote over the phone. No, really, it's true. They have to actually LOOK at the machine to be able to give you a quote. In addition, they want to charge you for the time it takes to look at your pathetic fossil fuel powered friend and laugh. (Hey, Charlie, get a load of this! He hit a stump and wants to know how much to fix it! HAW HAW HAWWWW) This happened all in my mind and I was not about to be laughed at by a couple of Suthunas in coveralls and charged for the pleasure. In addition, let's face it, I couldn't afford the fee.

A few months back a local hardware store gave us a credit card with a ludicrous credit limit. This after we had redecorated most of the house and put it all on "another card." It's one of those "All-in-One" stores with lumber and washers and dryers alongside your nice Mattocks (with the nigh indestructible polycarbonate handle) but I hesitate to give their name as I really don't want to advertise for anyone. I also don't want them to rethink the ludicrous credit limit. So we headed over there to check out the Lawn Mowers.

We examined the whole line and spoke with a nice intelligent man who gave us the stats on each model, and for obvious reasons ($$$) we chose one. Being the careful buyer I am, we took a night to think on it. The next day we were back with the model in mind; but as we approached the door, my lovely wife spied some mowers sitting out down at the far door. Upon inspection and a little help from a salesman, we discovered that these were John Deere mowers, refurbed and for sale for $100 off the original price. That $100 off put the price right at where we were about to buy an inferior brand and came with the John Deere 2 year warranty, so in short: we bought it. (That's the model in the pic above...)

The first time I ran it, it ran rough. So, back to the store. They gave me a song and dance (really, full orchestra and everything) about it being 'gravity fed gas tank' and they cleaned and replaced the spark plug (for free) and sent me on my merry way. One week later, same scenario, so I took the machine back and insisted on it being repaired. Hey, it came with a warranty, so why not?

A few days later my wife gets a call from some Jack Ass (no that's not his name but it's what I call him) who says he's from John Deere and needs to pickup the mower. She tries to tell him that the mower is in the hands of the Hardware folks, but he's a bit too Suthun to understand. So, now it becomes my endeavor to make sure what is REALLY going on with my mower. 2 Full days of 1) Phone Tag, 2) "Oh you just missed him..." and finally I had to get the manager on the phone. Then I get a call from the Lawn Mower guy to explains that he's getting me a new mower. "Ooooo!!" says I..."a NEW MOWER?" (Do New Mowers come with that New Mower Smell like new cars? Ooooooo) I was fairly fainting with the vay-pahs at the thought!

A few days later I pick up my new mower and they are nice enough to load it in the back of the Jeep. (It's still in the box, and I'm dancing around like a 3 year old who has to pee) and my nice neighbor helps me unload it in the driveway. It takes another few days until I test it out, but It was absolutely amazing.

There is nothing and I mean NOTHING like a lawn mower with REAR wheel drive. As the bag gets heavier, the mower gets better traction and it climbs hills with ease. You cannot walk too fast or too slow, it adjusts with your speed as you push on it. It worked so well that the string trimmer was spurred into working long enough to trim the entire yard. I had finished the front and back in the time it used to take me to do just the front.

With my lawn now coming under control, I feel a bit closer to being accepted as one of the locals. Next, I have to save up for a riding lawn mower, or maybe I'll end up getting my neighbor to help me do this:

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