It seemed like a simple plan.

With Pat gone for a few days to a conference, I thought I’d take advantage of the beautiful weekend weather and mow the yard.  It had been a bit since it had been mowed – between the weather and our schedule, mowing was a task that just seemed to fall through the cracks. With the weather being sunny and dry on Saturday, I thought I’d mow the lawn, then move onto canning all the cherries I’d picked from our tree this week.  Also on the docket was a little bit of house cleaning.

I started off mowing, pausing to say hello to the father of one of Edie’s friends who had popped in on their way to the park.  When I went to restart the mower, the pull cord came off in my hand.  Knowing that was a fairly easy fix,  I started taking the mower apart to attempt it myself.  I quickly realized I was in over my head, so I went across the street to ask our neighbor Brian (different Brian, not Brian with chickens, who I had gotten to come over with his taller-than-mine-ladder to help me pick cherries the night before) to help me.  I ran up to Martin Hardware, got the required part for $2.69 and we started to put the mower back together.  We had some troubles getting it back together properly, but finally, we got there.  I started it back up and continued on my merry way until I hit a rock hiding under some very overgrown grass by the garden.  The mower stopped.  Brian, hearing the silence, came back over to assist me again. A few starts & stops later, the tension of the start cord was noticeably off.  We  took the mower apart again to discover the whatchamacallit had gone awry.  I realized we may be in over our heads, so I called Jody who I know likes to tinker with little things.  I promised wine.  He came up and that’s when I learned the technical name of the whatchamcallit was the spring in the flywheel.  My two incredibly gentlemanly neighbors fiddled with it together, sending me for this, that and the other in their attempt to repair our lawnmower. You Tube was consulted (how did we ever do anything before you tube?) but ultimately, it was decided that perhaps a new part was necessary.

I first called the local Sears at the mall to see if the part was in stock.  I should have known when the only human I was able to get on the other end of the phone was at an overseas call center.  Yes, I called the number listed for the local store.  Despite my misgivings, Jody and I set out for the mall, leaving Brian tinkering with the mower.

On the way there, we saw an accident blocking the turn to the short cut to the mall.  Moving on, driving down Rugby towards 250, we witnessed a guy who thought the gentleman holding the stop sign, directing traffic for the road construction, decide that rule did not apply to him and attempt to go around the sign anyway.  An oncoming SUV apparently made him decide to change his mind.  Not entirely comfortable with all these signs of bad driving happening as we leave the house, I definitely did not have a good feeling about this mission.  Not at all.

Arriving at the mall in one piece, we discover Sears did not have the part in stock.  In fact, they don’t really stock repair parts at all.  I couldn’t help notice exact same pull string I had picked up at Martin’s, a local owned hardware shop, priced at almost twice what I had paid for that morning at $4.99. Same brand name and everything.  Seriously.

A gentleman tried to help us, telling us we could look up the part on line and order it, but it quickly became apparent it was going to require going down quite a rabbit hole on the internet to order said part because the entire motor was listed as one part.  I’m pretty sure he thought I should buy a new mower instead of a part.  Frustrated, I told Jody we could do this at home and once we got in the car, I told him we were going to swing by Martin’s on the way home.  I just knew they were going to have the part. And I was right.  For exactly $3.69, the part in question was hanging up in the lawn mower part section in the basement at Martin’s.  I’ve been shopping at Martin’s for 15 years and this weekend was the first time I discovered there was a basement.  It’s a wonderland down there and I have no idea why I did not know this.

I digress.  Martin’s had the part and we were on our way.  We made a quick detour to the wine store because by this point it was after 3 pm and I had been attempting to mow the damn lawn since 11 am.  Wine sounded like a good idea.

We got back to the house to discover the mower was reassembled, tools put away, no sign of Brian.  Jody started taking the mower apart and when he couldn’t find a certain ratchet, I ran over to Brian to ask where it was.  Turns out, Brian had gotten the spring back into place, fixing the mower. He put the mower back together, put the tools away and had gone home. He came back over with his father-in-law bringing up the rear, checking out the action to fill us in on what had happened while we were out dodging bad drivers and unhelpful big box stores.  I fired up the mower and got back to work.  Jody sat under the dogwood cheering me on as I mowed the hill.  The grass was so long, it kept choking the mower, but eventually, I got the hill done.  That’s when Jody waved me down to join him in a glass of wine.  Don’t mind if I do. I really did intend to finish the lawn after Jody left Saturday, but somehow, Edie and I ended up wandering over the to Josey’s for a visit which resulted in a dinner invite which sounded quite good to this mama who was completely wiped out by the day’s dealings with the lawn mower.

Sunday afternoon, I went to fire up the mower.  The pull cord extended all the way out and that was that.  Clearly the tension is off and I’m pretty sure the spring sprung again.  I left a message with Jody to please come help and then went across the street to borrow Bill’s mower.  Thanks to Bill, the lawn got mowed.  Jody and I are going to take the mower apart today to hopefully fix it again, although right now, the idea of ripping out all our grass and replacing it with anything else is more than appealing and definitely less frustrating.

I have no pictures of any of this, having just purchased a brand spanking new computer for myself, the software needed to upload pictures from my camera not yet loaded because I was trying to get the lawn mowed.  Nothing else I had planned to get done this weekend got done either because all of my energy went into fiddling with the damn lawn mower.  After first suggesting I hire one of the neighborhood boys to mow the lawn Saturday morning, Edie has continued to tell me she definitely had the better plan for the weekend.  She might be right, but then we wouldn’t know that you can’t call the local Sears store and get a human on the phone.  We wouldn’t know that Martin’s has a basement or that they really do carry everything you could possibly need, ever.  Or that it was possible to drag half the men in the neighborhood and their father-in-laws into helping to repair your mower when your husband is out of town, nor would I have anything exciting to blog about this morning.  I mean, I guess I could have blogged about canning cherries, but that will have to wait until another day.

Update:  Following the video on the internet that used a nail, a drill and duct tape, Jody got the mower back up and running Monday just before lunchtime.  I also neglected to mention the handyman of Brian’s landlord, Venable, came over to check out the action.  For a grand total of what it took to get the lawn mowed, it was four bottles of wine, three neighbors, a handyman and a father-in-law.

8 thoughts on “It seemed like a simple plan.

  1. meridith says:

    I was reading The 20 Minute Gardener last night and was wondering at the authors’ insistence that lawns were a good thing (unfertilized, etc). I certainly see where they’re coming from with regards to less work but, having had some of the same lawnmower challenges you’ve had, I’d be happy to take the whole thing up and plant…rocks. Glad it’s fixed!

  2. melissawest says:

    Good gravy did your honorable intentions turn into a fiasco!
    Thank God for wine…and fine neighbors to lend a hand. And for the local hardware store. I do ALL my business through ours–if they don’t have it, they order it and have anything with in a couple of days. Plus they’re just 5 minutes down the road.

    • Becky says:

      Sadly, we lost two local groceries this past week – one of which was one of my go-to places. I don’t understand people who don’t shop locally, I just don’t. The service is always better.

  3. Jen says:

    Martin’s is Pete’s go-to hardware for Saturday morning (because that’s always when it is) repairs. As I sit here typing, I can hear a faucet dripping (one that he thought he’d fixed a couple of weeks ago), which means that he’ll be over at Martin’s again this weekend.

    I’m sad about C’ville Market and already miss it.

    • Becky says:

      I rarely went to the C’ville Market – I did not have good experiences there, but Anderson’s was a place I frequented regularly. I already miss them.

  4. Patience says:

    Martin’s has a basement? My go-to hardware store is Meadowbrook because it’s so old-timey and friendly, but we also like Martins. Definitely better than schlepping all the way to Lowe’s.

    • Becky says:

      I love that Martin’s & Meadowbrook are essentially across the street from each other and both are still in business. Clearly, we love our local hardware stores here.

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