All through the winter, when the lawn was dormant and nothing grew, my "lawn man" was apparently mowing my dead grass. I never noticed any difference in my dead grass from the time I left for work in the morning to the time I returned after dark in the evening. I didn't notice any difference in my dead grass when I walked the dog on Saturday evenings, nor did I notice a change in it when I went out to get the paper on Sunday mornings. Still brown. Still asleep. Status quo on the dead grass. I didn't notice anything about the dead grass until I received a bill from my "lawn man" in March in the amount of $375 for services from November through February - for mowing the dead grass every three weeks - just the front lawn.
So now it's Spring and the grass is no longer dead. The grass has decided to awaken from its slumber. Quite frankly, I can't afford my lawn man now that there really is grass to mow.
This weekend I ventured into the garage (a place I hate almost as much as the attic). Behind some old doors and under a box of roof tiles, I found the power mower. Not the John Deere riding mower. That one was over in the corner next to a trunk I had in college. The John Deere won't crank up. I have no idea what is wrong with it. In order to get it repaired, the John Deere dealer has to come over and put it in a trailer and haul it over to the shop. But until the garage gets emptied out, there's no way to get the John Deere out of the garage.
I was grateful that the mower was close to the door, and with some shifting and pushing and pulling, I was able to get it outside to take a look at it. I wiped the cobwebs off, filled it with gas and put lawnmower oil into the oil case. "Push red button 3x." I did. "Hold down throttle and pull cord." I did. Nothing. I tried again. Nothing. Finally, sputter-sputter-cough-cough....roar...off we go. Third time's a charm
The mower hasn't been used in years. I think it needs new spark plugs. If I could find the owners manual I would be able to tell where they are on the machine and learn how to change them. It will chug along for a while and then give a gasping, choking sound. If I push the handle downward causing the deck to rise slightly, it chugs again. (I'm not a mechanical engineer, but I think that symptom tells me there is an air flow problem.)
My lawn. Admittedly, my lawn is more weeds than grass. On the other hand, my neighbors' lawns are beautiful. The men go out every Saturday morning in their bermuda shorts and socks with brown loafers and work on their lawns. It shows.
I got home from work at around 7:00 p.m. last evening. The lawn looked ghastly. The weeds had grown like - well - weeds. So after changing into "yard clothes" I pulled the lawn mower out...pressed the red button 3x...held down the throttle and pulled the cord. Instant start. Good sign.
Putt-putt-putt down the driveway and onto the lawn. I see a youngish man (late 30s) coming up the street walking his dog. I see him a lot. I've seen his dog taking a dump on my lawn on several occasions. He's one of the "newbies" in the subdivision. Moved in several years ago; total renovation. Young professional. Cocktail party type. Nice house, good lawn, great landscaping. He waves. I give him the "hi-dee-ho" with my chin because if I let go of the throttle the mower will stall, then stop, and I may not get it started again before dark. He slows down as he gets to the edge of my property. His dog sniffs around. He stops, takes in a wide shot of my lawn, and starts to speak in a tsk-tsk tone.
"Gee. You're lawn is really gone, isn't it."
What I thought: Nice to meet you too, rude little snotnose. You're from the North East aren't you? Or from L.A.? The product of too much smoke and dust and a thin ozone layer.
What I said: "Well, its a process. Um - I can't let go of the throttle so you'll have to speak up."
"Oh! Sure!" he shouted. "I spent $$$$ (here he divulges a large price tag) on having my lawn re-sodded last Spring."
What I thought: Idiot boy. I could have had a face lift with that.
What I said: "Yes, it's very expensive."
"This year I'm seeing weeds."
What I thought: Duh.
What I said: "Oh."
"I think the seeds might have blown over from your yard."
What I thought: They didn't blow over, dweeb. I sent them over...special delivery...just for you.
What I said: "Huh?"
"Yeah, those seeds blow with the wind, you know."
What I thought: Like the wind that blows into one of your ears and comes out the other, douche-pie?
What I said: "I guess that would depend upon which way the wind is blowing."
"Well, they look exactly like the weeds you have," taking in another expansive view of my weedy lawn.
What I thought: Are you filing a paternity suit? Did you do a DNA sample? You cracked the case, oh great genius. My weeds travel up the street in the dark of night to spawn on your lawn.
What I said: "Weeds of a specific species have identical characteristics - like all plants."
"You should probably rip the whole thing out and re-sod."
What I thought: I guarantee you something's going to get ripped out if you stand there one more second.
What I said: "Well, gotta go chop the heads off my weeds."
"Good seeing you."
What I thought: And if your dog shits on my lawn one more time, you'll find it on your windshield the next morning.
What I said: "Same here."