Lawn mowers and lifejackets ….

Lake time has been awhile coming. Rainy crappy weather has kept me ensconced in my cozy condo where I have all the amenities including an indoor pool. There is also a gym (which I am planning on using soon…well pretty soon) as soon as I find my sneakers!

So finally the weather forecast looks good and I make a break for the lake, my car is loaded because I decide to live there for the rest of the summer. I was there once already but had to go back for a funeral. Crappy weather set in and.. well.. the older I get condo life is starting to trump ‘lake life’.

I stopped at the store for a few essentials, like whole grain pasta and vegetable broth to make ‘the retro rad chef.. Emily Ellyn’ dish of pasta pot dinner. Two hundred dollars later I am on my way again. I love shopping at the ‘dollar store’ but I have to tell ya.. I think Costco should be named the ‘hundred dollar store’.

The lake welcomes me in with long shaggy grass and a crop of long stemmed dandelion puff heads (or whatever they are called when they go to seed). I can hardly wait to mount the mower.. (going through a dry spell The mower belongs to my son and his cabin is beside mine, we share a field of grass, or in this case a crop of dandelion stems.

Having found no ‘critters’ in my cabin, I breath a sigh of relief and proceed to unload a years worth of stuff for a months long stay. My water is running and hot water heater is working.. we are in business!(see my post ‘Decisions.. big and small).

Next morning sees me trying to start ‘The Mower’ this is no ordinary machine and I can see why guys get excited to ride these things. After trying various ways to get it going (it is a moody bitch and always gives me trouble trying to start it). I finally call in the troupes (my cousins on the hill) and he plugs it up to a battery charger.. geeze!

Now just so you know, this is not an ordinary mower, nope.. it is an articulating piece of pure magic daring me to go beyond just the ordinary limits of any mower!!! I love this machine and the grass can’t grow fast enough for me! It can move really fast or really slow, forwards and backwards, all the while maneuvering two handles. Right turns left turns, turning on a dime, and most fun of all is circles.. whoopee.. let me at it!

I grab a lifejacket to put behind my back for comfort, start the mower (this grass cutting takes me a long time, it has to be just perfect) and a couple hours later I have most of grass cut. I start at the outside and work my way in. Then I go the opposite way and ‘mulch up’ the grass so I don’t need a sweeper. One particular patch has way too much grass so I go in a circular motion to get it all in on pig pile.

I decide to see if I can mulch my way through this pile by going in forward and then backward when all hell breaks loose on the backward. One hell of a noise and then the machine stops dead!

I look down and see pieces of foam and bits of color and now I am really distraught! I get it started and try to back up again but again, another big noise and then it dies! Oh shit.. what have I done? This machine cost a lot of money and my son(after much cajoling) made me ‘learn how to drive it’ with the mower not engaged for a long time before he trusted me to put the mower down. Oh hell, I have killed this costly machine! By going over this big clump of grass I have pushed the blades up into the engine that is protected with foam stuff and .. oh my god, what have I done?

I get off the beast and look around, I can’t figure out the foam and pieces of purple and yellow material.. then I spot a purple buckle! I quickly look up at the seat where the life jacket should be and it is gone! What the hell.. when I went forward over the pile of grass I must have leaned forward in anticipation and trepidation of what I was doing. The life jacket must have slipped off and then I backed over it, shit!

After making a trip ‘up the hill’ to discuss the death of the mower, I am assured by my cousin that it can only be a surface wound.. whew.. thank god! My grandson greets me on the way back and we manage to get the mower started and onto a makeshift ramp so he can get under it to pull out the remnants of the lifejacket.

You can’t even begin to appreciate my relief at having this mower working again. This is a costly little toy and would hate to have to pay for replacing it. Having supper with the relatives ‘up on the hill’ much later we discuss what happened. They all heard the big noise and listen thoughtfully while I share what happened.

One of them, Carla or Nicole (not sure which one) pipes up at the end of my story and says “well I guess next time you cut grass , you should wear the lifejacket…”

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