Saturday, October 1, 2011

The lawn mower saga

A year ago, my hyper-active son begged to be allowed to mow the lawn.  What, I thought, could go wrong?  Don't I want to train my kids to help with chores? Don't I brag all the time about how I rear my boys to be useful?  I swallowed any misgivings I might have had, and said yes.

My son ran over a rock.  Not a tiny little rock;  12-inch tall rock.  And our sturdy, several-year-old, ultra-reliable lawn mower died on the spot.  So much for the wisdom of having the kids help.

The next step in the Miser-Mom-mantra is "repair it myself".  I took apart the pieces of the mower that I could understand.  I peered at them.  No inspiration happened.  The mower was dead.  So much for do-it-yourself.

Step 3 of saving money is to be patient and wait for further inspiration.  I was fortunate to have winter intervene, so I had several months to wait for inspiration to strike.  Nothing.  So much for patience.

April came, and then May, and the grass started growing.  The mower was still dead.  The grass got long enough to be a bit embarrassing, and I had to take action.  The first thing I did was to borrow a mower from a friend on our block -- a temporary fix, but enough to keep our yard from alarming the neighbors.  And the second thing I did was to drop some serious money on a new lawn mower. $igh.  It wasn't on sale; it wasn't pre-owned.  The only thing that made this new lawn mower even remotely "miser-mom"esque is that it's a battery operated one, so I don't have to go out and buy gas to fill it up.

But the "friend" angle of this story is an important one.  I have a friend, June, whose job takes her into lots of farming areas near us.  She offered to cart my old lawn mower off to "Fisher Engine Repair", an Amish-run, lawn mower repair place she knew about.  I figured I had very little to lose.  Fisher took the lawn mower from her, and then they kept it all summer long.  Every once in a while I'd call, and they'd explain that they hadn't gotten around to looking at it yet.  Last week, they finally called to say they'd found the problem  There was a small rock lodged in the motor.  (No kidding!  Wonder how it got there?)  They dislodged the rock and sent the lawn mower back with June, to me.  Total cost, $14.

So now, a year later, we have two lawn mowers.  Maybe this will save us time (allowing us to have two people working at once).  Maybe this will save me money (forestalling the next lawn mower purchase).  Maybe not.  But the lawn mower would have been junk without my friend June stepping in.  It's good to be part of a larger community, that's for sure.

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