Back Cracking and Mower Mania

My Recent Posts

So ... kind of a sucky week.


Actually, all of July kind of sucked, and the first few days of August just went along with it. Come to think of it, 2017 as a whole hasn't exactly been stellar.


But never mind that, let's go to the lawn mower:


For the record, the tire is not supposed to go that direction.


This is the same mower my stepfather repaired for me after the carburetor crapped out. A carburetor is a ... thing ... that does ... something ... in an engine. According to my wife's research, the carburetors in this particular engine brand are now made out of plastic. Plastic in a piece of equipment that's designed to burn stuff under pressure. Yeah.


Now, this would be the same mower that gave me other problems, including a gas cap that wouldn't stay on and other small pieces that seemed to fall off at random. In addition, the little bar that stops the mower from running if you release the handle kept it from starting at all, until I bent the control wire in an un-designed direction. In retrospect, I should have known it was a lemon from the get-go, but it didn't become clear to me until after the warranty ran out.


And now there I was, pushing the mower across the yard, when suddenly the cut became uneven. It became uneven because one of the tires came off. And it wasn't just the tire: The whole assembly that held the tire to the mower deck just peeled away, like wet cardboard.


(I checked: It wasn't wet cardboard. It was metal that looked like web cardboard.)


So, for the second time, I didn't get to finish. I showed the above photo to my wife, and began my prepared speech, which was to be, "If you want to have someone fix it, that's fine, but you've got one week to get it done before I trash this piece of--"


I didn't get beyond "If you want" before she said, "Oh, we're getting rid of that thing."


My wife is a consummate researcher. It's because of her that I know about plastic carburetors, and what "consummate" means. It's in the dictionary. Who knew? Within days she narrowed down the new mowers, and then we went shopping.


For years I avoided mowers with grass catchers, because they fill up after about two passes. It took longer to mow a lawn than it does for me to assemble furniture, and I don't have that kind of time. But now we have a compost heap, which loves grass clippings, so Emily found a mower that could change between a rear bagger and a side discharge. Not only that, but it has four working wheels, and a three year warranty. Heaven in the grass.


It only took me a few hours to get it put together. And I needed to get on it, because the last two times I mowed, only about a third got done before disaster struck. It had been so long that the part already mowed needed it again, and that's where I started--a flat section, where I could get used to the new equipment.


I was being careful, you see.


But I didn't take something into consideration. I accounted for the new mower,  but not the extra weight of the bag filling up. So, when I went to turn a corner on a hill, the mower zigged and my spine zagged.


I'd mowed a third of the lawn--the same third I mowed last time--before my lower back went "twang!"


It didn't sound exactly like that, of course, but that's kind of how it felt. And that's why I didn't go online much for awhile: It hurt to type. It hurt to walk, sit, lay down, lift a finger, swallow, think ... well, it hurt to think about the pain, anyway. It hurt so much that I came to appreciate my  chronic back pain. Sure, that hurt all the time too, but it didn't feel like the red hot barbed tridents they use in Hell.


But my wife, through experience, has become a very good nurse. Three days later I was able to go back to work, and if you ask me I did a pretty good job of hiding the fact that my pain had only been reduced to agony status.


What have I learned from this, you ask? Well, first, always keep some of the good pain pills around the house. More important, either get a goat, or hire someone to mow your lawn. I'm leaning toward that last--I can only imagine how badly I'd get hurt dealing with a goat.



Mircea Negres Added Aug 6, 2017 - 1:36pm
Good God, but you had me laughing, Mark! Oh, I hurt my back a few times too, once lifting a generator (small one, only weighed about 80 or 100 pounds...), and can appreciate the value of good pain killers. They do have limits though. Beyond that lies "Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy poppies and the Afghan campesinos (or whatever they call those goat f%^&ers) who make 90% of the world's heroin paste, some of which my favorite American Big Pharma buys to turn into 5% morphine sulphate syrettes, amen!" On the other hand, buying a new lawnmower obviously helps, but even better is to pay somebody to do the job for you, especially if it's a naked hot chick. Okay, so the latter option leads to divorce if you so much as look (never mind enjoy), but I'd say that on the whole you ought to spend the extra bucks on a lawn service. No jokes, I hope your back gets better and you manage to avoid further such pain. Great post! 
Mircea Negres Added Aug 6, 2017 - 1:43pm
Speaking of pain, I've been battling a pain in my right heel for months now. Don't know why, but it feels like I've been shot there either with a spear or a .50 cal, and I waddle funny to the little boys' room late at night when the old man's bladder demons come. Dammit, X-rays are too expensive, so it makes more sense to spend about R30 ($2.30 or so) on a bottle of 24 500mg Paracetamols than to see a quack who's gonna hit me with R350 for the visit (about $220 or so) and another R750 for the X-rays. Yeah, well, a doctor's Porsche or Mercedes Benz has to come from somewhere, I guess. Hell, where's a nuclear explosion when you need to see a bone X-ray picture for free? ;-)
Dino Manalis Added Aug 6, 2017 - 2:33pm
Mow and water the lawn to keep it look great!  All the Best!
Jeff Michka Added Aug 6, 2017 - 2:54pm
Dino "Platitude" Manalis sez: Mow and water the lawn to keep it look great!  I'm sure that was the kind of sage advice Mark or Mircea really needed, Dino.  A lesson for all, so to speak.
Mark Hunter Added Aug 6, 2017 - 11:38pm
I hope I didn't make you laugh too much, Mircea--that can hurt your back, too! Seems like every few years I pull a back muscle since the first time I hurt my back, at a fire many years ago. The only time it's been an even remotely interesting story was when my back went out while I was helping to carry a dead body up an embankment. Not a great night for anyone. Since then I keep the "good" drugs on hand just in case, but honestly, I really hate taking them if I don't have to.
While I understand the value of hiring naked hot chicks ... my wife won't let me.  And honestly, who else would have me?
Mark Hunter Added Aug 6, 2017 - 11:44pm
Well, I think you'd know if you got shot with a .50 cal ... I'm guessing the foot wouldn't even be there anymore. I wonder if you have a bone spur? In any case, I think that nuclear explosion would cause more problems than it would solve.
Mark Hunter Added Aug 6, 2017 - 11:48pm
I don't remember the last time I watered the lawn, except when we planted some new grass. My theory is: the less you water, the less you have to mow! But Mother Nature keeps supplying the moisture, whether I'm in any condition to deal with it or not.
Mircea Negres Added Aug 7, 2017 - 2:44am
Mark, we're getting old and the things we've done in our youth are catching up with us. You're right, I wouldn't have a foot if it was hit with a .50 cal. I often think of Brad Pitt's look of agony in Troy, when as Achilles he was shot with an arrow in the heel. I think it feels like that. I hope it's not a bone spur 'cause that would mean surgery and the only way to get that would be at a government hospital where I'll probably die of some preventable infection or they'll amputate my left foot by mistake. The other option is to rob a bank to pay for a private hospital to sort me out. That's a no go as well, since I'm not fond of being afraid to drop the soap in the shower, you know? Anyhow, please accept my compliments on a great post which was well written. 
Mark Hunter Added Aug 7, 2017 - 4:40am
Thanks for the compliments! Yes, I think robbing a bank would be a mistake, because you might have the bad luck to get a .45 cal in your other heel, and that would just make things worse.
In any case, you're absolutely right--it's all about our youth catching up with us.

Recent Articles by Writers Mark Hunter follows.