Saturday, March 7, 2009

Day of Rest

I are a bargain hunter. Like my hunter gather forebearers before me, I am up at the ass crack of dawn's early light... OK by the moon's twilight shine I am out there following the known hunting trails of Ebay, Craigslist and a local auction or two. I tell you this to tell you another less interesting story.

Every summer I have epic battles of endurance between myself and the lawnmower. It doesn't matter if it is a push mower, riding mower, or a goat tethered to a rope in the front yard. If I need it to keep the grass under control it will not work! To be fair, I have a long history of buying used crap. My current 14 hp riding lawnmower I got at an auction for $200. It's OK but the fact that it makes a grinding noise and sparks shoot out of the front end always makes me nervous. The one we used last year I got from a dude moving away for $200. It ran fine until my daughter mowed for an hour without realizing the mower deck had lost a support bold and was dragging in the dirt. How she made 15 or 20 rounds without noticing she was digging a freakin trench has always puzzled me... and made me consider taking her car keys away.

So this year I announced to all the co workers and family that I intended to stop fucking around. No more Mr. Cheapskate! This year I would go to Sears and get a NICE NEW Riding Lawnmower that would last another 10 years or more without mishap! There was a bit of mockery and taunting that greeted this announcement along the line of "Whoopee, the dumbass finally realized he if he can't fix things he should buy new." I took it in stride as I added a few names to the list of people I will gut and pour salt in their wounds... once I am granted gutting and salting powers after I pass my G&S competency exams. Let's keep our fingers crossed for that, shall we?

So, yesterday I popped on craigslist and saw a nice John Deere Mower for ONLY $500. I called and the little old lady said her son used to use it but he got hurt and moved away and now she would have to hire her yard cared for and didn't need the mower. Iy looks nearly new. It registers 141 hours. OK, I don't know if that is a lot or very little, but I hoped it would make me sound like a smart shopper.

The battery was dead and a couple of tires were flat. Not unusual for a lawn mower that sat over the winter. She told me she had a pump in her storage shed. I looked all over and never could see the compressor, then I realized she meant a HAND pump! Holy fuck! What, was she still living in the 1800? So I hand pumped up the two tires as she politely asked me about my job. I tried to tell her, but to be honest I think I was having a stroke. I sit at a desk all day and play on the computer, pumping flat tires up with a hand pump was kind of like real work!

Anyway we started the mower, purchased it, and hauled it home. Then we went to the lumber yard and got a sheet of sheet rock to repair the wall my son ruined. Evidently the concept of closing a shower curtain is not obvious. Only, there was a gang of ruffians blocking our entrance to the lumber yard. They had some kind of a shake down station right in front of the door. I tried to do the manly thing and walk right by without making eye contact and not responding to any of their taunts. Unfortunalty, I had two 14 year old boys with me.

Would you believe that not only did they NOT try to defend me from those hoodlums, they actively cheered them on as they forced me to spend $4 on Girl Scout Cookies. Then the boys ran back to the truck with their treasure while I had to buy dry wall repair materials. Once we were home we patched up the wall and added our first coat of mud.

I have to admit I was exhausted by this point. I had a bit of lunch and it was making me want an afternoon nap REAL bad. But we own a little rent house in town and the renter said his water heater is messing up. We tried repairs and it looks like it needs a thermostat replaced. SO we gathered tool and went to town where I got to play with my favorite two elements. 220 volts of electricity and water! As you can guess I survived, got home feeling dead to the world on my freakin day off only to be reminded that tonight we move our clocks forward one hour and I will lose an hour of sleep. grrrrrrrrr

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