Wilder by Far

A look at life with the Wilder family. Updated most weekends and some vacation days. You can contact me at movingnorth@gmail.com..

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Location: United States

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

"Whoa, whoa. You better watch what you say about my car mower. She's real sensitive." - Arnie Cunningham, Christine

Original Post Date: 6/5/2005

This is my backyard. If you click on the picture, it'll get bigger. I'm actually in the picture, waving. I've just finished mowing it. With a 15 year old push mower.

I don't think I'm exaggerating much if I say that my backyard is bigger than some baseball outfields. Heck, you be the judge. It takes four hours, and three tanks of gas (not to mention, umm, more than one beer) and my push mower to get through all of the mowing.

I have many things against me:
  • the lawn is the size of Donald Trump's ego
  • it's light here 24-7 until August - the grass grows continually so you have to do it weekly
  • I have to use the push mower
Why, you might well ask (as The Mrs. does) do you mow this lawn the size of a Kansas wheat field with a dinky push mower?

The Mrs.: "Let's get a riding mower. Here (looking in the classifieds) is one for $800."

What guy could resist - his wonderful wife wanting him to go out and buy power tools? I want that mower, I really, really do. But I can bring myself to do it.

I mumble something under my breath. She understands Christine, but, you know, she doesn't understand.

Christine is the mower. Her picture is below. And she's dangerous.

As you can see, Christine is no longer a show-room model. I checked her sticker, and she was made in September, 1990. Soon she'll be old enough to buy beer.

As far as details go, when I bought her, I overfilled her oil tank with oil. She blew black smoke from the engine. I thought her days were numbered, back in 1990. I have yet to change (or, in the past five years, even check) her oil. Yet, she keeps running. The black smoke stopped in 1992.

The handle broke. I responded, first, with duct tape. That worked, for a while. Finally, the metal in the handle fatigued, and I got out the welder. You can see in this picture the result of four years' worth of welding. I've added enough structural steel to the handle to effectively double Christine's weight and make her eligible to star in a Mad Max sequel. The speed control and the bar you let go to stop the mower are gone now, as well. Yet she runs.

The Mrs. took an instant dislike to Christine when they met. "That's an ugly lawn mower, John."

Me: "It works."

I sharpened her blade once, back in 1998. Now, rather than doing precision cuts through the grass, Christine mashes the individual stalks with a blade that must be rounded smooth from the constant mowing. Yet she runs.

I first became aware that there was something amiss when my brother-in-law, Manolito, moved to Tangiers. He left his mower with us. A nice mower, it was - power driven wheels, 5hp engine. The Mrs. was thrilled - a new mower! We used the mower, and I doggedly held onto Christine. Soon, though, the new mower developed problems. Eventually, it became so unreliable that you couldn't even start it.

This I could write off as coincidence. Christine was running great, and The Mrs. understood, a bit, when she said, "Why get a new mower? This one runs." Christine was perfect for our postage-stamp lawn back in Midwestistan.

Now, Alaska. When we bought the house, a new 6hp, power-driven mower was left. I filled it up with gas, and started to mow. Within 15 minutes, the mower belched a thick cloud of black smoke and became utterly inoperable. The pull start would not even pull. Christine had claimed her second victim. She and I have now mowed the place, twice.

I don't know exactly what she'd do if I bought that riding mower.

It keeps me up at night.


Blogger julia said...

Would she object if you got a donkey to help keep that grass down? Here in rural France a man's ass is his best friend, at least I THINK that's how it translates

11:07 PM  
Blogger SusanE said...

I have a manual push mower. No gas, no oil, just me. It does the job, creates no green houses gases and I get exercise.

Incidentally the pull cord doesn't work on it either.... course it doesn't have a pull cord.

9:23 AM  

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