Wednesday, June 27, 2007

dirt farmer, part two

Last night, I assembled our push mower.

Ladies and Gentlemehhhhhhn! Welcome, welcome, welcome to the Zen Imbecile Fight of Her Life!

When we bought the house, that patchwork quilt of grass squares called sod had just been laid on top of a large pond of quick sand in our front yard. When the sky proceeded to dump buckets of water on it for days at a time, the quick sand swallowed up some of our fuzzy green fabric swatches, mostly because we foolishly stepped on them and sent them plummeting to their sandy graves. Thankfully the grass sacrificed itself for the sake of our feet. We were then informed that we needed to let the grass grow for awhile so that the roots would firm up the ground.

One week and hundreds more buckets of rain later, some of those grass swatches are shin high and probably harbor families of field mice. Time to mow.

In this corner, in emerald green, with those buns of steel and guns of Navarrone. Those abdominal muscles that a 19th century pioneer woman could wash clothing on. That fancy footwork and quick instinct. She has a history of dodging both Facts and Figures flying furiously at her face. It's Fantasy!!!!!!!!!!!!

I had this brilliant idea. It involved taking my computer over to the new house and listening to a CD Kurt burned for me whilst assembling the mower. Later, but before the sun went down, I'd cut through the grass like butter and then collapse on our porch, spent but well used and satisfied by a hard job done well.

In the ... exact same corner? Also wearing green trunks ... slightly worn and very stained trunks. Looking kinda scrawny and pathetic. And hiding behind her opponent. Is that?

Yes, it is.

Reality, ladies and gentlemen.

Woo hoo.

The computer/CD plan goes out the door immediately. I'm working on the porch and it is fucking hot so when I turn on the computer, it says "Fuck you." and refuses to operate. That's OK though because the instructions are so long and elaborate that I need to fully focus on them.

Fantasy seems oblivious to the fact that noone is in the opposite corner. When the bell rings and the first round begins, she comes out swinging. It is a sight to behold. She'd massacre anyone who'd dare step out in front of her, but no one has. Instead Reality is deftly shadowing her every move. I'd have never guessed such a knobby troll could be so spry but she seems able to keep up pretty well ...

The instruction manual consists of eight pages of useless text plus a diagram to show you where all the nuts and screws go that is - I'm not lying - two inches square. It does include a couple of "closeups" to show where things go in relation to the front and back of the mower but in at least one case the item in the closeup is completely symmetrical. In other words, it is not possible to tell the difference between the front and the back.

Still I manage to assemble the handle and after struggling for fifteen minutes and losing two tiny metal half-rings that hopefully serve no purpose, I pinch the bottoms of the handle together and slide them over the hooks inside the mower body.

Viola! I'm done!!

And Fantasy swings that massive right hook through the blank space in front of her and as she does, Reality swings her toothpick of a leg around Fantasy's shins and trips her! Incredible!! To the ground.

Of course, the handle is jutting straight up at a 90 degree angle from the mower, which will make pushing awkward. And then I discover pushing is really awkward because I can't do it.

At all.

The mower won't budge.

She is down, ladies and gentleman. Out cold. Down for the count. This fight is over!

So I check the diagram and discover that 90 degrees is wrong. And while it doesn't tell me that an inability to move the mower is also the sign of an incorrect assembly, it seems reasonable to assume such a thing. It takes twenty minutes to get the handle off again.

And Reality has pounced on the prone figure of Fantasy and is just whaling on her. The ref pulls her off but she jumps back and stomps on Fantasy's head.

I try a different angle to reattach it but to no avail.

At this point, the handle is so thoroughly secured to the mower body that I have to completely dissasemble it (29 pieces including screws, nuts, and washers) to remove it. And then start all over again.

By the time I'm ready to reattach the handle a third time, I've discovered my error ...

The mower is upside - fucking - down.

I'm soaked in sweat. I've been there for two hours. And I've been wrestling with an upside down lawn mower.

By the time Fantasy comes to, the auditorium is empty. The lights are down, the chairs are folded, some kindly soul has covered her prone body with a soiled towel. Her good eye blinks away the darkness and she winces as she struggles to her feet. Hobbling to her corner, she punches the bare light bulb swinging over the center of the ring. She takes a seat on the stool and waits for the next fight. And grins and whistles while she does.

I couldn't help it.

It was 10:15 by the time I put the thing together but now I had a mower. And I built it.

I mowed.


Blogger stacy said...

I have a push mower...I still am not sure how to sharpen the blades, though I've tried several times. Now I just borrow my neighbors electric mower. In fact, he lets me store in my garage... ; )

2:03 PM

Blogger Anne Uumellmahaye said...

C and I once spent hours assembling my office desk when I worked at UT. When we finished, we stepped back to survey our accomplishment. There were 2 pieces we hadn't found a spot for and one of the cabinets faced backwards. So, I decided that we'd found a more efficient way to assemble it than the French people who wrote the instructions and that the backwards cabinet was really as "secret stowage" because it faced the wall. If it had been my desk at home at the time, I would have kept my weed there.

7:41 PM

Blogger Fox said...

i loved this post!

9:40 PM


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