Mowing the grass

A long day.  How long has it been since I’ve said that? I know the big thing I got done today, yet there was so much other stuff too. My legs felt a lot better today than yesterday, though I still didn’t go for a big walk. And I’m okay with that. Seems I’d forgotten about another form of regular exercise that home ownership affords me: a lawn to mow. It’s been on my list (well, whiteboard) for a few days now. I went and got the mower out two days ago, but it was out of gas. Yesterday I was going to go to get gas, yet the battery was dead in my car (long story, another time) so I reconnected the internal battery charger from the solar panels instead. Today, I was ready to get this off my list.

Of course by time I’d done all the usual morning stuff it was nearly ten already. As I planned to leave, I thought of where I would place that full gallon can of gas once I had it. The car still pretty messy didn’t present any good options. I’d have to clean it a bit more first. At least the third or forth notch away at this list item, yet good progress. I took out most of the electronics and another armful of stuff from the backseat. As I was working away, a gentleman came down my drive and said hello.

I can’t recall his name for sure now, I think he said Elvin. He asked about my motorized wheelchair that I received as a Godsend last year for an unbelievable low price, that has now been sitting out in the weather off my porch every since the ramp was removed last September. When I left for the roadtrip I had it covered with a fitted tarp, yet that had blown off before I made it back in April. I had checked on it a few weeks ago and it wouldn’t power on or take a charge. Sad that it was wasted and I couldn’t give it away, I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with it.

Gladly, Elvin came along. He explained that he already had one powerchair that had stopped working. Once I told him the condition of this one and offered it to him for free if he could get it out of my yard today, he thought he might be able to use the parts of one to fix the other. Not being sure how interchangeable power chair parts are, I encouraged him and wished him well. He was riding a bike and said he would go home to get his trailer.

After he left, I was dazed a little bit. I was just about to go get gas. Now.. was I waiting for him to return? Was he going to return? I wasn’t sure, but I was starting to get hungry. The planned trip, after gas, was to go pickup some more salads from Kroger. After thinking about it for too long, I was on my way. I passed the gas station on the way there, got what I needed from Kroger (and a cart walk felt really good, nice long stretching steps,) then passed it again on the way back, so I ended up going to the other side of town for the gas.

Altogether I wasn’t gone much more than half an hour or so. As I came back up Cooper, I saw the gentleman waiting for me at my house- with a lawn mower and a trailer. I pulled in, parked and started to get out as he came down the drive. I’d told him he didn’t need to wait for me- he was more than free to take it without waiting for me. It really was polite to wait until I’d returned I’d thought. Then he reminded me that the chair was locked in place with a chain. Ha, I had forgotten all about that.

I’m not so quick at remembering somethings any more, but for the most part my brain seems to be okay (ha, aside from a few twitches and whatnot.) Sometimes, I know when I know something. I might not know what I know about something, though I’ll know if I do. All I’ll need to do is kind of mentally grind down- frown lines certainly help the thought process, right? And just think of it until it comes to me. I’ll try to guide myself a few memory tricks.. where was I when I held the key? Did I put it in something? On something? In a hidden place?

This time there was none of that. The moment he mentioned the chain and lock I knew exactly what he was talking about. I also knew that I had absolutely no idea whatsoever where the key to that lock might be. Not a thing in (oh, the sewing table,) the downstairs of my house is in the same place it was four months ago. Everything important came with me and everything that remained was everywhere. When I got back I swept (unrealistic short version) all up, sorted and threw it away the garbage. I didn’t see a key.

It wasn’t on the key holder by the door, it wasn’t in the coin box on my bed stand, it couldn’t be anywhere else- this entire area has been cleaned. There is no four month old pile on my desk or in box beside it. The guy was nice enough to come back- and had driven his lawn mower across town to do so. I certainly didn’t want to send him away with an empty trailer and still be stuck with a disposal problem myself. So, a little out of the box thinking as I checked for the key in the laundry room.

As I came walking back out I told him I found a universal key to open the lock (I had been keeping him up to date on my thought process.) He had begun to reply “you found a what..” just as I handed him an angle grinder. With just a bit of a confused look on his face and already starting to figure it out he just kind of shook his head towards the ground. I just shrugged and held it out to him. Early, when I made the free offer, and after a question pertaining to the batteries and possible repair, I had made very clear that free meant no help from me. I really didn’t want to strain myself trying to help him lift it into, presumable, a truck.

The universal key did the trick and cut through the shank in less than a minute. A lock with no key doesn’t do much good and now I’ll have a chain too. If I remember that I laid it next to the steps where the chair used to be. Maybe (almost certainly) now that I’ve typed it, I will. Wished him well as he pushed the chair up my drive.  It took him a few more minutes (I was inside putting away my groceries,) to get it up on his trailer. It had a tilt that took him a try or to maneuver into the down and locked position after he’d pushed the chair up into it. With the chair in neutral (no power, had to push it,) it wouldn’t stay ‘up’ in the bed of his trailer for him to move around to the other side and drop the locking mechanism.

I did consider helping him. However, for the price I thought he should earn it and I had plans for myself. First, I ate. A nice big ten dollar salad. Eggs and bacon and cheese and cherry tomatoes and chicken and cucumbers and it is good. They call it a “family” salad. I am a family of one. It’s a very good salad, topped with thousand island (with bacon.) Then, the lawn. I knew pushing the mower around would be hard. I also know it’s a small yard- even when walking in circles around it. What I didn’t anticipate was the difficulty in starting it.

It usually doesn’t start well. I have to take the air filter off and prime it. Today the lines were dry and after it was primed enough to wet the lines, I gave it a few more squirts into the carb.  Replacing the air filter, I went to try to pull start it. I say try as because that first time, I don’t think I really tried. It’s been almost two years since I operated a lawn mower. My body forgot- all of my body forgot- how to do it. Yes, I grabbed the handle and pulled it. With my arm and maybe an elbow or something.

Yet my body did not try to pull that cord. It forgot that it needed to, the arm was doing that. Ha, yes, this is how I talk to my body now- a ground of disorganized parts. With a few more pulls, I started to get it together- and remember how hard your whole body has to pull to generate the necessary force to kick start the combustion. Not having much of that in me to spare, I took the air filter back off for airflow and pressed the primer another time or two for good measure.

Being parked in the grass wasn’t helping either, it’s pretty thick and at least six to eight inches tall. In some combined maneuver of pushing down on the handle to lift the deck from the grass I managed to perform some graceful stroke to accelerate the handle to the length of it’s cord and was rewarded with a merry chug, chug, chug, and a puff of black smoke. Giving just a second to warm up, I started pushing up the lawn. In the past I’ve said I have a small yard and I do. Seventeen hundred and thirty four feet, minus the footprint of the house and driveway, so maybe twelve hundred feet of grass to mow.

Today, my yard felt big. I should remember that about today- how big my yard is. I thought about taking a break at some point. Yet I didn’t want to stop and not finish. Really, there should be no need for a break I told myself- it only takes fifteen minutes, if even. I didn’t take a break and I didn’t time myself either. Yet I’m pretty sure it took me closer to thirty minutes. At first, it was kind of like a Walmart walk with a cart, just more opposing force. I had to walk with power in my steps, yet I could take nice straight good steps. That degraded over time.

By the end I was lifting my hip, swinging my thigh, and my knee was locked tight just trying to keep me from falling down when I leaned that way. Trying to turn the corners or do a one eighty was almost entertaining to myself- I hope no one else was watching me stagger around my yard. I finished and got it put a way and made it all the way in side before I dramatically collapsed into my chair. Yeah, my legs hurt, but not too bad. More burned than hurt or sore.

Oh, then I played around with some radios. Since I’ve gotten back I’ve got my APRS station setup here in the house and today I moved my other FT-2980r radio from the car into the house (as I’m spending much more of my time in here lately by comparison.) Now I’ve got it setup on my lower vhf antenna and set to scan the local frequencies (W8JXN, W8IRA, N8DUY, five two, and four three.) Also, I reconnected my Kenwood HF radio, figuring I might as well use it until it sells. I haven’t talked on the radio since I’ve been here, it’s not quite the same in Jackson, yet with my station now configured, I can at least listen to the beacons.

It seemed like there was more I did, like a marathon that went all day long. Yet, I can’t think of much more now that I’m sitting down to type. So I suppose this is where I’ll end the story for today. I mowed my lawn.

Time to rest.



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