Tonight I can say with all sincerity that I have spent the past hour and fifteen minutes in the midst of such a regret. But to tell the story properly, I have to back up a few days.
This past weekend, Lucas and I loaded up both vehicles with tools, supplies, clothes and kids (and a cat... a whole different story to be told later) and headed down to the new house for a weekend of painting and maintenance. Maintenance, which included mowing the lawn, thus requiring that we take along our one and only mower and matching gas can (the mower, I realized we were taking... the gas can, I had not thought about... more about that in a minute). We got there; Lucas mowed the lawn; all is well... in Ohio. However, we still have one lawn in Michigan that is very much in need of mowing. The only problem is that Lucas is staying in Ohio this week... the kids and I were the only ones returning to the unmowed Michigan lawn... and we were in the mini-van. As we were loading up, Lucas and I had a quick conversation about whether or not to transport the mower back to Michigan in the van with the kids and the clothes and no real place to put it or way for me to unload it solo. We decided to leave the mower in Ohio, and I would "figure something out" when I got home. Thus begins my regret.
SO. Yesterday evening, around 6:00, I went to my neighbors, explained the situation, and asked if it would be to much to ask to borrow their mower. After some discussion, she agrees. She leads me to the garage where there are 2 mowers... one looks very nice; the other, not so much. She reaches for the 'not so much' one and wheels it over to me. But, beggars can't be choosers, so I thanked her and pushed the mower down the sidewalk and back to my driveway. I wheeled it into the garage to fill it up with gas, at which point, I discovered the lack of gas can. Nice. So, I checked the gas status... I could SEE some gasoline down in there. I was hopeful that maybe I could get more done than I thought. So I began.
It took me only about one and a half passes to discover that, in cases of mowers, you apparently CAN judge a book by its cover. It really lived up to the 'not so much' assessment I had initially made. Only three of the wheels turned, so it had a very nice 'bad shopping cart' effect in which the mower would sort of just pull off to one side, making it rather difficult to mow in a straight line (a trait generally valued by mowers across the nation). Also noted was the complete LACK of self-propulsion, meaning I had to do some SERIOUS pushing. I mean, my body was at an obtuse angle to the mower at almost all times... resulting in some serious calf cramps, but who's complaining? I think, however, my most favorite feature was the grass guard thingy (you know, the cover that directs the shooting grass and shrapnel AWAY from you when functioning properly) with a pin that wouldn't stay in, which meant that it vibrated out about every 1 1/2 passes, causing the guard to fall off and grass to spray directly at my face and chest. Then I would stop the mower, put the pin back in, and start again where I had left off. Regret level seriously increasing moment by moment. (Let me just add at this point that I did finally bust out the duct tape and tape the pin into the guard to keep the stupid thing from falling off... it didn't exactly stay in place the whole way through, as it still bounced around much more than I'm sure it was originally designed to do, but at least I was no longer ducking for cover as random pine cones and other debris flew at my face... I still took a few hits to the ankles.)
Like I said, I was hoping that I would get more done than I expected. I didn't. I finished the biggest portion of the front yard and a few strips down the side when the mower ran out of gas and died. Yard status: striped. Not attractive. At all.
So I went back to my neighbor and explained that I was out of gas and was going to keep the mower until the morning, when I would go get a gas can and be able to continue. She didn't seem to mind that... honestly, I think she was just relieved that I didn't ask to borrow her gas as well. Anyhow, it seemed like a suitable plan, so I wheeled the crazy mower back to my garage and parked it for the night.
This morning, my mowing morning, it poured. I mean rain dumped all over us, with a little thunder and lightening mixed in just for fun. It rained until at least noon-ish. Even when it stopped, it was way too soggy and saturated to attempt to push-pull-drag the crazy mower through the mini jungle. So I waited. Yard status: still striped.
Finally, tonight, after church, I decided to make the most of what daylight was left and give it another shot. It was 8:50. I told the kids to get a shower and then go to bed on their own (which, by the way, doesn't really work out so well, in case you were wondering). Then I threw on my mowing shoes and headed out to finish. I noticed a slight difference in heights from yesterday to today... apparently grass grows rather quickly, which, I guess is the reason I need to mow so often anyhow. I decided, though, to ignore the slight height variation and just move on. It was late. I was tired. And it only took a second to refresh my memory on how much I really regretted NOT bringing our mower home and borrowing this crazy mower instead.
Okay, so I speed-mowed. I pushed with all my might as fast as I could. The grass guard still flapped around like a flag in the breeze, but the duct tape held on. Somewhere along the way, a spring fell off of it and just rolled around on the top of the mower. Still worked, though, so I moved on. I finished at about 10:00 ... zero daylight left. Plenty of mosquitoes, though. To be honest, I don't even know if I actually got all the grass, as I was sort of guessing at where my lines were on the last few passes... it was that dark. I guess when the light of tomorrow morning rolls around, I can take a look to see just what the damage is. For now, though, I am thankful that it's done and that the crazy mower is back in its rightful garage. Let's just say, I have sworn about two hundred times that I will NOT do that again. Next time, I don't care what it takes, I am bringing my own mower home with me. And if that can't be done, I'm hiring someone!