I have always had a walk behind mower. Some had front wheel propulsion, but others I had to push. However, in the past few years, the almost perfect woman began getting on my case about my yard activity. I would come in from working in the yard, red faced with a sweat soaked shirt and start rummaging for something, anything, cold to drink. This is when she would give me ‘the look’, and then the speech. “You know, you are not as young as you used to be. You can’t keep pushing yourself like that. You need to pace yourself. Take some breaks. It doesn’t have to all be done today”. Other times it would be “why don’t you hire the boys down the street to do the lawn?. They are in the landscape business and you know they do a good job”. I would reply “at my age, I need all the exercise I can get, plus, I hate to pay for something I can do myself”. Normally, that would end with a shot across the bow like “exercise has nothing to do with it. You’re just to cheap to pay to have it done”. Well!!! I would just write that off as a difference in perspective.
Last week, I was sitting down at the brew pub with my neighbor and we were talking about his riding mower. His yard is smaller then mine and he is 12 years younger then me, but his mower is a must have tool. Then yesterday, I went to a family reunion and got to talking to my wife’s cousin’s husband who just recently bought himself a honker of a John Deere tractor to replace his Cub Cadet. He too is younger then me however, he is also much more into labors which I cringe to even think about. But, the more I got to thinking about it (there are only two guys on my street that have walk behind mowers, and one of them is me) the more I started to warm to the idea.
So, Sunday I decided to check out Lowe’s and Home Depot to see what they have available and see if they are running any July 4th sales. Walking up to a row of red and green and yellow lawn tractors I glanced at the first one. It had a tag that said $2800. I immediately began to hyperventilate and used that opportunity to sit on one. I quickly rationalized that I must have started at the wrong end of the row. Walking down past them I was pleased to see the prices decreasing. What I wasn’t pleased to see was where they stopped. I was staring at a minimum of $1300 dollars. I started thinking ‘ if I were to go out and start mowing lawns for people, how long do you think it would take me to make enough money to buy one of those machines’. It was of course a moot point as I struggle to keep up with my own lawn.
When I got home and my breathing had normalized, I sat down to give it all a good think. There was always the alternative of a used one, but I only plan to buy one and I don’t want to take a chance on something that I don’t know anything about. So now it was down to how much do you need it to do and what’s the best price you can get for one that only does that. Problem is, they don’t make one of those. My current mower has a 28 inch cut while the rider has a 42 inch cut. The brochure touted how many less laps you would have to make around the yard. I thought “you’re sitting down. Who cares how many passes you have to make. That’s why the damn thing has a cup holder.
I was still staring at a minimum of $1300. That means that after I had mowed my lawn ten times, it would have cost me $130 per mow, plus gas. That break even point was going to approach my break even point. That’s a lot of money just to sit down. I went and got myself an adult beverage and sat on the porch, for free. While there, I heard in the distance what I think was a bird chirping. His call sounded like cheep, cheep, cheep. I’m pretty sure it was a bird. I mean, what else could it be, right???
P.S. Shortly after my wife passed away, I was going through a dresser draw in a back bedroom and found a new ball cap that said “Born In The USA a Long, Long Time Ago”. It was sitting on a new tee shirt that says “This Is The Oldest I Have Ever Been So Far”. I suspect they had been purchased as gifts for my upcoming birthday. I thought to myself, I have to hand it to her. She sure had a way of getting her point across.