Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Pay It Forward

One weekend earlier this summer I needed to mow our fairly small lawn. I went out to the shed and didn't see the lawn mower. I did a cursory poking around, then asked my wife if she had done something with it. She had not, so I looked more in depth figuring it got buried under all the stuff we have been throwing in there since last summer. The shed is not big, but was in need of some organizing. I still couldn't find it, so I asked our neighbor with whom we share the mower. He had not seen it either.

In disbelief I slowly came to the realization that it must have been stolen. I really could not believe it. We're in the burbs and I have slowly relaxed my urban high-security ways. Plus this mower was a year or two younger than myself and on average took three pulls to get started with a puff of blue smoke. We inherited it from the previous owner and we shared it with the neighbor since we both have fairly small lawns. It served it's purpose and had only cost sixty bucks when it was bought refurbished a couple years back. Not really something high on a thief's 'must have' list.

I poked around some more in the shed worried something more valuable had been taken, but nothing else was missing. All could figure was that some teenager took it to make a go-cart or some other small motorized vehicle. After thinking about it some more, I did remember that the door of the shed had been left wide-open earlier in the week. Well, that's one way to learn a lesson. Thankfully it was not something more expensive.

While we were trying to determine what had happened we had also talked to the retired couple across the street from us. They were also surprised at the theft and generously offered use of their electric and push-mowers. I had remembered they had the push mower, but I hadn't seen them use it in a while. Their next-door neighbor is in her eighties and now has a service take care of the yardwork. She saw that they were using the push-mower and 'took pity' on them by giving them her old electric mower. I think at one point I mentioned how it would be fun to try their push mower since I had never had one before. I grew up on gas and electric mowers. They said they had no use for it anymore so we could have it.

I was/am ecstatic. Over the years I have gotten more and more interested in reducing how much I/we tax the environment. When we moved it, I saw how small the lawn was and really wanted get a push mower. I didn't mind the old gas mower, but I did look forward to having a push mower one day. That day has come.

It's an older model as you can see from this picture. (Blogger won't let me attach it to the post. I'll try again later.) I find it funny that it has "American" blazen across the front of it considering I'm the only one that I know of in the neighborhood. As far as mode of operation, I make twice as many passes as with the gas mower. And you can't let it go more than a week without a trim whereas you could go a week and a half or two weeks without cutting the grass with the gas mower. It also doesn't get the edges so you have to come back with a hand trimmer. It can also get bound up on twigs. But I still really enjoy it. I like the extra exercise and the fact that I can cut the lawn any time of day and any day of the week.

I also like that fuzzy green feeling I get from it.


Blork said...

Congratulations! A similar thing happened to me earlier this summer when I busted our electric mower and replaced it with a push mower. It's light, and quiet, and does a decent job.

Apparently, one gas-powered mower pollutes as much as ELEVEN cars (because of the inefficient two-stroke motor), and they are noisy and stinky. I LOVE my push mower!

Unknown said...

Yes, I remember that post. It got me hoping that someday I could join the growing legion of push mowers. Tonight will be a test because it's been 11 days since I mowed it last.

Since our's is an older model, it does weigh a good 25 - 30 lbs. So I get a bit of an upper body workout also.

Anonymous said...

I remember years ago when our mower had to replaced my dad wanted to get a push one. We talked him out of it, but since he was so convinced I've always wanted to try one. Haven't had the chance yet though.

Hashi said...

When I think of push mowers I always think of our old neighbor, Arnold Cronin. He lived on a corner building in the city, just as we did, which meant there was a lot of grass to mow in the summer, leaves to rake in the fall, and sidewalks to shovel in the winter. He was up there in age but still rather fit and was outside all the time with that push mower and more likely than not, singing an old Navy song.

Glad to see you got one, Frank.

Unknown said...

gp, I grew up with electric and gas mowers. Those exposed spinning blades always scared me.

Sis, I forgot that Mr Cronin had a push mower. Then again, your memory is better than mine. Yeah, our current area of grass is less than half of what we had as a kid. If we had a push mower back then, I would probably have been less likely to make two passes over each spot.

Anonymous said...

This morning, Haley Joel Osment came to mind for no particular reason. I thought about his movie "Pay It Forward". Then I read this. And then the title of this post. Weird.

Do they make new push mowers? Bet you it would cost as much as a gas one, but be so damn trendy and green that people will go for it. Hopefully the quality would be better as well.