Friday, October 22, 2010

My Mowing Story.

So not only have I epic-failed the blogging-every-day thing, I have hardly blogged AT ALL during the month of October!

...And I still don't have much to blog about even now that I've started a post! This is ridiculous.

I guess, because it's on my mind, I can talk about work...
Work is GREAT FUN, especially when we're not stuck mowing all morning. Mowing -- in and of itself -- is a fairly easy job that is not too dirty or physically taxing and leaves you feeling quite accomplished once you have finished. However, mowing is also a very individualized job that doesn't give you much chance to talk (and.. dare I say.. FLIRT??) with coworkers. The lawn mower is way too noisy for pleasant communication, and everyone sort of breaks off and does their own thing in their own area anyway.

Another downside of mowing is hills. That's where all the real sweat comes in, especially once the sun has come over the mountains. Just last Wednesday I had to mow this BEAST of a hill -- I will affectionately call it the SOB -- that was pretty much at a 180-degree angle with the horizon. It was also in an area where water just DOESN'T GO AWAY, so it's always very muddy and slippery all of the time. Basically, your life is in constant peril whenever you mow this hill.

I have attempted to mow the SOB only once before, and it ended in a disaster.

I decided it would be best to mow from one side of the hill to another, rather than up and down. After a few scary trips across the top of the hill, I got to a particularly muddy section and suddenly the wheels of the mower completely lost traction with the ground and the mower began to slip sideways down the hill, dragging me with it. I ended up sliding down the muddiest half of the SOB on my butt, holding my feet out in front of me, praying for a place to sink my heels into for a foothold before I careened into the wall at the bottom of the hill, breaking my mower as well as my own body.
Fortunately, I was able to successfully find a foothold, stop the mower, and save myself from crashing into the wall. But this presented a new problem: I was now holding on to an active lawn mower, holding mysef for dear life in one place with just a tiny dirt patch for a foothold that could give way at any moment. What do I do now? I was far to weak to pull the mower back up toward me, and even if I could do that, there arrived the new problem of getting the rest of this muddy line done before I slipped again. I could just let go of the mower, but the image of my boss's face upon first gaze of the completely smashed two-thousand-dollar mower in a heap next to the wall at the foot of the hill turned me off to that idea very quickly.

There was only one solution: I would have to slowly make my way down that hill in as controlled and careful of a fashion as possible. This meant I would have to put a lot of faith in my limp arms, my heels, and the slippery muddy footholes that hopefully were present in my path. This would have one of two consequences: I would be successful in my quest and find myself safe -- though a little muddy -- at the bottom of the hill.
OR I could end up losing control and gravity would take me straight into that wall. Maybe in the meantime, my pant leg would get caught in the blade of the mower and... goodbye foot.

But did I have a choice? No. So down I went. I let my foot slip from that foothold that saved my life and I carefully tried to scootch my way down the hill with a hundred-pound-mower leading the way. My legs stretched as far out as they could, searching for new footholds with which I could manipulate my speed down the hill. My poor butt scraped against the grass and mudd, leaving stains on the seat of my pants that never ever would come out.

But by some miracle, I made it to the more shallow part of the hill and I was able to successfully turn the mower away from disaster.

It was then that I decided that this SOB was not going to get mowed -- at least not that day. As I dragged the mower away from the hill, I turned my head back toward the butt-smear I had left behind in the mudd and grass. "You may have won this time," I mumbled to that hill under my breath, "But we will meet again. Someday, SOB, I will mow you, and you will not know what hit you." This was my vow as I trekked back toward the shed. I was going to mow that hill or die trying.

Well, that day was last Wednesday. Early in the morning, I awoke with the knowledge that today I would have to mow the SOB. Suddenly, my resolve to completely own the SOB with my superior mowage was not as strong as it was a few weeks earlier. I dreaded that hill. I knew it had rained that week, which meant even MORE mud and slipperiness than before. Furthermore, I had stayed up until 2 in the morning the night morning doing homework, so I was in no way ready to start my day with mowing a death trap. Why did the day have to be TODAY? I moaned to myself as I trudged to work.
Upon my arrival at the mower shed, I selected the trustiest mower I could get my hands on and prepared it for battle. I tried to take my time doing it, though. Maybe one of the boys would go handle the SOB themselves and leave me to do some other area. Sadly, only one boy -- I'll call him THE BABY from now on -- went in that direction, and this boy was the biggest WIMP I've ever met in my life. No WAY he was gonna even HELP me do that hill. By the time I caught up with him, he had mowed EVERY OTHER AREA surrounding the SOB, so it was the ONLY THING left to do. Just as I arrived, he looked back at me, shrugged, and walked away. I felt very much like the Little Red Hen right then.

So there I was, alone with that monster hill. I stiffened my upper lip and raised my head erect. This SOB was not going to mow itself, and none of my coworkers were going to help me. It was just me and the SOB.

So off I went.

The first lesson I had learned since last time was how to manipulate the motor of the mower so I didn't have to push so hard. After weeks and weeks of mowing experience, I had figured out which mower had the best motor for the job. I trudged along, starting at the bottom of the hill and working my way up, side to side, side to side. Things were only slightly scary until about halfway up the hill; that was where the mud began to appear.

The hardest part about mowing hills is switching directions. Once you got your mower moving in a straight line, there's usually no problem. But in this case, I had to pull my mower up and around on its back legs to get it to go the right direction. And there was indeed a LOT of mud...

Before I could back down, I threw myself into pushing the mower around so it was facing back the way it came. There came a point where I was directly underneath the mower on the hill. I was precariously holding that giant machine on the steepest, muddiest part of the hill with two limp noodles for arms. I could see the back wheels slipping under the muck, leaving ugly scars in the otherwise very green grass just in front of me. I could feel my own feet slipping farther and farther down the hill, into puddles of grime. It was only a matter of time before my strength would give out and the mower would slide backwards and run me over. I took a deep breath, counted to three, and using all the arm strength I could muster, I pushed that mower out of its rut and up the hill.
And my feet slipped.

I could see my life flash before my eyes. The mower was going to careen backwards down the slippery surface, crushing me and tearing me limb from limb as it passed over my fallen body. Then it would roll headlong into the wall, bursting into a thousand pieces. Whatever was left of me would then be chopped up and fed to dogs by my boss as punishment for ruining a perfectly good mower. It was inevitable. The SOB had won.

But thank heavens for human reflexes! I don't know how my legs did it. One minute they were flailing in thin air, unable to find a firm grip on the ground... The next, they were planted sturdily into the soil, and I was able to turn that mower around and back to a saver, more vertical position with the hill. I had not fallen. The mower was safe. My body was safe. I could continue the trek across the SOB and finish the job.

Perhaps it was the confidence I gained from that little triumph, but I managed to complete the entire SOB without any further problems. This time, as I walked away from the hill, I looked back and saw clean stripes of tire tracks with hardly any mud scars. I had defeated the SOB.

I AM NEVER MOWING THAT LAWN AGAIN. Next time, I'm making the Baby do it.

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