It took me four days, a total of 5 hours, and two different mowers to finally get my quarter acre lawn mowed last week. How, you ask? Let me explain.
I first attempted to mow my lawn on "Manual Labor Tuesday" using my 8-year-old, non-self-propelled, non-mulching hunk of junk mower. I'd just managed to struggle through two passes in the backyard when it conked out on me, which caused me to have a mini-meltdown. Keep in mind that even managing to mow that small area was a huge feat, and physically exhausting, because I practically dislocate my shoulder, as well as a few ribs, every time I have to start the darn thing and then have to put all my weight into it in order to use it. (Ironically I'd bought it because I thought it would make for a great workout. I am a ding dong, I know.) When it conked out on me on Tuesday I just couldn't take it anymore so I hopped into my car, went to Home Depot, and bought a new self-propelled, mulching mower. I felt a little guilty spending the money then told myself, "Kelly Ann. This is why God created credit cards." Yet, by the time I got home with the mower the sun was setting so I decided to wait and have "Manual Labor Wednesday" in order to finish.
After work on Wednesday I was super excited to unveil my shiny, red, Toro, with the fancy bag on the back- the kind that I see my neighbors using in their yards and I felt very proud. I had a smile on my face as I got it out of the box and read the directions. I'd managed to put the handle in place correctly, and then the bag, and I even read about how to put the oil in gas in. I clearly read that it was dangerous to overfill the oil so I poured a little bit in, and checked the dipstick, then a little more, and checked, etc. I wanted to be very careful and do everything right since it's my brand new shiny red Toro! Once I saw a little bit of wetness at the full line I tried starting the mower and it started on the first pull. I was overjoyed!
I began "Manual Labor Wednesday" with a hopeful spirit and a new love of working in the yard- then immediately noticed that grass was flying all over the place and even up into my face. I really couldn't imagine why that was happening, there was a bag on the back after all so why wasn't the grass going in there? Well my neighbor Greg came over and said, "Kelly. You need to read the directions. You didn't put the bag on correctly." At that point I realized I was too busy looking at the pictures in the instruction manual to REALLY read the entire thing. With Greg's help, and my hopeful spirit a bit deflated, I resumed mowing the front yard.
SIDE NOTE: Using the bag on the mulching mower sucks. You have to stop every couple of minutes to empty it and it's messy and takes forever. It's a week later and my allergies are still recovering. Epic fail! That's my opinion of the mower bag!
But I digress. So I managed to finish mowing my very tiny front yard in an hour and a half. Then I pushed the mower over to the back yard and attempted to finish there what I'd started on Tuesday but the mower wouldn't start. I checked the gas, put more in, and the mower wouldn't start. I checked the oil and thought there was enough in it, but the mower wouldn't start. So then I started crying and pushed my shiny new, red Toro back into the garage, went into the house and hopped into the shower, then put on my pajamas and proceeded to drink wine.
Thursday I didn't get home until after dark so I spent a little time reading the mower directions while watching TV and decided to resume Yard Work Hell on "Manual Labor Friday".
Friday afternoon around 4:45 I decided to read the manual ONE MORE TIME, just for grins. Luckily that time I noticed the little notation in small print and in parenthesis about the maximum amount of oil allowed in the mower. 22 ounces. I looked at the bottle of oil that came with the mower and it only contained 20 ounces. I shook what was left in it and realized I'd only put about 4 ounces in the mower on Wednesday. No wonder why it wouldn't start when I tried to finish the back yard!
After adding more oil it started like a charm and I was really excited to get the back yard finished because the grass was so deep by then that I could have laid down in it and you wouldn't have been able to see me. With that in mind I tried to set the tires at the highest setting, which would have me mowing at a 4 inch height. Then I was going to lower it and mow it a second time it at 3 inches. That was my plan but, for some reason, I couldn't get the mower to adjust to the proper setting. I tried every setting on the front tires and the mower still cut the grass too short- which then caused the mower to stall out- which caused me to have a major meltdown. Refusing to give up I decided to mow a little and tip the mower back to blow the grass out, then mow, and then tip back and blow, etc. until the mower stalled so many times it wouldn't start up again. That's when I had to bring out the beast.
On the 4th day of Yard Work Hell I manage to finish mowing my back yard with my 8-year-old, non-self-propelled, non-mulching hunk of junk mower, a.k.a. THE BEAST, that crapped out on me Tuesday and made me cry. I pushed and strained and even had to put a foot on the handle and push with my leg whenever it got stuck. I even used the mow, tilt, and blow method so it wouldn't stall out in the foot high grass. I finished the last half of the back yard that night in 2 hours.
Saturday my plan was to call Toro and complain about the shiny, red DUD of a mower they sold me but then thought better of it and looked at the manual one more time. Did you know that when adjusting the height on a mower you're supposed to adjust the back wheels as well as the front? I'd assumed, since the back wheels are SO much bigger, and since I didn't see an obvious looking adjusting type lever back there, that they stayed the same height all the time.
Needless to say, I didn't call Toro.