Bolens and Me
I've never blogged about a garden tractor/mower before, but I think I will.
Last week, Peg and I decided that I really did need to do what I could, as long as I could, in keeping up the house, etc. Since neither of us has the energy or the knees to hold hand(le)s with a rotary walk-behind mower any more, we've had to get other people to maintain the lawn, the leaves, the twigs, etc. Mostly, that's been the grandkids, but they're to the point where they have full calendars, already, so they're not going to be available much, any more. So, last Monday, Peg and I made the rounds of the Lowe's, Home Depot, Sears, and Ace websites, to see what sort of deals they had on riding mowers. After picking out the store that seemed to have the best, we drove over there.
They had this Bolens 38", 15.5 horsepower tractor-mower, like the picture, out front. On sale for $100 off normal price. Right next to it was a similar Bolens, 2 horsepower less, for the same price. They had others there, but the best buy was, by far, the 15.5 hp model, so we bought it. And a grass bagging attachment for it, which is sort of big and fancy itself.
Tuesday morning we hitched up our little utility trailer to Taz, went over there and had them load the mower and bagger on, and brought'em home. We also stopped on the way and filled up the mower with gas. After getting here, I coasted the mower off the trailer .. it's got a loading ramp attached .. put the little miracle battery charger/tender on the battery, and charged it up. Then I got on to crank it up and get it running.
Nothing. Turning the key did absolutely nothing. No lights, no starter, no nothing (except silence). So I called the store and got the guy in that department. He said the battery was bad, it happened all the time. I said no, it was fully charged. He said "They sit outside in the springtime (in front of the store) and you can't keep kids from sitting on them and turning the key on, and leave them on, etc. And it didn't seem to change his opinion when I reminded him they NEVER leave the keys in the mowers outside!
I went downstairs and jumped a wire from the battery post, to the battery terminal on the starter, and the engine cranked over immediately.
Good battery. Check.
Went back in, called, and asked to speak to the department manager. Told him about the mower, which seemed to already have gained some notoriety among store personnel. They said the store manager would call that day (Tuesday).
Wednesday, I called and got a nice lady named Robin in the sales department. She, too, had heard about my mower. She said she'd have them load up a new one and bring it out the next day (delivery trucks leave early), and swap out with me. I told her be sure to note that I had the 15.5 hp model, and I didn't want the smaller model (the engine itself is only about 2/3 the size of the 15.5, meaning it has to work that much harder, etc), and be sure I got the right model. She said OK.
Next day (Thursday) about noon, a very nice truck driver named Charlie pulls up, takes a forklift and brings my new power up the driveway and sets it down. He hits the key and it fires right up. Well, I thank him profusely as he prepares to pick up my old mower, and get real happy. Until I lift the hood.
Yup. 13.5 hp. 344cc instead of 500cc.
I point that out to Charlie, who gets really upset. Seems he's a guy who really likes to see happy customers. So he calls the store, makes sure (took 15 mins on his cell phone) they have one like I want, there, and then says he's taking both of them back and will bring my new one, which he will make sure runs, the next morning.
Now, I know he started his runs at 6am Thursday, but nonetheless, he calls back about 4 o'clock and says "I don't want to go home until I get you all set, so I'll be over in 20 minutes with your mower". And he was.
Fired right up .. YIPPEE .. so I rode it into the garage and started to put together the bagger attachment (it's a big deal).
Friday afternoon, I get it all ready and assemble the ductwork, then fit it to the mower. Except it doesn't fit.
Oh, the huge steel framework fits on the back, and all that, but the ductwork doesn't begin to fit the mowing deck. Since the real reason I wanted to get this thing done (really wanted to get it done Monday, not FRIDAY) was that there were these big embarrassing WEEDS sticking skyward in my small but ugly front yard.
By this time I figured I'm just going to mow the yard without the bagger. I'd show them weeds, by golly, and when I get the bagger I'll go back over and pick up the trash it left behind. So I did, all 5 minutes' worth.
Saturday morning, I went downstairs to try to figure this thing out. And I took the two following pictures:
Turns out he'd owned a mower shop for 30 years and just sold it to move to Birmingham. See .. he KNEW all about these problems. He'd Been There, Done That.
See .. I finally found the right guy.
NOW. I'm not just sitting around, trying to think of ways to aggravate my carpal tunnel by typing goodness-knows-how-many words about a lawn mower. But think of a couple things:
- How upset should I be? Can I let this affect my life ... beyond the condition of my yard?
- Am I having any more trouble getting this straight than God did, getting ME straight?
- Has all the interruption been any more painful for me than Calvary was, for Jesus?
This whole thing is kind of like my life. When the mower deal is done, it's going to feel good to be able to go out and mow the 3000 square feet of grass, have it bag up the leaves for me, and also to vacuum up the leaves (we live in a forest) off the 4000 square feet of driveway ... it runs clear around the house .. and know I'm taking care of what God has blessed me with here.