Muttering as I attempted to put the grass catcher on the back of our riding lawnmower, I realized time takes its toll on everything. Over the years my husband has â€œfixedâ€ parts of the grass catcher, and although well meaning, his efforts make taking the thing on and offâ€¦ troublesome.
There are now cats-in-the-cradle type bungee cord webs holding the bins onto the back of the frame. It works for the most part although, on numerous occasions, I have stopped to empty the bins only to discover there are no bins. Somewhere, somehow in the worst possible place, they fell off and dumped their contents. Given my unawareness of being bin-less I probably did umpteen laps around the lawn simply sucking up leaves and blowing them right back. The neighbors must think Iâ€™m either insane or at least better than a comedy hour on television.
When I do want to empty the bins which actually stayed on the back of the lawnmower, it takes a small act of God to unleash the cords and unravel the twists and turns. Usually the bungee cords, freed from their duties, make a twangy snapping sound and disappear beneath the lawnmower. Worse yet, they immediately clasp some obscure rusty part so I canâ€™t pull them back out. After some time on my hands and knees in a downward dog position never meant for decent women, I find the cords decorated with a disturbing amount of grass and leaves and stuff I don’t want to know about. After dumping the bins, the cords need to be reapplied or I will once again be blowing leaves into the air.
The portion of the bagger’s tubing that attaches to the lawnmower chute is also patched and makeshift. Stretchy things that are about a half-inch too short to make the job easy, as well as an assortment of â€œSâ€ hooks, sorta-kinda keep the tubing from falling off every two minutes. At first I am resolved and patient. I shut off the lawnmower and safely fit the â€œSâ€ hooks into teeny-tiny holes millimeters from a suspiciously flesh-hungry mower blade. However, after the 85th time the tubing falls off, I begin to think, “How bad could it be if I don’t shut of the lawnmower? How many fingers am I willing to sacrifice?” I just want to get the lawn finished! And thus goes my summer and fall.
This past Saturday I hopped on the lawnmower and zipped around the yard sucking up red, gold, and brown leaves. By â€œzippedâ€ I mean not zipping at all. It was a slooooow process. I swear the lawnmower knows what a hellish ordeal it is to empty the bins, so it inhales about ten leaves before spewing all other leaves back onto the grass. To feel my pain, imagine yourself going thirsty to a beer fest wearing a one-piece pantsuit jumper. There is only one bathroom, which happens to be a dirty porta-potty. Try stripping down every few minutes under those conditions while keeping a smile on your face. Not that I would know how that feels. My beer fest analogy is strictly hypothetical. Ahem.
By the end of Saturday afternoon I was pleased with my efforts and backed our decrepit machine with its even decrepit-er grass catcher into the garage. â€œMaybe this is the last time I have to deal with it this year,â€ I thought. In a loving goodbye moment, I actually gave the hood a little pat. I think I heard something fall off and hit the garage floor, but I didnâ€™t stop to investigate.
On Sunday morning I looked out the window and gasped at the inches-deep blanket of leaves freshly adorning the lawn. It looked as if Mother Nature had substituted our Maple and Ash trees for dandelion fluff. One or two gusty bursts of windy breath had stripped the trees of all leaves and spread them thickly on the grass below.
Today is Wednesday. The leaves are still an oriental carpet of colors on the lawn. We had rain, and then a generous helping of snow overnight. The melting of said snow, promised by forecasters, has yet to happen.
My husband, returning from work, said, â€œWhen are you going to pick up the leaves?â€ Itâ€™s just lucky for him all the bungee cords and â€œsâ€ hooks are in use.