You see him finally riding his dream:
Ever since moving out among the thug deer and the ticks 3 years ago, one thing became clear: To keep the wildlife at bay and away from our back door, we needed to mow approximately 5 of the 8 acres of Wisconsin prairie upon which we reside throughout the growing months of the year. (See, the deer don't like to leave the tall grass and the ticks like to stay in the deer traffic paths. The ticks aren't adverse to eating human when they can get it, but are happiest, again, in the tall grass, where the deer play.)
Therefore, Gorbag and I went shopping for our first riding mower. We went around to places before the snow had thawed and, after comparing advice from friends and online forums, we decided on this little beauty and brought her home (well, as it was 3 years ago, it is actually the 5000 and not the 6500, but looks the same, so good enough for government blogs and so forth).
The snow thawed, the grass grew, and she started breaking down about 2-3 times a season. Fortune had partially smiled upon us as we had ponied up for the extended service plan, where they send the guy out rather than making you bring the damn thing in. Over the past 3 years, we've soaked Sears for the price of the plan plus the mower twice over in service costs. We also exchange Christmas cards with Burt, the service guy. But, while it warms the little cockles of our hearts to stick it to major corporations for sucky products, it doesn't get the grass cut.
As the grass sprouted that first spring in '04, we began noticing various serious landscaper-guys and occasional gentleman ruralites, like us, with this new breed of mower. Fast. Low to the ground. Fast. Tough. Fast. Yellow. Fast. And, best of all, not parked by the side of the garage with the hood up, a person hopping up and down nearby throwing things at it, curse words drifting across the hills.
There was instant desire.
But, "No," we told ourselves. We had a perfectly good (Well, not really "good", but work with us. We'd paid for the damn thing AFTER doing the research.) mower at home. And what if the damn thing broke down every other month? That still meant that it could be used 6 weeks out of 8, right?
That leads us to this year. It broke. And broke again. And almost broke a third time. (There was all this white smoke that started pouring out of it, but it went away when the thing was stopped and didn't return the next day, when it was restarted.) And the second time it took 3 weeks to get it repaired. And the orc part of Charles roared and would not be denied.
So, now he has his new yellow mower, a terror to vegetation everywhere, and, as I recall, he can mow the place in about 2 hours, once he gets the controls down, with a good tailwind, as opposed to 5 hours with the other machine.
Last night, I walked him around the yard and, once again, showed him where things were planted so he wouldn't cut them down. (I do so enjoy deluding myself.) And then he hopped aboard and took 'er for a spin.
Don't worry, though, we are keeping the crappy Garden Tractor for a spare. We're sure that the new one will have the occasional break down (oh, yes, we did spring for the extended service agreement on that one, too). Plus, when they are both working, we can mow in tandem, creating patterns and love knots in the grass or mowing in formation, like fighter pilots, only with 2 of us, on the ground, and much slower.