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Monday, July 1, 2013

Toro! Toro! Toro!

Okay.  So we have established the fact that I can’t keep a husband or a working lawn mower.  It’s a conspiracy.  Seems like whenever I had a husband, I didn’t hafta worry about a lawn mower.  I already told everyone (and God) that I don’t want another husband.  But I really would like to be able to have a working lawn mower. 

If you’ve followed my blog, you know that I have personally killed about four lawn mowers since I have lived here at The 409.  I didn’t abuse them, I promise.  I have always taken good care of them.  I won’t bore you with the details, but if you are so inclined, you can do a search on this blog for “lawn mower”, and you can catch up on my turbulent relationships with lawn mowers (and husbands, if you wish.)  The most recent mower was purchased toward the end of last summer, and I absolutely love it. A shiny red Toro self-propelled one.  I love that I can crank it with one pull of the rope, even after it sat over the winter, and each subsequent time out of the shed.

Happy Cathy!

Unfortunately, first trip out of the shed this summer, and the self-propel mechanism went out.  It was only about six months old, and had only been used three or four times at the end of last summer. So in good faith, I returned it to Home Depot.  My first moment of angst was when they told me it would take four weeks to repair it and get it back.  They were not impressed with my grumbling and eye rolling, and told me "four weeks, ma'am, at least". Thankfully, my dad was willing to take care of the mowing, and as it was early in the season, every couple of weeks was plenty enough.  My second moment of angst was 4 ½ weeks later, when I was told I would be charged $52.00.  Even worse, no one could tell me why.  They would be able to tell me once it was delivered and we would look at the ticket.  A few days later, one phone call said the mower was ready to be picked up, and arrangements were made to go get it.  A few hours later, another phone call said, no, in fact, it had not  been delivered to the store, but because it was en route, the paperwork had been completed, and the service call marked as done. So they assumed it had been delivered. Still no explanation on why there was a charge.  Finally, the moment came for me to pick up the mower, and I learn that the problem was not in the motor, rather the belt that operates the self-propel thingy had burned up.  And we all know that “belts” are considered routine maintenance, and not covered under warranty. My blood pressure is starting to rise.  The sweet young lady behind the counter had no idea as to why they would have kept my mower for four weeks, and then fix it, and charge me for a repair that was not covered by the warranty, without at least a courtesy phone call first.  My dad could have fixed the belt, and I wouldn’t have been without my mower for over a month.  I  stomped my foot a few times, but I realized the young girl behind the counter was not at fault. The gentleman from “Receiving” agreed with me that it did't seem quite right, and gave me the number of the folks in Atlanta who do the repairs. He felt I should not have been charged at all, under the circumstances. I knew I'd never see the money refunded, but I sure wanted to voice my displeasure with the way it was handled.  I called and left several messages.  So far, I have yet to hear from them. 

The busy days of summer were in full swing, and with lots of stuff going on, I simply forgot to follow up on it.  I was just happy to have my mower back home, in perfect running condition.  My dad had just cut the grass a few days before we picked it up, so I was good for another couple of weeks.

With all the rain we’ve been having, the grass has been growing at a very fast pace, and has required mowing on a weekly basis.  Today was either my third or fourth time using the mower since I got it back from the repair shop.

Not quite halfway through the job, I noticed that it seemed like it was moving awfully slow, and I was having to put forth an effort.  I tilted it onto the back wheels and... Oh, no!  The front wheels were not turning.  Again.  I don’t know if you’ve ever tried pushing a self-propelled mower without the self-propel thingy working.  There’s something about the way it is constructed that makes it more difficult to push than a regular push mower.  Oh, it’s a breeze when it’s working properly; sometimes I have to almost do a little trot to keep up with it.  But when I have to use my actual strength and muscles to push it – that’s a different story altogether.  

Clearly, if I had wanted a human-powered push mower, I’d have purchased one of those in the first place.  No, I wanted a self-propelled mower, so that's what I purchased. 

I do love cutting the grass, errr… walking behind the mower and guiding it across the yard.  It’s a nice workout, and one of the few times I work up a sweat and get really dirty.  I crank up the iPod, and listen to music.  I sort things out in my head, I pray, I have imaginary conversations with people, and sometimes vent my anger and frustration at whatever has me angry or frustrated.  So, it’s truly not that I don’t like cutting grass.  I do.  I just HATE it when the equipment doesn’t work.

And did I mention that I had to cut the remainder of the yard (the entire back yard) the old-fashioned way? By actually pushing the mower.  But, it was worse than the old-fashioned way, because it was harder to push than a regular mower.  Whine. 

So, here we are in the middle of a hot, rainy summer, and my mower is broken again.  I gotta say, I’m pretty pissed about it.  I’ll be calling Home Depot tomorrow, and hope that I will wait patiently while they page the manager.  I hope I will be sweet and kind, but firm and expectant.  I hope that I will be a happy customer when it’s all said and done. What I’d really like is for them to tell me to bring my mower in, and they will give me another one.  What I am afraid they will tell me is to bring it in and they will send it off.  Ummm. No.  We won’t be doing that.  Not unless they will give me one to use for the next four or five weeks that it would be gone.  And not if they are going to charge me another $52.00 to “fix” it. 

"Tora! Tora! Tora!" was the code word the Japanese used during the attack on Pearl Harbor.  I'm really hoping I don't have to resort to "Toro! Toro! Toro!" with Home Depot over my mower.  But, I am ready to assume attack mode if necessary.

I would ask you to pray for me tomorrow – but it might be better if you pray for the Home Depot Man.

I’m just waiting for that one as-yet elusive summer where I can make it through the entire grass-growing-mowing season without my mower spending half the summer in the shop. 

Seriously.  Ain't nobody got time for that!
I'm far too cheap and poor to hire a yard man.  So if I continue to have problems, I guess I will end up taking boyfriend/husband applications.   And it’s SO not worth it for three hours a week in the summer just to get my yard work done…

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