Chin Up, Buttercup


| 5/12/2015 11:33:00 AM


Tags: Coping, Mowing, New Tasks, Lois Hoffman,

Country Moon“Chin up, buttercup,” is my good friend Steph’s favorite saying when something has you down. Lately, I’ve been heeding that saying a lot, so much in fact that I hope my chin isn’t so far up that I walk around with my nose in the air. I am overwhelmed, not snooty.

Remember last year when I wrote about passing the mowing rites to our grandson Wyatt? Well, they’re being passed back again, this time falling in my lap. We got an X-Mark zero-turn mower. I have never driven one even though it was always on Jim’s list to teach me. It just seemed that every time I wanted to learn it was too late, too early, not enough time, grass was too wet, grass was too dry – you get the drift. Nothing scared him more than the thought of me on that mower.

This year nothing scared me more than getting on that mower. I put it off as long as I could because, after all, there is a wide gap in the time frame of when you should start to mow. Some start almost before the last snowflake is gone and others never start. Finally I decided, how hard could it be? After all, it’s not like I have a dozen choices when I’m on the thing. I either go forward, backward, right or left. So I thought, but, as usual, mastering the maneuvering of this machine was just another lesson to be learned.

Wyatt jumped on it the first day, and it was like he had been doing it forever and he’s only 13. I needed a cheat sheet just to start the engine. He’s still laughing about that one. The first few times I never even engaged the blades, I just tried driving it in a straight line. I found out that, indeed, there were more directions to go than just four, it was called circles.

Suddenly, I remembered the horror stories of a friend of ours who bought a zero-turn mower for his mother a few years ago. He showed her how to use it and when he thought she was confident, he went home. Not even a half hour later she called him up and told him to take it back where he got it. In that half hour she had run it up a tree and completely demolished the dog house. The only good thing was that the dog wasn’t in the house!

Just when I thought it was hopeless, something clicked and I “got it.” In no time at all, I was zipping over the yard. The rows weren’t exactly straight, but that would come eventually. I did make the mistake of turning on a rise in the backyard and ended up scalping the lawn. When I got done, Wyatt asked me if I knew what I did. “Yep.”




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