If At First You Don’t Succeed

My brother left a lawnmower here the last time he visited, almost two years ago. I’m sure he planned to come back and help with the yard whenever he traveled this way, but then The Bob intervened, and he hasn’t been back.

Last year, it was so dry, I didn’t have to worry about a lawn. To be honest, I have no lawn to worry about even now, but last year I didn’t even have any weeds in the yard, so the lawnmower just sat immobile.

Well, this year, with all the rain, the weeds are growing rampant. Even a bit of grass is growing. And it all needed to be cut back. For some reason, I felt nervous about using the machine since I’d never used it and didn’t remember how. Still, I dragged out the lawnmower, found the manual my brother left with me, and proceeded to read the instructions. The machine had been put into storage mode, meaning it was locked and folded and set in an upright position to get it out of the way. It took me a while to find all the right parts, first in the manual and then on the machine, and get it back to working condition.

I thought I’d read the instructions properly, but when I tried mowing, the blades never engaged. I called my brother to see if he could figure out what I was doing wrong, but he didn’t have the time right then. So I went back and read the instructions again.

And then it clicked. Literally. I had to push this button, pull that lever, and like magic, the thing turned on and I managed to get my weeds aka “my lawn” mowed.

No wonder the thought of mowing the lawn made me nervous. I’m out of the practice of concentrating, and it takes concentration to read instruction manuals and try to decipher the graphics.

It just goes to show, if at first you don’t succeed, read the instructions, and if you still don’t succeed, read them again.

My next venture will be to see if I can figure out the string trimmer. The right-of-way between the sidewalk and the street is overgrown with woody weeds and tall tree sprouts growing out of the roots of a tree that had been chopped down, and it all needs to be cut back, but that’s a project for another day.


Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator

3 Responses to “If At First You Don’t Succeed”

  1. Estragon Says:

    Assuming the pic is of your mower, it appears to be a horizontal axis reel type. If kept reasonably sharp, this type (IMHO) does a better job than a vertical axis rotary type power mower (which can tend to tear/smash instead of cutting). They also sound and smell nicer in use.

    My string trimmer may be my least favorite tool, with more time spent untangling line jams than trimming. Hopefully yours will behave better.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      No, that’s not my mower. It’s just a generic photo of a lawnmower; I didn’t want to post a photo of mine since power tools around here tend to go missing. The cutting blades on mine are horizontal. It’s electric and quieter than most lawn mowers around here. It has a mulching feature, which turns the grass (or weeds, in my case) to mulch.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      And so far, my trimmer seems to act like yours does.

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