Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Odds'n'Ends Redux

We did go to see "UP" yesterday. I know the kids enjoyed it, but I really enjoyed it. The first 20 minutes or so, however? Be warned. If you are at all like me, you will cry. And I'm not just talking the sniffles. I mean Ugly Crying--the kind where your chin wrinkles up, your eyes get red and puffy, and snot works overtime to make it difficult to breathe through your nose. But so worth it. Especially when your 4 year old pats you on the arm and says "It's okay mama. Don't cry." I think the kids were sad, but didn't have an adult perspective, so couldn't really relate. There was humor and action that the kids got, but there were also moments where only the adults in the theater were laughing. The 3D visuals were wonderful. (And the bonus of having your children look like mad scientists in those glasses? Totally worth the price of admission.) Go see it. It's a good way to spend a couple of hours.

Early Saturday morning I got in my car and drove to the farmer's market. I was determined. I was focused. I was on a mission. Strawberry season is not long, y'all, and I loves me some fresh strawberries. It was my first time to this particular market, so I strolled slowly along the different booths, taking it all in: asparagus, new potatoes, rhubarb, caramel corn, handmade soap, various planters of beautiful hostas, organic cheeses, meats, eggs. I wanted to take my reusable grocery bags and spin in circles singing like Julie Andrews as Maria von Trapp. The Stalls are Aliiiiiiiive with the Smells of Proooooduuuuuce!!! However I was able to get a hold on myself and continued along with poise and dignity, letting my nose lead me to the treasure I was seeking.

And then.....ahhhhh....strawberries! They were beautiful. I quickly selected two quarts and when the young lady behind the table reminded me that strawberry season is short and strawberries freeze well, I doubled up. I put them in my bags and guarded them carefully. I had plans for these berries. I was going home and slicing some up straight away for breakfast to surprise my strawberry loving children.

They didn't disappoint me with their responses. We all ooohed and ahhhed over their sweetness and told Patrick how much he was missing, as he doesn't eat strawberries. Doesn't eat strawberries??? What is the matter with my beloved? I believe this must be his only character flaw.

The last bits of berry are in my fridge, but I did take that young lady's advice and froze some. How delish will those be on the 4th of July? If I can hold out that long...

Later on Saturday afternoon, I was mowing the lawn. Usually Patrick takes on this job, but he's been rather busy painting trim and shutters and I didn't mind. But, phew! We have a big yard! Especially when you're walking behind a push mower. Granted, it's a power mower, so there's a little help, but jeepers, it was cutting a chunk outta my day. It takes about an hour and a half to mow.

Lately, Patrick has been tossing around the idea of a riding mower. He lays in bed looking at the John Deere catalog like he used to look at me. He says with longing in his voice, "42 inch cutting path...automatic transmission...two cup holders..." Why a one rider vehicle needs two cup holders seems surplus to requirements, but apparently it is a big draw. Then the frugal Scot in his genes kicks in and he says,"But there's nothing wrong with the mower we have. And it was given to us--free!" And then he sighs. It's really quite moving watching him warring with himself.

As luck would have it, I took the decision out of his hands on Saturday. I was three quarters of the way finished with the yard. I was cutting around the basketball goal and cut the corner too short. There was a sickening whir, a deep growl, and a metallic screech followed by a dull KATHUMP! and the mower shut off. I killed it. I had accidentally run over a bolt securing a corner of the basketball goal to the ground and I murdered the lawn mower. I tried to restart it, but the string wouldn't budge. I hefted the mower onto it's side to see what I could see. Yeah, this isn't really my area of expertise. I didn't see anything, but again, what do I know? I left the mower on its side in the driveway, knowing that when Patrick pulled up in his car, he'd see it and take a look.

I went inside to the air conditioned house and got an icy-cold glass of water and paced. I knew he wouldn't be angry, but I also knew that his Scottish side was winning the war and he was planning on waiting on purchasing the rider. I didn't have to wait long.

He came in, asked why the mower was lying on its side and I led him outside and showed him what happened. He took a look and then shook his head. "How did you do that?!" he said in astonishment. "Just talented, I guess," I demurred.

He declared the mower well and truly dead. I apologized profusely. He laughed and told me he wasn't mad. We weren't out any money, but it looked like we would be soon because he was going to go talk to the guy about the Deere--which by the way, I would be banned from driving. (Oh, boohoo...I'm sooooo sad....)

"Well, then, Happy Father's Day early!" I sang.

He decided to put the now defunct mower at our curb with a "FREE" sign attached. Neither of us were sure this strategy would work for a couple of reasons: 1.) We live at the end of a long cul-de-sac in a neighborhood of cul-de-sacs. You have to really want to be in our neighborhood to be here. There is no through-road. Which is great on cutting down on traffic, but not so great when you're trying to get junkers to come through to take your broken-down hulk of a mower. 2.) The mower was broken. I wasn't sure anybody would want it. Maybe somebody looking for parts, but that has to be a very slim percentage of people looking for stuff.

But, hoping against hope that we wouldn't have to pay extra to have the garbage company haul it away, we set it out there. We also hoped it would go quickly, lest the neighbors complain. Ahem.

Lo and behold, when we woke the next morning, the mower was gone! We rejoiced!! Huzzah!!

We didn't know who had taken it, we were just glad to be rid of it. The new rider would be here at the end of the week and we wanted to be shed of the old one. O Happy Day!

The mower's absence lasted one day. When I was getting in the van yesterday morning to take the kids to the movie, I glanced down our long driveway and spotted the mower sitting back where we had left it! Great. We have a dog that doesn't come back when we call her, but the mower? It's got it down.

I was frightened that whoever had taken the mower might have penned a nasty note back to us on our "FREE" sign, but no. Just the mower. Returned to the exact spot we left it. Darn it. And also? Pretty funny. I had to call Patrick to tell him. I had a fit of the giggles when I told him what happened and he laughed pretty hard when he heard it.

He was out to lunch with some customers when I called him, so I'm sure he regaled them of the whole story. Including the part where I killed the mower and am banned from driving the new one. Hmph.

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