Monday, April 9, 2012
She Ain't Pretty, But She's Mine!
Just look at that lawn. Beautiful, no? I'm afraid that's as good as it's going to get if we don't get some rain soon, 'cause I'm not watering. Every year I try, but every year I fail. If Mother Nature wants a dry lawn, I'm going to give her what she wants. It's least expensive that way.
Back to my mower. This Craftsman beauty represents the best bargain I ever got. Perhaps that's why she's so beautiful to me.
I was living in Milwaukee's Washington Heights neighborhood in 2002 and, one day, while walking along lovely Washington Avenue (the same avenue that Milwaukee's Mayor -- Tom Barrett -- lives on) I saw a woman pushing a lawnmower to the end of her walkway. Next to the mower she set a gas can. She started to place a sign on the mower and I asked, "Are you selling this?"
"Yep," she said. "It's brand new. Used once. I bought it only last month, but I've decided to move into a maintenance-free condo. I'm selling it for $50, along with this full tank (2-gallons) of gas."
"Fifty bucks?!" I queried in surprise. "I'll take it!! The only problem is, I don't have any money on me. I live two blocks away. Take the sign away and I'll run home and return with the fifty as soon as I can."
"Okay," she said.
And I ran like the friggin' wind. I knew that mower new sold for at least $240. The gas and the can worth at least another ten bucks. This was the deal of the decade.
I returned -- cash in hand -- and completed the transaction. The used-once Craftsman lawn beast was mine.
Eleven years later, she's still going strong, and every year, the value gets better and better.
If she's a little cranky, and difficult to start, rather than get angry, I need to remind myself: I paid only $50 for her 11 years ago and have done no more maintenance than pour gas in her tank. (Mostly true. I have pounded the air filter against concrete and checked the oil once every couple of years.)
I think when she finally retires, I'll buy another just like her. Maybe full price, but a Craftsman.