Monday, August 12, 2019

The Gift of a Lawnmower

It's my late father's birthday, so he's been on my mind. But especially last week when my lawnmower died. I had a bite sized patch left on my front lawn when it began to putter and hesitate. I held still, thinking it just needed a few beats. The grass was thick and maybe damp, because we've had so much rain this year. Instead of rallying, like it normally does, my mower quit. Long story short. It couldn't be revived.

Hot Rod on the left. Muscle on the right.
I went inside and called my uncle. "Hey Arnie. You know that mower you've been trying to give me for months? Looks like we're going to take it after all."

Then I sat at my computer and cried. Part of me feels silly about that. A larger part of me shoves that notion aside and cries harder for the cherished memory of choosing that mower with my father. He gave it to us as a housewarming gift and there is where I learned how to shop for the correct lawnmower for my needs.

But I didn't give up. Facebook friends offered some phone numbers, business names and endless support. (Thank you!) I just happen to live in shouting distance from mechanics.

Brandon replaced the spark plug and adjusted the float. It seems my mower wasn't getting any gas. I told everyone there that this lawnmower was important to me. Brandon and Chris nodded. Of COURSE it was! It was a beauty. Four and a half horsepower? Hell yeah! Check out the gold sticker, etc, etc.
See the special edition sticker?

I remember the day we bought my mower. I chose the cheapest model, because my parents were paying for it. It was electric, and my father explained exactly why I didn't want one of those. So I chose the least expensive gas powered one. "I know what you're doing," Dad said, "But just because we're paying for it, doesn't mean you should cheap out. You're on a corner lot, and you want something that will last and stand up to a big yard."

It happened to be the second most expensive model, a Yardworks, and I've loved it from day one. It's been reliable and hardworking, and until last Thursday it hadn't ever let me down. But in fifteen years I don't think I really understood that Dad bought me a lawncare muscle car. It makes me a little sad. My father knew that I didn't realize just how 'cool' my mower really was.

I think it's kind of funny. I've learned so much about the qualities of lawnmowers, but it looks like I'll never need to buy one. The men on the paternal side of my family seem to express love by giving lawn equipment.

And I still love my Yardworks. I still miss my dad. I'm also grateful to my Uncle Arnie for another pretty great Lawnboy with Turbo action. Every time I mow my lawn I think of my father. If you're listening Dad? I always always check the oil. I will never forget.
Extra horse for all that speed.

Friday, August 2, 2019

Spartacus Jones is Seven

Seven years old. We think.
It's my sweet boy's birthday, and I am determined to make it a good one. He's an angel, and he's had a hard month. He made a new friend named Luna, and one day she left in a cat carrier and never returned. Sometimes he still leaves a bit of his wet food, and looks for her. It breaks my heart. Maybe we SHOULD get another cat....

But like I said, this birthday will be special. It starts with tuna for breakfast, and new toys. We bought him a new laser pointer and a 'Kicker.' A Kicker is a long stuffed toy filled with cat nip. The cat generally wraps their paws around it, biting and kicking the crap out of it. Thank you Paws Cat Cafe in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada for that. It's filled with Meowauna, a blend of Valerian, cat nip, honeysuckle and cat mint--all the good stuff.

Speaking of good stuff, there will be other treats, all day long. There are the Squeezables....That's essentially chicken or tuna flavored baby food in tubes like squeezable yogurt--but for cats. Available at various department stores, grocery stores and pet places.

I still have some cat nip wine I've been saving. The last time they had it was Freya's birthday in December, and I have embarrassing pictures to prove it.
Freya had a bit too much nip wine last year.
I've been growing catnip from seed, and I intend to give them each a bowlful.

When I get home from work, I will engage in The Basement Cuddle. Spartacus prefers the quiet coolness of the basement, and frequently asks me to join him. It is a great bonding experience where we lie down on the downstairs futon and I cradle him until his purrs turn to snores. I will ignore how cold it is down there, and the fact that the house creaks and groans and there are spiders.
Bowl of homegrown nip.

Finally, just when we are all settling in for the night, I will present him with his favorite thing in the whole world.....A roll of paper towel. I will place it on the floor and call him. (I did get video, but wasn't able to download it here.If you want to see it, check my Instagram donnamilward6)

I'd like to say thank you to Paw's Pet Cafe. They do great work getting cats adopted and they also sell the very best cat merchandise. Does anyone know a good recipe for a cat birthday cake...?