April 16, 2024

Yard Work!

For those of you high desert dwellers who have chosen to abandon your lawns for landscaping rock, you’ll just have to use your imagination.

Well, here we are again–grass cutting and yard work season. Unless you’re a genius and can convince your wife she should do the yard work, it’s YOUR job. I tried the “grass sharks” story on my wife, but she didn’t bite. I tried “snow sharks” on her last winter, but she didn’t buy them either.

Being essentially lazy, I like to keep yard work quick and simple. The sooner I can get it done, the sooner I can spend time on important things like catching up on NASCAR stats or catching up on the latest fishing lures or catching up on naps. Soooo, I went to the “Power Equipment Emporium” the other day to buy a new lawn tractor. My old one can’t even move anymore, especially since the mule that pulled it died.

When I asked for a standard lawn tractor, the salesman made some remark about me having “grits for brains.” (At least, that’s what it sounded like when he whispered it to his partner.)

He said, “Sir, I beg leave to inform you that there is no longer such a thing as a lawn tractor. Today we refer to it as a P.M.V. (property maintenance vehicle). Please step into our showroom.”

He led me to a place I thought only existed in my dreams. Here was a palace crammed with machinery and power. There were PMVs of every shape and size, capable of everything from cutting grass to building a new lock on the Mississippi River! This was AWSOME!

Right in front of me was a 4x4x4 (three axles) turbocharged 80-inch wide-cut yard tamer called “THE BOSS.” On my left was a computer-controlled robo-weed-whacker. On my right was an infrared auto-sensing lawn edger with 28 cutting patterns. Stretching into the distance, I could see every permutation, combination and variation of yard tractor/PMV/dream machine imaginable.

The salesman then spent the next half hour analyzing my needs and enumerating options:

THE ENGINE: Gas, diesel, propane, alcohol, otto fuel, bunker oil, coal, electric, solar, wind, geothermal, magnetohydrodynamic. Supercharged, turbocharged, overcharged, MasterCharged, Pickett’s charged, who’s in charged?

PROPULSION: Overdrive, underdrive, fluid drive, cattle drive, scenic drive, hard drive, Sunday drive, Skyline drive, hyperdrive. Four-wheel drive, big wheel drive, Ferris wheel drive, fifth wheel drive, near wheel drive, spare wheel drive, paddlewheel drive (useful in the lowlands). Positrac, supertrack, widetrack, train track, Quadra track, magne-track (remember Lionel?), career track, half-track, racetrack, vari-track, snail track, eight-track (remember all those yard sales?).


CHASSIS TYPE: Flatbed, dump bed, short bed, long bed, flowerbed, riverbed, bunk bed, airbed, spare bed, trundle bed, Murphy bed, double bed, queen bed, feather bed.

SAFETY EQUIPMENT: Seat belts, air bags, scumbags, mud flaps, anti-lock brakes, air brakes, bug deflector, roll bar, collision avoidance radar, stall alarm, cow catcher, bug zapper, Frank Zapper, curb feelers, speed brake, Jake brake. Carbon monoxide alarm, fire alarm, fire extinguisher, deer whistles, infrared navigation, night vision device, run-flat tires, armored undercarriage, backup alarm, “Baby on Board” sign, anti-theft system, security touchpad, halon deluge system, heads-up display, emergency flare launcher.

COMFORT PACKAGE: Bench seats, bucket seats, heat and massage, satellite dish, CD player, air-conditioning, tilt wheel, cruise control, On Star, anti-vibration mounts, VCR, DVD, auto cutting level control, proportional steering, control handle cushions, air seats, on-board restroom.

OFF-SEASON ACCESSORIES: Snow plow, leaf mulcher, log skidder, shredder-chipper, pond dredge, roto-tiller, box blade, trencher, ditch witch, smoke shifter, mole detector, seismic probes, rocket launcher, side scan sonar, anchor winch, harpoon gun, cargo net, helo landing pad, stump grinder.

HITCH ACCESSORIES: Bumper hitch, three-point hitch, frame hitch, timber hitch, half hitch, Starsky & Hitch, hitch hike.

COMMUNICATIONS AND NAVIGATION PACKAGE: AM/FM, short-wave, long-wave, tidal wave, cell phone, pager, modem, fax, police band radio, scanner, radar, GPS, LORAN, DECCA, celestial navigation, inertial guidance, laser rangefinder, voicemail, Ethernet, Nexrad, NORAD, plasma screen, dot matrix, bubble jet, laser jet, fiber optic.

LIGHTING: Headlights, tail lights, parking lights, fog lights, backup lights, cornering lights, dashboard lights, warning lights, makeup mirror lights (keep the little woman happy; maybe she’ll buy the grass/snow sharks story next time). Map lights, night lights, day lights, traffic lights, security lights, bed lights, Christmas lights, candle lights, torch lights, flashlights, strobe lights, wing lights, inspection lights, search lights, stage lights, glow lights, pilot lights, Bud lights, Northern lights, runway lights, landing lights, flood lights, street lights, reading lights, fluorescent lights.

MAINTENANCE/APPEARANCE PACKAGE: Self-cleaning cutting deck, auto blade sharpener, auto lube bearings, plow blade cleaner, drive belt silicone injection, power greasing, post-cut hose down, headlight wiper blades, windshield washer.

By this time, you’re probably wondering if I’ve taken complete leave of my senses. Honest answer? YES! Faced with all these options, I did the only thing a person could do to maintain sanity. I greased up my old mowing machine and bought a new mule to pull it. I gotta go cut the grass.

See ya around.


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