It has rained almost every day this month - so much so that it feels like Seattle. While this is great for the garden, it is not so great for lawn mowing if you have an old-school push mower. The Big Daddy adopted this method a few years ago and would spend hours mowing. A more generous person might think this is a quaint throwback to another era. A wife thinks that a looney idea that has gone on too long is looney.
With all this rain and a very busy work schedule, my husband wasn't getting the grass cut very often. If there's anything I have plenty of these days it's time and I don't mind cutting the grass, but Mama wasn't about to use a push mower for that business. I spent my childhood picking up sticks in a huge yard before my dad mowed. After the middle school years with my faux boyfriend, Bud, down the street watching me, I considered it child abuse.
I suggested to my hoosband that we get something that was a little more current for his Modern Lady Wife. "No gas," he said and so that's how we found ourselves at Lowe's on a Friday night looking at battery charged mowers. Fortunately we weren't there long when we got a text from the neighbors saying that they were on the patio at the bar and grill by the house and so we skedaddled from that nonsense for some nachos and beer.
The next morning I recalled seeing a Black & Decker mower on Craigslist a few days earlier and gave the number a try. It was still available and the woman selling it would show it to us at the office park she was renting to store her stuff until she moved. Hence the sale of a mower - she was no longer going to have a lawn to maintain.
We found the place and went in. It looked like a sale at a very bad thrift store. There was crap everywhere. On tables, on the floor, in boxes. The side rooms, the back room, the back back room. We found the mower and it looked brand new. She had everything that came with it and had the blade sharpened.
Oh Craig!! This is sweet and I don't think she's going to try and kill us!!
"Take a look at everything," she said. "See if there's anything else you want."
I poked around. There was an entire room that was baskets. Not the vintage, sturdy kind but more of the cheap kind that came with cheesy silk flower arrangements. "Oh there's plenty of great baskets in there," she said. "Pick some out and we'll talk price."
While I was trying really hard to find something nice, Mark got on an exercise bike. "Kath, look at this. This would be great, don't you think?" Before I could answer the seller started talking price with Mark. "Oh yes, that's a very nice bike. Unfortunately I have a condition that prevents me from sitting for long periods of time so I can't use it."
Please God do not allow her to explain this condition.
They talked money and then Mrs. Craigslist set her scope on me. "Do you need landscaping lights? A ceiling fan? Motion sensor lights? Still in the box. I was going to put them outside the lab my husband and I own but never got around to it.
"Lab? Do you have any old lab glass? Cylinders, beakers, that kind of stuff? I love that."
"Not here but I could get you some from our lab. I'll give you a good price."
"Okay. I'd love to look at that, My husband works in a lab but he won't part with that stuff."
"Oh he does? Well then I have just the thing," she said talking to Mark. "How about this box of slides? Look at these. You could do something with this."
"What is this on them," I inquired.
"Oh those are tissue samples."
Tissue samples. And what does one do with glass slides with tissue samples on them? Do you string them together with fishing line and and make wind chimes? Do you get a tetanus shot before or after the fact?
On and on it went. The sofa bed that the cat dug a hole in. The bedroom set under mounds of blankets. The wine glasses. The dishes. The Virgin Marys. The tinsel. The clay pots. The microwave cart.
"No no no" I said over and over until I wanted to curl up in the hole that the cat made in the sofa in the back room. Finally when the deal was cut on what we were getting neither of us had the correct change. We were off by $5.00 and she wouldn't budge on price.
At that point I was ready to walk away but instead we got in the car and drove thru the McDonald's drive-in to break a twenty.
"Mark, do you believe in the law of attraction?" I asked as we drove there. "Because if the universe works within that law then we are doomed. We attract nut jobs all the time like this dotty old lady trying to unload her crap on us."
"She is quite the character," Mark said.
"That's being generous. She's as dotty as they come and we're at her mercy for a lousy five bucks. Now we have to go back in there and she's going to make us look in the Christmas room again with the cheap tinsel and awful silk flower arrangements. How many times do we have to say no before we're set free with our lawn mower and stationary bike. Ten times? Twenty? Thirty? How much, Husband, before she wears us down and breaks us?"
"Stay strong," Husband advised.
We drove back, stayed outside and handed her the five dollars. Mark got to talking to her about her lab and some of the things he's working on.
She has a PhD. in chemistry. She's gotten $20,000,000.00 (that's million) in government contracts and told Mark how to work within the system to get funding for his lab. They talked about mass spec and atomic force microscopy. Clearly I was an uninformed outsider in this conversation. After another fifteen minutes had gone by I said, "Okay, we'll let you get back to your
"Yeah, thanks," Mark said. "Can't wait to use the lawn mower and Kath is really going to love the bike. She's been wanting to exercise more."
Kath is really going to love the bike? She's been wanting to exercise more? What??? Kath who?
I was right all along.
There was somebody dotty in there and it turned out to be me.