Saturday, May 21, 2011

Saturday, May 21, 2011
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde

There’s a picture of the witch hazel over on Gratitude and Growth. I can’t find one of the huckleberry, so I have to take another one, and put it up next week.

I fixed the lawnmower. My own little self. With some advice from a neighbor, but I did the work. I ran into my neighbor, who’s a professional landscaper. He agreed that this brand totally sucks. He told me that the company used to be fantastic, absolute top-of-the line quality, but the last three years, it’s gone way downhill, for whatever reason. Customer service is awful, and they often don’t stand by their warranties (a check on the consumer affairs website confirmed that). He suggested a few things I could try, because it seems that a lot of these machines are rolling out without some of the adjustments that used to be automatically set, and if I needed him to, he’d take a look at the end of his workday. He used to use this brand for years until last year, when he replaced all his equipment of that brand because he got sick of the company’s b.s. So he gave me a list of tricks and adjustments he developed over the last few years when there were problems and he didn’t have time to fight with customer service. He said I should try one at a time, because the next time something goes wrong, I can try one of the others. And that I was lucky the bolts weren’t falling off (which, according to him, has been happening a lot on several of their products over the last year).

My choices were to pay someone to haul the lawnmower to the service place and back and pay for the adjustment, or learn how to do the adjustment myself.

So I tried the first adjustment, plus a little of “I wonder what would happen if I do THIS” of my own, the mower started right up, and then I was afraid if I let go of the lever that makes it stop, I’d never get it started again, so I did the whole front yard. It did start again, so I did the terraced back, and I’ll do the meadow over the weekend, if the weather holds.

I’d driven over to Wareham to get more buckets and some spray paint, and also gotten a great pair of edging grass shears from Target, so I edged the front beds, too. I pulled some of the big pots to the front (the echinacea and the yarrow), and planted the urn with lobelia seeds. Hopefully, they’ll come up. If not, I’ll get a bunch of annuals & stick ‘em in. I put some poppies in the terraced bed.

That was all I could do. I was worn out. Because even the bits of the property that look flat aren’t, it’s physically difficult for me to maneuver the mower, especially in the back, where there’s a lot of weird slopage going on. It’s not a big mower, but I’m not physically used to it yet, and I have to develop the strength to handle it properly. I’m still missing a lot of the strength I lost during the back injury time. But at least it waits for me, instead of running off without me, so I’ll be grateful for whatever I can. The landscaper neighbor told me that if I hired someone to do this property, they’d have to bring in three guys. Well, it’s all up to me, so I just have to spread the work over three DAYS! 😉

I’ve got three 30 gallon bags of grass clippings just from the day’s mow. Yes, I’m careful to check and empty the bag regularly, so it doesn’t get all clogged. And I clean all the bits and bobs on the list after every usage. But 90 gallons of grass clippings? That’s how big the damn yard is. And I’ve got more than that in the meadow. I wish I knew how much acreage it is. I mean, it’s certainly not farm-sized or huge-huge, but it’s a good-sized lot for the house (thank goodness).

I’m also grateful not to suffer from grass or pollen allergies.

I doubt I’ll ever find my mowing Zen, but as long as I can get it done with minimal damage, I’ll be content. And, I managed to avoid a clump of buttercups and the little rose that’s valiantly trying to survive all on its own.

Before all that, I’d driven over to the next town and wrestled the bookcases into the car. I managed to get three bookcases in two trips. The two big ones are the same size as my big oak bookcases in the writing room(six feet tall, about 2 feet wide), but a darker stain. I was grateful to have one of the bulkhead things that opens out, so I could get them into the basement easily. Of course, I had to drag them all the way around the house to get them to the bulkhead, but they slid well on the grass, they fit, and they’re in much better shape than I expected. The small white bookcase will be repainted blue (hence the trip to Wareham) and eventually go on the deck for plants and stuff I don’t want to keep hauling in and out of the house all the time. It’s not in very good shape, and has lived a lot outside, but a fresh coat of paint will make it fine for what I need. And the whole “free” part worked really well.

Today is the Preakness. This race has grown into my favorite of the three Triple Crown races because at this point, there’s still so much possibility. And the undercard is very good. I’m hoping that Animal Kingdom hits it again, so there’s a shot at a Triple Crown, but I’m going back to Dialed In again and Mucho Macho Man. I’ll probably toss some money on Midnight Interlude because his sire is War Chant, one of my favorites. There’s a horse called Astrology ridden by Mike Smith that I’m looking at, and Dance City is such a gorgeous horse that if he looks good, I might just have to toss a few bucks at him.

Tomorrow, I wind up one workshop, and Monday, I start teaching another.

Oh, and get this: I was working away on SPIRIT REPOSITORY, and went back to check on something in a previous chapter, because I couldn’t remember what triggered the event later. Turns out I haven’t written the chapter yet! I have the chapter title, the page number, etc., all saved in a document, when I was rearranging the chapters and adding in those from Rufus’s POV, but I never actually wrote that one chapter. I skipped it to work on other stuff. No wonder what I tried to write now didn’t make ANY sense!

Groan.

Got a nice email from my new editor at Confidential Job #1. So that’s on its way to being sorted out.

I got to use the first thyme from my garden in my cooking last night. What a difference it makes — not just in taste, but in enjoyment of “I grew this.”

Have a great weekend, all!

Devon

Friday, May 20, 2011

Friday, May 20, 2011
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Foggy and cool

Yesterday was an up-and-down day. On the “up” side, I bought a witch hazel shrub. It’s gorgeous, they are hard to find (I was told by 12 people I’d never find one in the area and would pay a couple of hundred dollars to get one shipped, which I just couldn’t afford). It was more than I planned to spend, so I was going to pass, and the guy at the nursery gave me a 25% discount, which then put it within my budget. So it came home with me and is happily sitting on the deck.

On the downside of that, they said there’s nothing I can do to save the lilac. One can’t start new lilacs from cuttings (or, in this case, breakage). I’d have to dig down and separate some of the new growth from the roots.

Well, the Lilac Limb, for the moment, seems perfectly happy sitting in a bucket of water, so I’m just going to leave it there as long as it is and see what happens.

Then, the infuriating: There was a break in the weather, and it was dry for a few hours. I went to mow the lawn and the effing mower doesn’t work. After ONE usage. That is not acceptable. I bought a Poulon Pro because I was told that it is easy to use and reliable. So far, it is neither. Not only is it hell to start, it won’t stay started — after 5 feet, the motor stops. I’ve got a frigging prairie growing out here, and I can’t cut it. I can’t afford another lawnmower. I can’t afford to hire someone to cut the grass (which is not cheap around here). This piece of garbage should work more than once.

I called Poulon Pro, since their “manual” is completely useless. The first “customer service rep” hung up on me. The second one said it was covered by warranty (from the tone, I guess these pieces of crap break down like this a lot), and told me I had to take it to a place in Marstons Mills. How? I have a VW!!! She made it clear that wasn’t her problem. Actually, it is. She’s the customer service REPRESENTATIVE. She REPRESENTS the company — obviously, this is the type of company they are, since they sell things that only work once, so her lack of interest reflects the company’s — and it is her job to help solve problems, not shrug and go away. Her hating her job is not MY problem. Her not doing her job properly is both my problem and her boss’s. And believe me, her bosses, the BBB, and the appropriate state agencies are all going to know about it. I’m going to talk to the “authorized service” guy and see what a house call costs. First, though, I’m going to ask a neighbor with lawn mower experience to take a look at it.

I should have gone with my initial instincts and gotten the really old-fashioned push mower with no electronics, just blades, like my grandmother had. All I’d have to do is get the blades sharpened once a year. It would have been a pain to rake up the grass, but at least the damn thing would work.

Not acceptable on any level. I was so furious, I couldn’t sleep last night.

Call me crazy, but when I spend a chunk of money on something, I expect it to work. To me, that is part of the contract with the manufacturer — I put down money and the manufacturer supplies me a working whatever.

This morning, I’m off (to Marstons Mills again) to pick up three bookcases I’m supposedly getting for free on craigslist. Let’s hope they fit in the car! 😉

Winding up my class, preparing for the next one. Working on PR for the book release. Not getting enough writing done. Behind on the assignment for Confidential Job #1.

On a happier note, I was on the phone brainstorming with a friend, which was fun.

To the page for a little bit, until I have to get into the car and wrestle bookcases. They’re supposed to be in so-so condition, so I’m getting them as shelving for the basement, so I can do some more unpacking. I unpacked a couple more boxes from the storage room yesterday. I can get going on the basement boxes once there’s more shelving, so that, as I go through stuff and repack what I’m keeping, I have a place to put it.

Devon

Published in: on May 20, 2011 at 6:02 am  Comments (6)  
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