And, I have to be able to mow the dog yards without waiting for John to get home from work to start our mower. It takes me 20 to 30 tries and by then I'm too exhausted to mow. Yesterday morning I tried in vain to start the old one, sweating buckets and cursing, and when John got home and tried, the rope broke off in his hand. And that was it! A fire was lit under me.
Within 10 minutes, I was dragging him over to Lowe's, found exactly what I wanted, got the last one off the rack, came home, he filled it with oil and gas, pulled the rope once, it started right up, and we mowed -- in half the time I might add. It zipped along so easily, and so quietly, I kicked myself for not doing this 2 years ago. John made a point of doing it one-handed. WHEE! It was like a party! I had to fight for my turn to operate it and he only left me one little patch to mow. I'm feeling the rush of independance!
What we got is a 21" Troy-Bilt with a Briggs & Stratton 625 series engine (Product Description below). It's got everything I want, including both rope and key start, self-propelled, 21" deck, bagging unit, dual wheel levers to set the height. Spent $408 (including tax, 3 year protection plan, and accessories). It also has a deck washer feature! A bonus not on my list, but John says it's valuable. He says there is an inch of dirt caked under the old deck that it would take a chisel to remove.
Clearly, I'm not the only one grappling with lawn mower issues. This was well confirmed when John visited both his daughters on his recent trip (one in Tennessee, the other in Virginia), they were both having lawn mower problems. Multiplying all our stuggles over the years with all our mowers (push and riding), times all the people in America struggling likewise, the amount of human energy wasted @ $5/hour would easily pay off the national debt.
Reminds me of a joke I heard years ago:
What's the difference between an American truck driver and a Chinese coolie?
Point being, efficiency requires machinery, and those who design and manufacture machines have a big responsibility. There ought to be a law that lawn mowers must work reliably, and manufacturers should be held to a higher standard of excellence! This incredible waste of human energy should be considered a crime! Sure, the purchaser should make informed decisions, but it is impossible for consumers to know what they are actually buying or how well it is built, until you end up with a dud. Consumer Reports was a "free enterprise" solution to that and years ago when they sold their magazine, I subscribed, but now, you have to pay too much every time you want to research a product on their website.
TB270 ES TriAction™ 21" Electric Start Self-Propelled Mower
3-in-1 Capability: Side Discharge / Mulch / Rear Bag Lawn Mower
NEW for 2010! Troy-Bilt's TB270 ES lawn mower has a new innovative TriAction™ cutting system that features a rake bumper to lift grass upright, a specially designed blade for a finer mulch and a symmetrical deck for superior grass flow, eliminating clumping. Our most affordable electric start lawn mower! The TB270 ES offers standard electric start - no pull starting required! It also features an easy-to-operate front wheel drive transmission to eliminate pushing. And with mulch and side discharge options, this self-propelled mower is versatile and dependable.
Next question, can I count the lawnmower as an agility training expense? Nah, I suppose that would be a stretch. I wouldn't mow as often but I still need to mow.