The big mow

This week was our life group’s turn to clean and mow the church.  Right now, there are only two families attending our group, so that limits the pool of people from which to draw for these kinds of things.  We (Shane, his wife, Georgie, and Andrew and I) had originally planned to meet do the cleaning and mowing on Saturday, but due to some scheduling changes, we all agreed that Thursday would work better.  We planned to meet at the church at 9 AM Thursday to clean and mow.  Rain was expected, and if it interfered, we’d move the mowing part to Friday.

Well, by 10:00 AM, we had done all the cleaning, and it had been raining, but when the rain stopped, Shane went out to the shed to see which mower(s) were there and what state they were in.  Turns out both the church’s rider and push mower were in the state of Missouri, but that was about all.  The rider has been giving people lots of trouble – hard to start, super difficult to keep running – for YEARS, and right now it has two flat tires and a dead battery, to boot.  We knew we’d need to bring either Shane’s rider or ours, or both.

The church’s push mower was another story.  Shane worked on it for about 20 minutes, and FINALLY got it going.  Yay!  That would certainly help, and it would mean we could just bring one other push mower.  Unfortunately, right now our family has no way to haul any mowers, so Shane said they’d come back by the house around 12:30 (once they got their own rider working), pick up our equipment, and head back to the church to mow.

Now, I generally don’t mow, and I’ve never used a rider.  I can mow with a push mower and I can weed-eat, but I’m generally not even strong enough to get them started.  Mowing is why we have kids.  For about the past 12 or 13 years, the kids have handled all the mowing, and Scott has overseen all the never-ending mower repairs.  I was planning for Andrew to ride back to the church with Shane, but – even though the neighbor on the uphill side had graciously mowed the right-hand side all the way to the parking lot (WHAT a blessing!) – when I realized that there would still be a heckuva lot of grass to mow and only Shane and Andrew to do it.  Normally, Andrew being gone forever wouldn’t be a problem, but that evening it would, because Andrew would need to shower, eat, and get to choir practice by 7 PM.

Georgie called and we talked about whether we two ladies were going to stay home or go help the menfolk.  We decided we’d both go.  Little did I know what that decision would involve!

Meanwhile, I had sent Andrew out to get our rider, push mower, weedeater, and gas cans prepped and moved down near the street, to facilitate loading when Shane and Georgie arrived.  I saw him out there riding the rider down the driveway, but a few minutes later, he came into the office, very, very frustrated.  It seems that a few seconds after I saw him, the belt came off (for at least the fourth time – sigh).  Last year he had to pay $100 to get it back on ($50 for them to pick up and deliver and $50 for the actual repair).  He informed me in no uncertain terms that he would NOT push the church, and he would NOT push our yard, which also happens to need mowing.  He called Scott, who said we’d talk when he got home.  Well, that’s fine, but it didn’t help with our afternoon church mowing project.  Andrew called Shane and explained the problem.  Shane said he’d either get his running or ours running.  (Shane works as a mechanic for the highway department and he can fix just about anything.)

So, we all trundled back up to the church with these resources:

~ Shane’s rider

~ Shane’s self propelled (ahhh!!!) push mower

~ Shane’s gas, of both kinds

~ our push mower

~ our weedeater

Georgie set off riding, I used Shane’s push mower (it’s kind of like a dog pulling a leash; quite fun), he used our push mower, and Andrew weed-eated.  Thankfully, the weather was cool, and the clouds came and went, so we weren’t miserable, but even with that enormous right-hand section pre-mowed, it was definitely a massive amount of turf.  We all four worked steadily for three hours and then decided to call it quits.  One very high section had not yet been mowed this season, and we went over it two and-a-half times.  It’s still not all shaved down, but it’s a lot better than it was, and it’s not noticeable unless you take a hike to go look at it.

We were all pretty bushed by the time we loaded up and headed out.

Then that evening, Pastor Guy called Scott.  Knowing that the church’s rider was shot, he and his wife had decided to just hire their own yard done this year, and bring their own rider up and leave it at the church.  We knew that that was the plan, but that hadn’t yet happened, which is why Shane brought his rider for use that day.

But Pastor Guy told us that he HAD brought his rider to the church.  Around noon.  (In between the time we left after cleaning at 10:30 AM and returned to mow at 1:00 PM.)  Obviously the shed was full with the church’s dead rider, so he couldn’t put his in there, so he had left it IN THE CHURCH, over behind the curtain that sections off and hides the tiled “dining” area from the carpeted sanctuary.  It had, of course, never occurred to any of us to go look behind the curtain for an extra riding mower, and Pastor Guy had not called Scott during the day to tell him, because he didn’t want to disturb Scott at work, and he had understood that our group was going to mow on either Friday or Saturday, which had been the plan.

We had a good laugh out of that, and I got a great work-out with all that push mowing.  But I don’t want to do it again any time soon.

Moral of Story:  Communication is important, and. . . you never know what might be lurking behind a curtain at church!

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