A mechanical failure late last week on my beloved yard tractor, Bambi, caused me to hurl a ½-inch Craftsman box wrench against my cinder block wall, pull out and hook up my utility trailer and tug Bambi down to the local Deere dealership for a long overdue spa day.
After five years of driveway mechanical maintenance, Bambi needed some serious work. Her primary load-bearing blade spindle was making evil noises and she started shredding drive belts. I spent about three hours tinkering and cursing like an infuriated Celestial before I realized that the best solution to my L100’s problems was to let someone who didn’t throw their heirloom tools when they get really frustrated
So I inched Bambi up the ramp and onto the trailer, cinched her tie downs tight and dropped her off at the local tractor dealership. I had a rough idea how much the needed service work would cost and mentally gulped. About an hour after Bambi was sitting in the dealership’s service bay, my phone rang. They sservice manager suggested new tubes for the tires, a brake kit, a new seat and mentioned the hairline cracks on my chipped mowing blades.
I live on the safe and thrifty side of cheap, so I agreed them every thing but the brakes tubes and seat. The service manager said “Pick her in two days.”
I smiled, and added two cans of “FixIt” flat tire repair to my weekly shopping list, checked my bank balances and ordered a replacement seat from an Internbet store front.
The total service/repair bill was less than I had been quoted and as soon as I got Bambi off my trailer yesterday; I shot the leaking tires with “Fixit.” Sixty minutes later my one-acre front lawn was neatly trimmed and Bambi was back in her parking place cooling down. 24 hours later, her rear tires still firmly hold air and I just received an email confirming that my new $55 replacement seat has been shipped to me via UPS.
The decals on Bambi are beginning to peel, but she starts up without using its choke. Five years of happy tractoring in short pants, a tie-dyed t-shirt and aviator sunglasses. Life at Rancho Bizarro is pretty fine. On some days it’s hard for me to remember the stress of working, missing a deadline because of a major stroke or not having the time or space to plant and maintain big vegetable gardens.
Yes, I sent my lawn tractor to the dealer for a major service. It was worth it.
It’s another boring SPF 45 sunscreen perfect day in rural northern San Diego County.—Jim Forbes 11/19/2008.