I feel like Hank Hill


The lawn mower died.


When I bought my first house I bought my first lawn mower. It was a Yard Machines mower. Cheap, basic gas engine walk-behind push mower. It did the job, but it wasn’t pretty. Only reason I bought that model was it was all I could afford at the time. But again, it did the job.

It’s been over 10 years and I still have that mower. I have somewhat taken care of it but I really haven’t put tons of effort into it because for the past some years I have wanted it to die. I have wanted a better mower for many years, but I just can’t justify buying a better mower if the one I already have still does the job. Use it up, wear it out, make do, or do without.

But finally… today… the mower died. Happy Happy Joy Joy!

The mower started to really go downhill last year. I did my best to keep it hanging on. This season started up and things really started to fall apart. Halfway through the yard today, Oldest came in the house to tell me the mower broke. I looked it over, declared it beyond repair care, and off to the Home Depot went Oldest and I.

At this stage it’s important to realize that as a teenager I made a vow to myself. You see, as soon as I was big enough to mow the lawn, my Dad made me mow the lawn. Fair enough. What I didn’t like was that I had to use whatever lawnmower he chose. For instance, there was a time he bought a Black & Decker corded electric lawnmower. It was a frustrating piece of junk and dealing with the cord got really old really quick. But what did Dad care? He never had to use it. Buy crappy tools to give to the guy that has to do the work — a sure way to get a crappy job and pissed off worker. 🙂  I did my best with what I had, but vowed after many years of mowing Dad’s lawn with suboptimal tools that I would not live to repeat this travesty.

Fast forward to today. Now Oldest is the lawn mower (the paternal circle comes around!). Using the old mower has been painful for him. Granted it didn’t pain me that much because it’s not that much torture (now that I’m in the Dad-role I see that), builds character, puts hair on your chest, bugs in your teeth, and all that other assorted growing up B.S.. It was good for Oldest tho, as it helped him learn to appreciate things (like the new mower), including the financial aspect of not throwing out something perfectly good just because you want something else/better; use it up, wear it out. But still, I’ve been waiting for this day… the day when I had enough money to afford whatever mower I wanted, and to buy just the mower I wanted. But as well, ensuring that I involved Oldest in the process. He sat with me as we did the online research, looking up brands, comparing specs, reading reviews, seeing which would meet our needs.

We settled on the Toro Personal Pace. Big engine that won’t bog down (we mulch the clippings, and have a lot of St. Augustine grass), 22″ cutting deck, rear bagging (if we have to use a bag, I prefer rear bags as side-bags are awkward to navigate), good Briggs & Stratton engine, not too expensive (it’s not the top of the line, but it’s a good one that fits our needs), and self-propelled by the rear wheels. Yes, I like self-propelled. What gets me is this Personal Pace® setup. It’s awesome! I can get it going fast enough that I have to jog to keep up! I also like how it’s not just some throttle lever but instead just a natural part of the handle bar, so you just hold on and walk and the springs are of just the right tension that your natural forward motion against the weight of the mower get the mower moving at just the right pace. It allows for easy dynamic speed changes. I’m floored at just how natural it works. It’s a great user-interface (if I can be a computer software engineer geek for a moment). You can take your time and cut a good border around the yard for a couple laps, then go back and forth at a “speed walking” pace and really zip through the yard. A time-saver and some nice aerobic exercise.

Oldest loved it. I loved it. It was truly a Hank Hill moment for me. 

It’s been a good day.

2 thoughts on “I feel like Hank Hill

  1. If you already made the purchase, never mind, but if not, I cannot recommend big back wheels enough… They definitely make cornering and turning a lawnmower easier, especially if your yard is not entirely flat.

    Of course, my mowing experience is about 8 years out of date at this point (yay apartments), so maybe mowers have gotten better with the weenie wheels.

    • Already purchased.

      I do know about the big back wheels, but they didn’t have any of those in stock. The wheels on the one we bought aren’t the “big” wheels but they are a bit on the larger side. The mower is actually balanced fairly well and handles very nicely, even for my kids. I was really impressed with it.

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