By Arlo Mudgett

It is a true joy when my fiancee and I work together harmoniously, accomplishing much through cooperation. It can easily slide into chaotic bickering if all the conditions aren't right. We've been fortunate enough not to cross that thin line that leads to discord too often. Today was one of those days when it all could have slid down the slippery slope of frustration and disagreement, yet it did not. I guess you could say we were lucky.

It was lawn mowing day. For one reason or the other, our lawn was approaching that place where it is more like haying than simply cutting the grass. Part of the reason for this was the purchase of some nearby land to use for the storage of things like boats, trailers, and other bulky items that aren't used on a regular basis. Well, that property needs mowing as well. In an attempt to transport the old broken down riding mower over to the new property it was determined that it needed to have its steering repaired. That meant transporting it down to a shop about fifteen miles away. We got that part done, no problem. It actually freed up space on the lawn, as did moving two boats and some other items over to the other property.


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I was looking forward to mowing without having to move too many objects to get the job done. My fiancee had voluntarily decided to use a push mower to take care of trimming areas too tight to cut with the big riding tractor. I couldn't believe how fast the chore was progressing with the both of us pitching in. At this rate, we'd be able to head over to the other land and get that mowed, too.

Well, I had that thought a bit too soon. A clip on the exit chute piece of the lawn tractor had decided to make an untimely exit, requiring a simple repair. I pulled the tractor up to the workshop door, found the parts I needed and made the repair. When I went to restart the tractor, nothing. It wouldn't even click. A failed attempt to perform a jump start convinced me that it was time for a new battery. The nearest retailer that would have such a battery is fifteen miles from our home, so I made the trek, found what I was looking for and returned home. I wasted twenty minutes attempting to thread the long battery mounting bolt into the wrong hole. In the meantime, my fiancee had used the push mower to continue cutting the lawn and it was looking great.

I finally got the tractor back together and it started like a brand new unit. I had just begun to mow a side hill when it quit on me again. Loose battery cables? Nope. I ran put of gas. This called for an eight-mile round trip to get gas. My fiancee continued to use the old push mower, and she was making good progress. Me, well, I was simply running parts and getting fuel. When I returned from the gas run she had retired to the air-conditioned comfort of the house and I finished up the remaining stretches of lawn that she had left me to do. By the time I was finished it was beginning to get dark, thus putting an end to mowing and insuring that we would not have enough daylight get to the other property today. As frustrating as that was, we were both OK with it. We had gotten the primary residence mowed and looking good again and that seemed to be enough for one hot summer day.

While our mutual ambition was to get both properties mowed in one day, it simply didn't work out this time. For only having that piece of land for a week we were doing pretty good, We had moved several items over there that had been making mowing a pain at the primary residence, and we had been able to get a bit of work done on the new property that was meant to secure it. Just maybe we were expecting to accomplish too much in too short a time frame.

That was the lesson learned this time around. When your plans are a bit too ambitious for the allotted time, you can expect unexpected things to happen that will slow you down. The day was salvaged as much as it could be and we'll simply tackle the extra stuff when we have a moment. It's finding those moments when the two of us can work together that remains one of the bigger challenges, but such is life out here.

Arlo Mudgett's Morning Almanac has been heard over multiple radio stations in Vermont for nearly 30 years, and can be tuned in at 92.7 WKVT Monday through Saturday mornings at 8:35 a.m. The opinions expressed by columnists do not necessarily reflect the views of the Brattleboro Reformer.