Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Farewell, Janice

Back in the spring of 2000, money was pretty tight because we were bought a house at the end of May and our wedding was set for mid-July. In searching for a veil to go with her wedding dress, my wife was pretty disappointed with the selection and that selection started at just under $200. In stepped our friend Janice. We knew Janice had gone to school for fashion, but had no idea that she had made many wedding veils. So Amy and Janice went off to a fabric store, bought about $20 worth of veil making stuff...I headed off to Sears and bought the cheapest lawn mower I could find and named it The Janice L. Commemorative Lawn Mower or Janice for short.

Janice has been a trusty lawn mower. She has always started. A few times, she needed a little prodding but that was operator error. Lawn mower tip: air actually needs to flow through the air filter for the engine to run. Janice has a little engine priming button with a sticker that tells you to press 3 times before starting. I think the sticker is missing a 0 and should read 30 times. After 30 or so presses of this magic button and a few pulls, she starts and will run until her tank is empty. I bet she would start today if I tried. But I haven’t tried.

Over time, the elastic in the after market bagging attachment I eventually bought became permanently elongated. For the past three years, I have used vise grips to keep the clippings collector closed. It was kind of a pain in the ass, probably looked a little funny too. Then, in the middle of last summer, the plastic safety shield that protects your shins from being impaled by twigs and small rocks broke off. I didn’t see a way of fixing it. I only got hit in the shins a few times last year, but it hurts like a sonofabitch when it happens. I hate to do it; I have to say good bye to Janice. I am going to literally send Janice to a farm upstate. My father-in-law expressed interest in her. Not sure if he will fix her up and pass her on, just use her engine for something, or let it collect dust in his huge barn o'stuff (most likely).

I checked mowers out at Home Depot, Lowes and Sears. After some hemming and hawing, I got this:

New Janice. I just mowed the lawn for the first time this year. New Janice’s bag collector is infinitely better and there is no engine priming. She just starts on the first, almost effortless pull. And when I was done mowing the yard, I didn’t reek of exhaust. Changing the height of the mower deck is much easier and it has large rear wheels. A salesman told me that the larger rear wheels make it easier to turn and I thought he was full of shit and just trying to up-sell me, but it’s true. I think New Janice and I are going to get along well. Hopefully for at least the next 14 years.


  1. I have a piece of junk no-name brand mower that I bought when I bought my house. I also refuse to give up the ghost on the thing while it still turns over. I have also had to ghetto-rig it a couple of times. Latest fix- replaced the throttle control spring with a piece of wire so the thing is always going full bore, haha! Prob. not good for the thing but it seems to make it less prone to stalling every 2 minutes.

  2. My snow blower has been like that for a few years, either full throttle or off. I might have to say good bye to that too. It didn't start the last time I tried it and it had trouble with the new driveway. The plow dumps more at the end of this driveway. I never named the snow blower, but it is older than I am and has no modern safety features. If I fell down behind it, it would keep going until it hit a wall.