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Particular About Her Weed-Whacking

“Did you see I weed-whacked all along the road?” I asked Honey when she came home the other day. I expected a nice pat on the back.

“Umm . . . I saw where somebody cleared along the berm by our driveway” she replied. “You did that?”

“Plus the banks in front of the farmhouse,” I said. “You didn’t notice the banks?” I was a little miffed.

“Oh, sorry. It looked pretty rough. I thought the state road mowed it,” she said, managing to insult both me and our fine state road professionals.

Weed-whacking the banks has been a job for grandson Rufus the past few years, but he has been recovering from a broken ankle. I wanted the place to look nice for the party that Gen. Doc and Col. Peggy were throwing for Doc’s nephew Peter. Peter just graduated from West Point. Doc is West Point ’56.

I sweated for two and a half hours in miserable heat with a string trimmer, constantly looking over my shoulder, ready to jump out of the way of drivers who zoom even faster now that Gas Valley Road has been upgraded to Interstate standards.

And for my efforts what do I get from my wife? The back of the hand.

I can’t say her critique is unexpected. She does most of the weed-whacking around our place and is annoyingly perfectionist about it. I’m afraid to complain too much or she’ll quit and I’ll have to do it all.

WHEN HONEY WEED-WHACKS, there is not a stray tuft of grass left standing. Everything is cut to a uniform height.

“Well, looks like the sheep over-grazed again,” is my usual comment on her work.

“It does not,” she says. “It’s two inches. I try to make it even like a lawn mower would.”

She is just as perfectionist when it comes to her choice of weed-whacker. Some years ago when she decided to get a string trimmer of her own, she asked a nephew who was working for a Husqvarna dealer for a suggestion. He gave her a model 326L to try and she liked it. I didn’t realize at the time just how attached she was to it.

After six happy years of use, that unit began to have some problems, I had the bright idea of buying an Echo trimmer from Earl Miller (no relation). Earl, now deceased, and his sons Tom and Ron are ancestral small engine repairmen to our Miller clan.

To me, the Echo looked nearly identical to Honey’s Husqvarna. I thought it would be a nice surprise for my wife. It was not.

“Why did you buy it? I don’t want it. I won’t use it,” she said angrily.

Eventually I guilted her into giving the Echo a try, but it was no use. Its head jammed. It didn’t have as much power. She just didn’t like it.

So we bought her another Husqvarna, upgrading to a “professional” model 525LST, and she was a happy weed-whacker for another few years. I used the Echo for my responsibilities, like around the barn and the raspberries, and filled in on her domain when she allowed me.

WHEN THE LATEST Husqvarna began having pull-cord issues, we took it back to the dealer in Steubenville for repair. The repaired trimmer soon began having the same kinds of problems, so I took the unit apart myself, and found evidence it had not been properly fixed. Now leery of that dealer’s repair service, I made my own jerry-rigged repair which worked and made me a hero to my wife for about two tankfuls of gas, then it broke again.

Now familiar with the unit’s innards, I got online and ordered the proper parts. That was three weeks ago. The parts are back-ordered to Sweden, I think.

Honey finally broke over. “I guess I’ll have to use the Echo,” she said, deep sadness in her voice.

“I know how hard this is for you,” I said gently. “It’s not a bad trimmer. Give it a chance.”

She dutifully used the Echo, and it worked fine, but I know she won’t be a happy weed-whacker until she has her Husqvarna working again.

Every man I know would be delighted to have his wife take up weed-whacking as a hobby, so don’t think I’m complaining about her, because I’m not. I just want to show that even a perfect situation can have its little problems.

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