This year was a very special mother’s day for my wife, Angela.
Angela was adopted.
Angela said that her entire life she felt like there was something missing and she always wanted to find her birth mother, even though she has a cousin who is also adopted who has a relationship with her birth mother, that isn't very good.
A couple of times when she was younger, she went to psychics who both told her that she was very close to her birth mother. She was living in Queens.
In 2003, Angela was diagnosed with advanced lung cancer, and she became even more determined to find her Mom.
She registered on several black market adoption sites, and continually updated them through the years. Every time there was a new person who found adoptees on one of the talk shows, Angela would go to their web site and register.
Now somewhere along the line, Angela had gotten a copy of one of the adoption proceedings, which had the birth mother’s last name. We tried to find a Brooklyn phone book from 1960, but were unsuccessful.
Angela’s birth mother’s name was a somewhat common Italian name, and there are a couple of politicians including an assemblyman who had the same name. We reached out to a couple of local politicians to make the call, but no one wanted to get involved.
At some point, under the guise of trying to find medical history, I went to the Surrogate and asked him to call his counterpart in Brooklyn, where the adoption took place 40 some odd years ago, but of course he said no.
Well, Angela went through her chemo therapy, radiation therapy, surgery, more chemo, over the next couple of years, without finding her birth mother, but continued to update her information at all of the adoption sites…nothing ever happened.
Out of nowhere, Angela received an email from her birthmother’s sister whose other sister had Googled Angela’s birth mothers name, and came across one of Angela’s postings.
Very soon after the email, we met at a restaurant at Grand Central Station- (Angela, me, two aunts and her newly found younger brother).
At it happened, Angela’s birth mother had died several years ago- of lung cancer (isn’t that spooky?).
For most of her life, they lived 9 blocks away from each other.
They kept the same telephone number until 2006.
No relation to the Assemblyman, or the other two well known politicians.
Anyway, Angela’s life has now become fuller, more complete, and she is a much happier person. She has a brother that she kids around with, like you only can with a sibling, and a whole new family that she has become extremely close with including nieces, nephews, and aunts.
Speaking of Google, if you haven’t yet, you should “Google” your own name & significant others, names, long lost friends, enemies, etc. I ran my father’s name recently and found a photograph of him and his Air Corp. crew from World War II in front of their airplane, a photograph that I had never seen, nor knew that it even existed. (In World War II, the air corp was part of the army, later it became a separate branch of the armed services).
So this mother’s day I wanted to make it special for her.
I drove to Queens, and picked up my mother in law, Angela’s adoptive mother, to spend the weekend.
I cooked (on the grill), and I mowed the lawn.
Now I hadn’t mowed a lawn in perhaps 40 years. I’ve had landscapers all these years. And when I was a kid and mowed the lawn at my parents house, the lawn was 15 feet wide by 15 feet deep if it was that.
But this house has a lot 185 x 185 totally surrounded by grass, except for the driveway, and the house footprint itself. Do the math.
So I borrowed my next door neighbors mower (he does it every weekend, religiously, unless his kids are home from college, and then they do it), but his lawn looks like Yankee Stadium. When I started going straight across, my wife stopped me and pointed me in the right direction (diagonal).
It took me most of the day. Of course I stopped, drank several bottles of water, ate a Myoplex protein-energy bar, but mowed the entire property, all ¾ of an acre, not exactly straight lines, but definitely diagonally. (I can't walk in a straight line on a good day, because of my Meniers disease that I have spoken of, is also a balance disorder- vertigo and all that- you should see me try to do step aerobics).
Although I am a “tad” on the pleasantly plump side, I happen to be in great shape (round is a shape!)- I work out fairly regularly, I go on the cross trainer for 45-60 minutes at a time, several times a week, currently at level 11. I lift weights, do pushups and sit ups. But man, did I ache the next day. In fact when I woke up in the morning, I was totally disoriented, and it took me a couple days to get it back together.
But I did such a great job, my wife decided that we would skip the landscaper this summer and I would do it.
So a few weeks later we had a day with no rain and I was volunteered into "mowing the lawn" again.
Remember we had record rain fall this year in June. It seems to me that this is the first week and weekend we've had that have felt like summer.
My neighbor was going out for the day so he gave me the mower & gas can and said "Have a Nice Day." Now this lawn mower was pretty old. The lever that you have to pull/turn/click into in order to make the wheels turn had broken off, so you had to have fingers of steel and be strong as an ox to make it catch. Next the bag that collected the mowed lawn was way dented beyond recognition. It still caught most of the grass, but it also makes a trail on the sides of the run, which on the one hand is nice, because it gives definition to the diagonals, but on the other hand makes for a sloppy job.
But, having run out of excuses, I started to mow the lawn again. Only problem this time, was that the lawn mower was smoking, and kept stalling out. I couldn't tell if was stalling because the bag was full of grass (don't forget it had been raining a lot, and it hadn't been mowed in a while, so it could very well have filled up the bag quickly); or if it was some sort of a mechanical issue (which is not my expertise).
So here I am, mowing, and emptying the bag into a paper "recycle mowed lawn bag."
I was able to complete the front and sides of the houses, and was about 1/3rd into the rear when it just pooped out on me, and I was pretty pooped out myself, so I put it in his garage, and took a shower. Actually I used up all his oil, went out and bought a quart and I used half of that, which was probably the reason it was running so hot and smoking. A little while later, his son came home and was mowing his lawn, and he said it was running great - told me I should finish mine, but I begged off for the day. (I probably fixed it so that it worked for him).
Which brings us to FATHERS DAY. Remember fathers' day? That’s the day where fathers get to sleep late, go fishing or go play golf, or do whatever they like to do.
Not moi. I got up on father's day and we got in the car and went to Sears to look at, you guessed it, LAWN MOWERS.
My wish came true, I was getting a brand new lawn mower for father's day. Yippee I Oh kayyea.
So off to Sears. Because of the rough terrain of our property we opted for larger wheels in the back than the front. Has to do with turning and working around tree roots, etc. We also wanted one with wheels that turned by themselves (self propelled), and must have a bag to collect the mowed lawn.
Now you can buy a lawn mower for thousands of dollars. Maybe you can. I can't.
We picked one out that they were "pushing" (i.e. on sale), the guy checked the store computer, and sure enough they had one in stock, we picked up a gasoline can (state of the art plastic gasoline can, really cool), and an extra quart of oil. Paid for it, drove around the back to pick it up.
Guess what- they didn't have it in stock. They have one in inventory, but they don't have one in the back of the store where you pick it up. They tried to explain it to me, but it was beyond my comprehension.
Now next to the cash register, where we paid there was a sign that stated Sears policy- If we do not have an advertised item in stock, we will give you a better one for the same price.
Didn't happen. I tried. I said- hey the sign says- but no matter what, they didn't want to hear it, no good, the manager will never go for it (I demanded that they go find the manager, but he was nowhere to be found, it was father's day, he was probably sleeping late or playing golf or gone fishing).
So back to the display, and there was the other just about the same grade lawn mower, self propelled, with a bag, in stock, in the box.
So back to the back of the store, and sure enough, in a box, but mostly assembled (just have to do a couple of little things).
Stopped at the gas station and filled up my new really cool plastic gasoline can (It's not really a can, its plastic, so what is it called?),
Put it all together, added the oil and gasoline, pulled the guaranteed to start every time cord and , vroom vroom, ready to mow the lawn.
So I make the first run, "diagonally" as far as I could go, turned it around, and this brand new, spiffy, bright red lawn mower just isn't working properly. I look at the wheels, and they won't remain level, so I try to adjust the back wheels so that they were on the same page. I can't get the lawn mower level on the driveway. So I take off my glasses so I can see up close (those of you over 50 will know what that meant), and I examine the wheels to see what is wrong.
Sure enough, I notice that the thingamajig that you adjust the wheel with on one of the sides is not stationary. I search some more and I discovered that there is a piece of metal sticking out of the gizmo that is supposed to be fitted into a hole in the thing to secure it in place. But on one side, it isn't there- it's been bent under the hole, instead of sticking straight out through the hole (whoever put it together in China or wherever it was built, cheated), but the point is, it didn't work.
So back in the car, back to Sears.
I can't find the guy who sold me the first two, and the person there is asking me if I drained the oil and gasoline.
Those of you who knew my father, probably remember him as an extremely loud person. He was known to be an extremely loud person. Many people liked him because he was so loud, many people didn't like him because he was so loud.
I am much louder.
#w%!!!! Expletive!!!! --deleted--
So while they were looking for my salesman, I went around the back for the third time today.
When I got there, they helped me take it out of the jeep, and took it back, and gave me a piece of paper to bring to the salespeople.
They mentioned that I was supposed to remove the fluids, but that it was "okay", they'd handle it.
Back to the front, I found a nice lounge chair display to wait for my salesman. When he woke me up, very gently, he told me to stay there while he did the paperwork, and brought me back my money.
Home Depot, there I went
………………….to be continued