I had been talking about renting a tiller for this new garden project I've decided to do, and Mike insisted that I wait until the weekend so he could help me. He told me I'd hurt myself if I tried to do it alone, so just to appease him, I waited until the weekend.
I called up the rental place, and he said they'd be open for 3 more hours and one of the tillers hadn't been rented yet that day. So I immediately called my brother, traded him cars for the afternoon (a tiller doesn't fit well in the back seat of a Camry), and went to pick up the tiller. Mind you, I had a cake in the oven (so domestic, I know) and had to juggle baking time with closing time of the rental place. It all worked out, no worries.
We finally got to the rental place, and it's all men in there, and a fairly dirty place. I guess, what should I expect from a place that rents out machinery, right? But really, it reminded me of going into the Farmer's Co-op building back home. Rightfully so, they looked at me like an idiot when I walked in there all alone, sporting a pink t-shirt and asking if I could rent a tiller. "Who's gonna be doin' the tillin'?" I guess it was his equipment; he was allowed to be worried about it.
I went out back to the 'shop' to look at the tiller before I signed a rental agreement. The guy who was smoking a cigarette (inside!), missing a front tooth and wearing a week's worth of dirt showed me the tiller. "This what you had in mind?" Umm, I guess, as long as it does the job. He offered me a cultivator and three different sizes of tillers. "Dude, I just want to till my garden."
So inside I went, to sign my rental agreement. "What'd ya think?" I told him I'd take it. Mike came in shortly thereafter. He backed my brother's Jeep up to the loading dock and got operating instructions. The chain-smoking, tooth-missing, dirt-wearing guy asked Mike, "You ev'r used one these b'fore?" To which he replied "Uh, yeah, I think so. A while back." He didn't sound very convincing, I just don't think he wanted to listen to operating instructions. But he got them anyway... "you pull this here pin out, flip this guy upside down, push here, pull there. There's the choke, and this lever...." I'm not sure if he stopped making sense or if I just stopped listening. Probably the latter, as I don't even know what a 'choke' does. Anyway, they loaded this beast up and off we went.
We got the tiller to Mike's house, and off to work he went. He attempted to 'pull the pin and flip this guy upside down' and couldn't figure it out. I think he had stopped listening to Mr. Rent-It too. Once he got the tiller started and held the lever down that made it go, the thing took off. It only had one speed: GO. In a matter of seconds, I was doubled over in laughter. After a couple minutes, I asked Mike if he was mad. No. But beads of sweat, strained back muscles, three blisters, and six inches of torn-up dirt later, I'm pretty sure he had a different answer.
Days later, things are looking great. The roots that were torn up have all died, and I think it's ready to be planted. I'm waiting for this stretch of 35 degree nights to be over, and I'll get to work. Best of all, Mike even says he'll do the whole tiller-rental thing again if needed. Maybe he wasn't so mad after all!
Thanks Mikey, for tilling!
...and for not letting me do it myself!