It was supposed to sound casual. “I’m still filthy from my run, I will just mow the grass really quickly.” I was afraid to sound too excited. Spring could throw the brakes on and it could be snowing before I had the shed door unlocked.
My fondness for mowing the grass is not a secret. The girls and I spent much of Spring Break at the beach and when we got home Spring had sprung There were buds on the azaleas and the trees were green. There were weird spots of long grass in our yard. I could mow. It was time. You know, just pull the old lawn mower out and give her a whirl. Why not?
I pulled the mower out of the shed and confidently pushed it around to the front yard. I gave it a yank. I gave it another yank. Years ago I had a mower that I could never start and I routinely had to suck up my pride and ask our neighbor to start it for me. Not anymore. This puppy is only a year old. It starts up like a beauty every time. I gave it another yank. Nothing. I stepped back. I took a deep breath and I gave it one more yank. The delicious sound of “I can’t hear you, Go ask your father, I am mowing the grass” filled the air and I was off.
And silence. The mower would only run for five, maybe six seconds. Shit. Tried it again. Same thing.
Things that do not work make me insane. Tools, technology, teenagers – I look at them all with my best RuPaul face and think “You better work, Bitch.”
I took Shop instead of HomeEc. I am not afraid to get my hands dirty. But I didn’t opt for the Automotive Technology Certificate in high school. Engines and I have a limited understanding of one another. The only thing I knew about this lawnmower is that I had done nothing but put gas in it since we bought it last summer.
Aha! Gas. I sort of lost a small part of our gas can last summer. It has sort of been plugged with a piece of duct tape for months. I know. Not smart. Not the losing it or the having a not exactly closed gas tank in the shed for the better part of a year. I have already been informed of my stupidity, rest assured. But maybe my semi-open gas can was to blame for this? To the store I went for a siphon and a new gas can. I would get this crappy gas out of my beloved mower and it would run like a top once again, right?
It is easy to feel like a high roller when you are buying two gallons of gas. Super Premium for me, please. Old gas removed, new gas poured in. Started right up! And stayed running! By this time I was feeling a little over-confident. Maybe I should check the oil.
One more trip to the store and my mower had oil, premium gasoline and I was considering wiping the blades down with a rag. I had all but made love to this machine in my driveway, I was ready to mow the damn grass.
Halfway across the lawn on my first pass and I looked up to see my beloved family sitting on the porch. I did what any full-grown woman would do and I leapt in the air and did a double fist pump and shouted “Yesssss!”
You know what happened, right? A terrible choking sound and white smoke billowed out from the engine. Too much oil. It had to be the culprit. By the time I added the oil I was kind of in a hurry and my checking of the dipstick was more of a cursory glance than a legit “checking of the oil level.” Not a problem. I happen to have a siphon now.
Oil removed. Oil checked. More smoke. At this point there was only one small compartment left on my mower that I had not investigated. Wasn’t there an air filter? There had to be, right? Engines have those, right? Yep. When I popped open the door and removed the filter it was dripping with oil. Dripping. This was an air filter, not an oil filter. It did not look good.
Perhaps sensing my frustration with this project MQD promptly put the filter in a ziploc bag and sped back to the store.
I did mow my grass yesterday. And it usually makes me feel accomplished. But I also diagnosed my engine problem (shitty, old gas,) fixed the problem by siphoning the gas, changed my oil, adjusted my oil and replaced my air filter. Did I buy a 22 oz beer at the gas station on my last and final trip? You bet I did.
Just in case you are one of those sexist assholes that wonders what my husband was doing while I was fixing the lawn mower you should know that he was elbow-deep in a heart attack in the kitchen. What did we have for dinner last night? Bacon Explosion. And a salad, of course.