Sunday, September 11, 2011

Sometimes the Grass Doesn't Want to be Cut


Cutting the grass. A horrible chore any dad would rather skip. But inevtiably, it has to be done- at least until the kids are old enough to do it. So there I was, ready to finally mow the front yard after putting it off for some time due to the record high temps, rain and a flu, cold and sinus infection all within a week of each other.

Knowing my riding mower was out of gas, I went out and got some.

I took the gas out to the mower itself. Uh-oh. Flat tire. Dammit. It seems like every time I use the mower, one tire is low. No problem. Can of fix-a-flat to the rescue.

I turned around to go open the gate from backyard to front... and there was a small tree in the way. A fallen tree. I didn't even know it had falled. But it was there, blocking the way. Not feeling like messing with the chainsaw, I got my bow saw and double-headed axe and chopped away enough to clear a path from shed to gate.

Rolled the mower out of the shed. Ah... a second tire is low, on it's way to being flat. Ah, well, once started, I could drive the mower around to the front of the house and break out my compressor.

If the mower would start. Nothing when I turned the key. If the grass wasn't so long, I'd have given up.

Turns out, it was just dirty contacts on the mower's battery cables. Once cleaned, they let the mower turn over. It sounded awful.

Check of the oil revealed why- very low. Luckily, I keep plenty of oil on hand for the cars- enough for each car to get one change at any time. So I borrowed some from one of our cars.

Finally, I got the mower going, and drove it around front. Got the compressor out from the carport and aired the tires up. I finally got started on the mowing.

I made one pass and the blades stopped turning. Turned out the belt had jumped off one of the pulleys. No problem, I was able to climb down and reconnect. Mowing resumed.

My front yard is divided into four sections: the main yard, then the part between sidewalk and street, barely 4 feet wide running across the front of the property, then a small sliver of yard to the right of the driveway, next to the neighbor, and finally a strip of grass up by the house, again separated by a sidewalk from the rest of the yard.

Main yard. Done. Front of house, done. Front strip by road. Done. Now it was time to move the wife's car that is parked in the grass beside the driveway- where a parking area should be paved, but which I have been putting off doing for years. Gotta move the car to mow it... and the wife's battery is dead. Nice. No problem, I'm pissed at this point, it's near dinner time. I'll mow around her car.

So I do. Or at least I start to. I carefully jockey the mower into position, disengaging the blades as I do so, so that I don't cut the neighbor's grass. Not because I would mind doing it, but because my neighbors are anal about how their yards look. Where as I'd happily replace my grass with sand, moss or even concrete.

Anyways, as I'm positioning my deck into just the right spot, I pull the lever to re-engage the blades. Nothing happens. I look down and there's a belt, broken and hanging out.

And that is quitting time.

Mower out of gas? Just a quick trip to the gas station.

Tree down? Cut it up.

Flat tire? Fill it up, or use the can of fix-a-flat every car shoudl have in it anyways.

Engine won't turn over? Clean the contacts.

No oil? Raid the supplies every garage should have.

Belt breaks? Go to the store and buy a new one. Unless you've had all these problems in one day, in which case it is time to yield to the couch gods and give up for the day.

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