Saturday, May 26

Hear me roar

I cut the grass in the backyard today. Oooh, you say. Big news. Thanks so much for sharing that. Smartass.

Here's the deal. When I bought the townhouse years ago my parents moved in too. This would be a major trauma for a lot of people but it works for us. The reasons are too complicated to go into here, but the main thing is that it works for us most of the time. And part of this arrangement is that my dad handles most of the 'guy' things, like bugs in the house, leaky pipes and the lawn.

So fast forward to present day. As you all know my dad has been going through some tough stuff. We're dealing. But I am now faced with doing all those little things that I had taken for granted before. Bug in the house? "Dad!" Leaky pipe? "Dad!" and so on. A few weeks back I realized that I was going to lose the cat in the backyard one of these days if I didn't do something about it. No problem, I'm a modern woman, right?

Turns out there's this little part of me deep down in that still believes some things are meant for men to handle. Like bugs in the house, for instance. Also lawnmowers. Some primeval thing inside of me insists that it's a 'guy' thing. This thing was so strong that I couldn't even bring myself to remove the cover from the lawnmower, so I improvised with the weed wacker. Okay, go ahead and laugh; but it worked. In fact it's worked twice now and if it was a little ragged it was also not bad for a make-do job, if I do say so myself. But ...

Couldn't go on that way indefinitely. For one thing even with such a small yard it takes time. Plus the damn weed wacker kept coming unplugged. They should elasticize the electrical cords, that's all I'm saying. Why nobody has thought of that yet is beyond me. And it's not as though I am inept when it comes to household stuff. I don't say I'm good at it, but I'm not completely helpless.

So anyway I finally bit the bullet tonight. I waited until late in the day when it was cooler (and coincidentally a lot fewer neighbors around to watch me make a fool of myself) and uncovered the mower. After dragging it into the middle of the yard I stood back and assessed the situation. What did I know about this mower? It ran on gas. So the gas must go someplace, right? And um, maybe we should make sure it has enough to do the job before we go forward? Ya think? Found the cap and unscrewed it and something sloshed around in there so I decided I had gas. Next I knew I was supposed to yank on the cord thingie and, theoretically, the mower would, hey presto! start. So I pulled. And literally pulled up short. Couldn't make it budge more than six inches or so and the mower showed no signs of life. Back to assessing. My thought process went something like this:

What's this wire thingie up here by the handle? There wouldn't be a wire there if it weren't supposed to do something right? Okay, mower = guy thing, so who knows? But the wire is attached to a line and it looks like that runs down the handle to the where even I know the motor is cased. So it must do something.

So I pulled back on the wire thingie and pulled back on the cord thingie and hey presto! still nothing happened.

*sigh* It looks so easy when Dad does it. Alright, I'm a reasonably intelligent adult, I should be able to figure this out. Back again to the assessing. What's this little red button down here by the motor? Hmmmm. Looks promising. There's some writing next to it. Most of the writing is worn away but I think I can read the word "prime." Prime what? Prime time? Prime of life (well it's a fairly young mower)? Prime cut (now wouldn't that be a neat play on words?)

Prime cut, lawn mower ... get it? Never mind. Then it occurs to me that the mower has been sitting there since last fall which means no fuel has passed through the whatzit, the thing that burns the fuel. So ... could this be prime as in "priming a pump"? And what do I know about priming a pump? Not much. Never done it. But I've heard of it, I mean I READ so I know lots of bits and pieces of mostly useless information one of which is that sometimes pumps need a running start, so to speak. I don't know why this is necessary because though I am well read, I am also an urban child.

Anyway I looked all over the mower and that red button was the only thing I could see that I hadn't tried so ... I pushed it. And nothing happened. So I pushed it again and still nothing happened. Then I went back to the other end of things, pulled back on the wire thingie and gave the cord another go and ...

IT STARTED! Of course I got so excited that I let go of the wire thingie and the motor shut down. I guess it's a safety thing, since it pretty much forces you to be behind the mower when you are running it. But at least this time I knew what to do. In fact I didn't even need the little red button this time because there's already fuel in the whatzit. So at last my backyard got cut and it is ever so much neater than the weed wacker job. Although I do still need to get out the weed wacker. At least I already know how to use that one. But first I need to invent an elastic power cord so I'll have get back to you.


Mary said...

Good for you!

In general, however, I like to think that lawn mowing should be the exclusive province of young tanned men who wear nothing but cutoff jeans and have rippling muscles... whew, is it hot in here? Sorry, need to go find something to fan myself with...

omqnmig - my usual attempt at a witty comment when meeting a hot lawn mower dude

McB said...

I also fixed a toilet this weekend. Okay, it just needed a new flapper thingie and it didn't require any tools. But still, I fixed it myself.

Usually Yancey xamines lilacs after quiet croquet.

Margaret said...

McB, I'm with you. Some things are just "guy" things. Of course, it's perfectly all right for him to take over some "girl" chores, like dishes, laundry, & vacuuming in addition to his own stuff.
I'm just sayin'...

Anonymous said...

McB, Remember to check the oil.

dee said...

I totally love your posts. YOu always make me laugh. ANd the really funny part is that I knew exactly which whatzit and thingie you meant, because I feel exactly the same way.

I'm VERY proud of you. This is a major accomplishment. No, I'm not kidding. At all.

McB said...

GP - you just had to burst my bubble didn't you? Okay, this weekend's mission ... figure out where the oil goes.

sxfax: my imagination is working overtime on this one.

btuda said...

My goal this year was to conquer this thing where the lawn mower didn't like me. We've had it for three years and I couldn't get the darn thing started. It became a big production in the neighborhood. I'd wheel it out of the garage, I'd tug on the pull thingie a few times, the mower would buck like a broncho, I'd give up, and the mower would go back into the garage until DH got home.

It is a self-propelled mower. I was holding the wrong whatzit down.

But I can now mow the grass without DH starting the mower first. Congrats! At least it didn't take you 3 years!

ZaZa said...

Weed wacker! Yay. I too tend to fall back on the WW when faced with motorized thingies. But huge congrats for figuring it out and doing the CBs proud. With talent like this, can it be long before we TOTW? I ask you.

unusually reluctant, Zoe used Xavier's manly brawn