Tempus fugit...what can I say. And the older one gets the tempus fugits even faster.
Let me fill you in on the latest dilemma. I've spent the greater part of the week on a particularly thorny problem. I've expounded before on landscaping issues which are part and parcel of living in my subdivision. There are rules. Actually, it is a very nice place to live. I love my neighbors, and the Homeowners Association is pretty good at planning little events to help keep it a real community. But there are rules, and I'm breaking one of the cardinal ones with my grass. I don't want to break the rules, but I do not take defeat lightly. So here's the scenario. I no longer have a landscaper. He was too expensive. He made more per hour than I do. But he was good. When you think about it, being good at what one does for a living - keeping consistently at peak best through the day-in and day-out grind - is not as easy as it's cracked up to be. No denying it. He was good. I simply could no longer afford the luxury.
As I've written before, I found a power mower in my garage. I dusted it off, oiled it up, and it sputtered along all summer - until two weeks ago. It's not an old mower. I pull the cord, the motor spins, but it doesn't kick in. (I have a John Deere riding mower in the garage as well, which also doesn't work and which needs to get hauled away on a trailer for servicing, but that's another story.) This is what I have learned about power mowers - they need three things to start: air, fuel, and a spark.
I learned how to change the spark plug - nothing. I learned how to change the air filter - still nothing. I drained the gas and re-filled it. Dead. Yesterday, I decided I'd clean the carburetor - at least I think it's the carburetor. I learned that when I press the little red "prime" button, a squirt of gasoline shoots through an opening inside what I think is the carburetor, and then into the part of the engine that houses the spark plug. Should it do that? I sat on the patio steps and thought hard about it - trying to get into the mind of the combustion engine. The spark that the spark plug is supposed to make probably ignites the little squirt of gasoline and that sets the whole caboodle in motion. Is that how it works? Could that be right?
I've tried getting a copy of my owners manual on-line. There is an owners manual for my lawn mower, all right. But instead of it being an owners manual for the walk-behind power mower, it's a manual for a leaf blower. The leaf blower manual is not much help. Did I mention that being good at one's job is admirable? Things should just work right. Is that a tall order? I want my lawn mower to work. I want the owners manual for the mower to be for the mower and not for a leaf blower. Should I print off the leaf blower manual anyway just in case I buy it one day? Did someone make a mistake and switch the two manuals? Maybe if I pulled up the manual for a leaf blower I'd find the manual for the lawn mower.
The lawn situation is getting pretty desperate, so I will have to hire someone to cut it. That should give me another week or two to tinker. I don't think the problem is the starter spring. Until yesterday I didn't even know there was such a thing as a starter spring. But I learned how to change that as well, just in case.
My reading assignment for the weekend will be to learn everything I can about the combustion engine. I cannot allow it to win. Like Winston Churchill, I will fight on the land...I will fight on the sea...I will never give up.
Wrestling the lawn mower into submission is one of my loftier goals. It's right up there with baking a flaky pie crust. (The secret is vodka.) I'll let you guess for which one.