Wednesday, April 13, 2011

When it Rains...It Pours (and the Grass will Continue to Grow)

So, I’m realizing this is not a good week for me as a homeowner.

On top of my unfortunate problem with termites, I now have another expense: A lawnmower.

Yes, readers, last night I decided that it was dry enough to mow my front lawn which was quickly earning the title of “ugliest lawn in the neighbourhood” due to a rather prolific dandelion problem that seemingly sprung up overnight.

So, I got out my mower. I’ve never really liked my lawnmower. It’s only two years old but has never really liked me. It’s leaked oil a few times. Due to some tree-roots, I managed to bend the casing so that the blade lightly rubbed up against it as it ran and made a funny noise. Also, it’s just plain temperamental.

However, I’ve used it once this year already on my back lawn. It had a few problems but it ran fine. The back lawn looked good when I was done.

So, silly me, I assumed it would be ok to use it because, well, as you can imagine, there was no reason to assume it wouldn’t be fine. So, I began to mow the front lawn.

It went fine at first after one slight hiccup of me realizing that the strange plastic wingnut thingy I’d found in the back garden last week was actually part of my lawnmower. This explained why the handle was hanging off the mower until I reattached said plastic wingnut thingy.

Once the handle was on again, I began to mow. I was pleased that the dandelions were quickly disappearing and I began to have the semblance of a tidy lawn.

And then, halfway through my mowing, there was an enormous “BANG” and this very dangerous, very hot piece of metal flew out. Black sludge began pouring out of my engine onto the grass very quickly.

I quickly realized a couple of things:

a) The large piece of hot metal was quite important to my lawnmower as it was actually an Official Mechanical Thingy that was Vital to my Engine’s Performance.
b) I was quite lucky that the exploding Mechanical Thingy hadn’t hit me because not only was it very hot but it had also shattered and flown in several directions. It was also quite sharp.
c) My lawn was going to have a rather nasty black pile of slick oil on it for a while.
d) My lawn was going to have to go unfinished
e) My lawnmower was dead.

Needless to say I wasn’t terribly happy. I suppose I could have tried to restart the mower but the black sludge and suspicious looking shattered mechanical thingy had me rather afraid that I’d create a fire hazard or, worse, have an actual explosion.

So, I did what any dejected Monkeypants would have done. I cast a sad and pathetic look over my half-mown grass and started to push the dead mower towards the toolshed.

During this time, I was being maniacally barked at by the Dog Whisperer’s beasts. This is irritating. I cannot go through my back gate without three nasty rat-terrier type dogs going insane and barking like rabid maniacs at me. It’s always irritating but when you’ve just killed your mower and are suffering from a termite infestation, it’s even worse. During the maniacal barkfest, Wife of Dog Whisperer happened to pull up in her driveway and witness her dogs going mental. She told them to be quiet. They did quiet down a little as they usually do when their owner yells at them. The trouble is, they can’t always be yelling so the dogs will always be yappy. Still, for the time, they were a little quieter.

Anyway, back to my mower woes…even with Wife of Dog Whisperer’s intervention, the horrid creatures still continued to barkingly narrate my pathetic, oil leaking mower push back to the toolshed where I ended up stowing the mower for lack of anything better to do with it.

It’s still in the shed. Obviously. I should do something with it. I could take it to be fixed. There are small engine repair shops around. However, I did some research on the internet to discover what the Flying Hot Mechanical Part of Doom was. Also, I asked my dad because, well, he’s very mechanical. Also, I had absolutely no idea where to start researching. When you’ve been calling it the Flying Hot Mechanical Piece of Doom, that’s a little vague to start researching.

My dad suspected it was the piston. It turns out that it was, most likely, the piston. Since it’s in quite a few fragments around my lawn, I probably would have had to do some CSI work to determine the final decision on what it actually was. However, it sort of looked like the piston. Although, it might have been the carburetor. I still don’t know. I’m not mechanical.

Regardless of what it was, what I discovered is that it would be quite expensive to fix. In fact, it would cost more than the lawnmower did originally.

Thus, I decided that since I already disliked this mower and was going to have to pay a significant fee to get it mowing, I might as well just look for a new one. The bent casing/rubbing blade was more than enough to help me make that decision.

This time, I will not buy the most inexpensive mower I can find because I’ve never owned a mower before and didn’t know better. I did my research online to find out the best brands and value for money and low maintenance mowers that do not regularly blow out black smoke, putter and die on a fairly regular basis.

I’ve decided on a Toro. This probably doesn’t mean much to you. I know Toro means bull in Spanish. That’s what it means to me. However, it’s also a mower made for rougher terrain (like tree roots) and self-propelled so it won’t require massive amounts of Conan strength to get it moving on long grass.

Now all I have to do is wait for it to arrive. I ordered it from Home Depot. I was going to go get it from the store but it turns out that since it’s on sale, nowhere has it in stock. Also, I get free delivery.

Thus, in a few business days, I should have a new mower. I’d worry that my front lawn will look like an oddity being half mowed and half jungle but Dog Whisperer himself came to my rescue, kindly loaning me his lawnmower tonight to finish up. He offered to let me mow my back yard too but given my luck this week, I was a little afraid that if I used his mower too long, I’d blow that one up too. Also, my back garden is still soggy from recently flooding in the heavy rain so it was safer not to mow. The way I look at it is that the back yard isn’t visible- there’s no peer pressure to mow until I can get a new mower.

Still, on the plus side, even though I temporarily have no mower, it was an easily fixable problem even if it was expensive. Just as I’m sure that the termites should be relatively easy to kill. Just expensive. It also taught me that even if my neighbour’s dogs drive me crazy, my neighbor himself can be very kind and generous. That’s a nice thing to know and very much appreciated by me.

All I can say is that I’m desperately hoping that this evening will not behold another difficulty in my life as a homeowner. I’m a little afraid to do anything at home in case it breaks. Still, that which doesn’t kill us makes us stronger…right?

And my lawnmower didn’t kill me. I killed it. So I triumphed really if you look at it that way.

Even if I don’t have a lawnmower.

Happy Thursday!

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