Friday, September 27, 2013

A matter of principal

My riding lawn mower is an antique by today's standards. I bought it in 2004 and it's served me well, but each year I have to put money into maintaining it.
Last week a loud grinding sound was emanating from one of the blades. I was almost through cutting, so I just parked it, and went inside for supper.
I know from experience that noises like that usually are not quick fixes, so I dreaded beginning work on it.
When the weather is scorching hot, and dry as the Sahara, ignoring the lawnmower would not be a problem, but Alabama has been like a tropical rainforest this spring and summer, so my grass is growing like Kudzu.
When it got to the point that I either had to fix it, or buy goats, I put on my coveralls and dove in. When I laid down on the ground, reached under the mower and checked the tension of the blades, one of them spun like a pinwheel. Hmmm, I thought. That's not right.
I removed the old part and headed to the parts store. I decided to get new blades while I was there and when I got home I fixed the defective spindle. When I went to install the new blades on the other spindle, I realized it had the same problem as the one I'd just replaced.
So, back to the parts store I go and drop another $60 for another spindle. This time I decided to get a new belt so that all the undercarriage would be new.
I installed the second spindle and the new belt. When I cranked it up, it sputtered a little (a totally different issue) but then seem to do OK.
A few rounds around the yard and I started smelling hot rubber. Then the new $20 belt broke and slung out the side like clipped grass. Well damn I thought (excuse my, well that's not French, but excuse my language).
A little more investigation revealed another pulley had frozen up. The mower had been hard on belts this summer so this issue predated the one that started this journey.
I went BACK to the parts store and bought a new pulley, and another belt. After installation, I cranked up and made a few rounds and it cut perfectly........then it sputtered to a stop.
Apparently I'd broken one of the fuel lines when I removed the gas tank (three times). I got BACK IN THE TRUCK AND WENT BACK TO THE PARTS STORE, where I bought new fuel lines, and filters.
By this time I was on a mission. I was not going to let a piece of garden equipment whip me. It was a matter of principal.
I calmly replaced the parts, and then went inside for a glass of water. I looked out the window at the lawnmower sitting there in the shade.
I set my jaw, went back outside and climbed onto the beast and turned the switch. It sprang to life and I cut grass for two hours.
Sometimes I think the Good Lord puts obstacles in your way just to test your metal. I like to think that He/She's smiled as I mowed the fields this afternoon.

Below is my mandavilla, which finally decided to bloom this summer.



10 comments:

  1. "I either had to fix it, or buy goats"--loved that line!!

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  2. I think I would have gone to a pet store for goats.
    You worked extra hard, Rick.
    Glad you didn't let it 'whup' you, though.
    My hat's off to you.
    Smiles,
    J.

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  3. The mandavilla is pretty, but the story was far more entertaining! I enjoyed the anticipation I felt in finding out just how this would end up. My husband had double bypass surgery a couple of years back, but he still wanted to cut his lawn. The doctor was not as enthusiastic, until later. He finally agreed to a riding mower, so we purchased one after much research. A year later, there was a problem, but the place where we bought it fixed it under warranty, and it has been great since. Turned out, we just got a defective battery. I should say that my husband spent a great deal of time trying to fix it himself before he called the place where we purchased it. Lesson learned here, call when it is still under warranty. Let them handle it!

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  4. Good for you for not giving up and getting a goat. The belt broke on the farm lawn mower too this week. It's a very long belt. It's for a lawn mower that handles like a skidsteer. It has two rudder arms to govern instead of a steering wheel. It can turn on a dime.
    JB

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  5. You have great tenacity Rick... it's a wonderful quality to have ;-)

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  6. Great story! I like your view - my husband always referred to my obsession with not giving up as "stubbornness". ;-) Actually, I get a HUGE amount of satisfaction when I solve something. I had to take apart a stove hood to remove a dead mouse, then install a new one. It took all day, 2 trips to the hardware store, and then I had to take it out and re-install it a second time because I had a baffle in backwards, but I was pretty proud to have done it all by myself. Every time I use it, I feel happy.

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  7. I have to admit though, a goat buying story would have made a helluva blog post :)

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  8. Wow, you are not a quitter! Good job! I do the mowing here at the Pines and when it was time to get a new mower (the old one was from the previous owner and had truly run it's course) I picked a zero turn number...hated it! But I stuck with it and learned to do a pretty good job of mowing. Jack spent many hours this spring fixing cables and belts but when a different problem came up a few weeks ago we sent it to the mower hospital. Unfortunately, it's still there. The guy who mows Jack's office area now has mowed us and frankly, I'm not that sad! I enjoy mowing, but coming home and seeing it all done??? priceless!

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  9. I would have been cursing and kicking that mower. You must have patience. I don't. Good feeling though wasn't it, when you finished mowing?!

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  10. So when do the goats arrive?

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