Frailty Thy Name Is Lawn Mower

I have a love/hate relationship with my lawn mower and the feeling appears to be mutual. On the plus side, it’s an electric start, self-propelled dream. I don’t so much mow the lawn as I keep my mower company while it does its thing. I get big sticks out of the way and move yard toys to safety while it chugs along happily and we chat amiably about the weather.

On the other hand, it’s a bit of a prima donna sometimes. All that awesomeness tends to go to its head and it will spontaneously stop working. Just because. Now, if you ask my mower about the work stoppages, you’ll hear a sob story about how the grass gets insanely long because I don’t mow often enough and thus the blades get clogged up and what’s a poor mower to do in that situation but cry for help?

Don’t believe it.

Okay, I’ll admit there may have been a bit of operator error at play in the past, but not this time. I was skipping merrily along behind the mower this weekend, whacking my way through the jungle that is my back yard when the darned thing sputtered to a halt. I checked for grass clogs. I checked the gas tank. I called it a few choice names. Nothing worked.

At this point, I had exhausted all of my mechanical know-how and called for reinforcements. Or rather, I attempted to call for reinforcements. I hit up three male neighbors who all confessed to equal helplessness in the face of a temperamental piece of lawn equipment. A fourth got it working temporarily, but as soon as his back was turned, the darned thing conked out again.

This post could have been alternately title “Ten Things I Love about My Dad,” followed by a listing of all the things he knows how to do and/or fix around the house. Electricity, plumbing, and drywall repair among them. Sadly for me, he’s on a river cruise in Eastern Europe at the moment and unavailable for phone consultation on The Mower Issue.

It frustrates me to be so utterly helpless when it comes to basic home maintenance. I am as far from a do-it-yourselfer as it’s possible to get, but I just haven’t had a lot of experience in that field. For all of my adult life, I lived in rental units or church-owned parsonages where the solution to even pretty basic breakdowns was to pick up the phone and call somebody to fix it. I won’t lie – I enjoy that approach to problem-solving.

This winter, I managed to re-light the pilot in my gas fireplace without assistance and I was sorely disappointed when confetti failed to rain from the ceiling in spontaneous celebration of my ingenuity.

But back to the mower. A friend from church came over to take a look and to my absolute horror and mortification, he gently informed me that the thing was out of gas. Bone dry. Oh, no. No no no. I may be inept but I flat-out refuse to be that person who doesn’t even know the tank is empty.

Because he is a sweet man, he took seriously my protestations that I had recently filled the stupid thing and ultimately diagnosed a fuel leak. Thank goodness. (Sort of.) Now my persnickety lawn care companion is visiting the repair shop. In the meantime, my neighbor is mowing my lawn, which really feels like a win. Take your time, sweet mower. Don’t hurry back on my account…

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