Sunday, July 27, 2008

Carb Happy

I love having a big backyard. With my acre-sized yard, I can plant a 40 x 40 foot vegetable garden, iris, and assorted plants and enjoy my two dogs running amuck after rabbits and ground squirrels. Sure it gets hot in the summer, but having a large space to entertain is worth the upkeep.

Part of the upkeep is the routine mowing and weed whacking every two weeks or so. One of my expectations is to have the garden tools work as expected when needed. Turning the key or pulling on the starter cord on gas-powered machines is a real joy. But it's a big frustration pill when that doesn't happen!

My lawn mower this year has been sputtering and hard to start. Yes, it is a pain when the right rear tire habitually goes flat and I have to lift the rear end up on a plastic milk crate to position the tire back on the rim.

What really gets my goat is when the grass is tall and the mower won't start. If I had the money to toss away or was stupid rich, I would go buy a new lawn mower. It's like saying "I am so tired of spending fifty bucks a month on car maintenance, that I am going to buy a new car instead!" ($400 plus car note for five years?)

My neighbor Frank is really adept at fixing mowers. In this part of Nashville, Frank is known as the lawn mower man. He finds old and discarded mowers, gets this running and sells them at a reasonable price. In fact we can tell when spring as officially arrived when Frank has a lawn mower for sale in the front yard on Bresslyn Road. Unfortunately Frank didn't have any $350 riding mowers. Ten years ago, I gave up the self-propelled push mower - why walk when one can ride?

This weekend, the grass was mighty tall. With Frank’s knowledge and tenacity to get it done, we took apart the carburetor and cleaned it with carb cleaner, air pressure and an $8.00 kit from Chilton’s, a parts supply house. I stunk like gas, my hair got greasy, and I was stressed when the three hours spent in the hot humidity Saturday failed to get the mower running.

Sunday, Frank took a air compressor and blew all of the dirt and grime from the aging rubber gas line clogging the free flow of gas. After putting the tiny springs and rubber gaskets back in place, we were in business! The mower started right up, purring like a brand new country cadillac 42" mower should.

I am a blessed man – I just cut my front and back yard in three hours on a like new mower that is running perfectly. Frank was quick to mention that I saved myself a thousand bucks (that I didn’t have) by rebuilding the carburetor. Amen to that! and Amen for great neighbors like Frank.

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