Shortly after we moved here I saw a lawnmower put by the side of our road. We’d never had one before (the only time we had lawns the landlords hired gardeners to mow them) and the idea of getting one free was too good to pass up. I rushed home, got Husband’s truck (because oily, smelly, machine things don’t go in my vehicle) and when I got back the owner came out to chat. He said it worked fine but his wife was making him get rid of it because he had 3 others. The only thing wrong was the pull cord was broken.
We never got around to fixing it. I was in denial about needing to mow anything (more on that in a later post) but eventually I couldn’t overlook the fact that the back yard (the one facing the street) was looking pretty bad. Mowing the lawn with our weed whacker had proved to be tiresome and not very efficient so I was bugging Husband to fix the cord. He did actually go get a new one, but he’s been busy with work and the lawn was looking pretty sad. So I took it upon myself to fix it.
I’ve never worked on any sort of engine before, but I used to enjoy taking apart home electronics when I was a teenager (oh the drive and focus of a girl who wants a telephone and stereo for her room but can only afford ones in need of repair – and yes I got them to work). I even found this great website, but my mower’s pull-cord housing turned out to be on the side, perpendicular to the round part that turns the engine over (as I said, I’ve never worked on an engine before) so it was only partly helpful.
While I was taking things apart, undoing bolts, and basically getting myself covered in oil and grease the smells were sending me right back to my early childhood days in my grandparents’ garage. Grandpa had a workshop in there – a thick workbench with a mounted vise, jars full of nails, screws and bolts, and more tools than I could ever identify. It always smelled like engines in there and now the smell was transporting me right back. I think my grandpa would have been tickled to see me working away on an old lawnmower. It made me miss him and my childhood days hanging around their suburban home (the other thing that transports me back there is the smell of homegrown tomatoes).
Eventually I got it figured out. The first time I put it back together and had Husband come and start it up we discovered I hadn’t wound it round enough times to give him a good length to pull. So I took it apart again and fixed that. Husband came out again to start it up (I tell ya, it is SO frustrating to be a woman with low upper body strength in a world full of pull-cord-startin’ machinery) and I was thrilled when the engine purred to life. Sure it puffed a bit of smoke at first but soon I was off and mowing. I was so proud!
Unfortunately I didn’t get too far when I hit the back yard and deeper grass (the patch in front was mostly dandelion stalks and not too hard to mow). The engine stalled on a thick patch and we have not been able to get it to start again. My Dad will be up here in two days and will take a look. Meanwhile, one of my oldest and bestest friends informed me the other day that they have a 2-year old mower that is being neglected since her husband treated himself to a riding mower and we are welcome to have it.
Part of me was thrilled to get a new-ish mower for FREE. But part of me really wants “my” old lawnmower to work. The one I fixed myself!