Sunday, August 08, 2004

Solvent The Handyman Problem

I'm posting a lot today (and still have a rather lengthy post to work on later), but I wanted to get some quick stories out there before they faded.

I fixed something else!

Yes my friends, the tide has obviously turned. Evidently some passing faerie has inadvertently dropped at least a grain or two of "handy dust" upon me.

Yesterday, after realizing I had done little except nap, talk with Tiffany, and then relish in thinking about my talk with Tiffany, I decided I would at least get the lawn mowed and the leaves out of the front yard before going up the hospital for the night.

I accomplished the front yard project and was halfway through the back when suddenly the lawnmower quit. I checked the gas (hey, I at least know that much) but it had gas. I thought it might have been bad gas, so I replenished it with gasoline which I had recently purchased. Nothing. The mower would not start.

I checked the spark plug wire - yes, there was a day I spent a good 20 minutes yanking the lawnmower cord before some stranger walked by and said, "Um...the spark plug wire isn't attached" but we needn't revisit that day now...or ever again.

The wire was attached, and the spark plug looked fine.

I decided to get ambitious (Amy was in the hospital and couldn't stop me). I removed the air filter and cleaned it. No luck. I even removed the two hoses that feed gasoline into the engine and made certain they were not clogged.


It seemed like the mower wasn't getting gas at all.

This is where the story takes a twist where I'm certain some warning label should probably apply but what's done is done. For whatever reason I decided to pour gasoline directly onto the engine. Glug, glug.

I yanked the cord and the mower started!

Then it died.

I did this several more times - no doubt violating several EPA, OSHA, and Amy rules in the process - but the mower would not stay running for more than a few seconds. I'll admit I used each of those seconds to try to cover as much ground as possible, but I soon realized I would run out of gas very quickly that way...literally and figuratively.

I gave up. I sat down on one of our crappy looking plastic chairs and said out loud, "God, I know people say You never give anyone more than they can handle, but right now I have to tell You I've had it. I can not handle any more!"

I decided the backyard could remain half finished and trudged dejectedly to the garage to return the tools I had used.

As I left the garage to retrieve the mower I grabbed a can of WD-40. I honestly have no idea why, except that it is really the only other thing in my garage that is "handy" related.

I had already dumped gasoline all over the stupid machine, why not add another flammable liquid? I sprayed various parts of the lawnmower with WD-40. There was no rhyme or reason to it. I had no idea what I was doing much less why.

I then gave the cord a yank.

I swear to you, my lawnmower has never run better. It ZOOMED to life and it stayed running!

I finished mowing the yard, completely amazed.

Before I drove up to the hospital last night I realized that maybe the WD-40 fix was only temporary, that if I attempted to start the mower again, after it had recovered from a binge of solvents and fuels, it likely wouldn't work any more.

Tempting fate, I went out to the garage and gave the cord a pull.

It still worked.

You're going to have to excuse me, but I'm beginning to think I may actually be developing some mechanical skills.

Of course, it would be nice if I knew what those skills were and how to repeat them if need be...but I'm not going to press the point.

I am going to buy another can of WD-40 though...who knows where else it might come in handy?