Day: September 19, 2019

Small Engine; Big Mischief

The human female doesn’t really enjoy mowing the lawn (especially in this heat), but when she does get around to it, she likes to do a good job.

Which is why she found it so annoying when I had the mower die with part of the front lawn left to do.

unmowed patch

Ehehehehe!  All done except for that one very noticeable patch about 8 feet by 10.  Yank and pull as you will, mortal, that mower is not starting again today.  Hmmm.  Maybe you’ve flooded it?

(The next day.)  The human female is in hopes that a night spent thinking about its transgressions will have put the mower in a cooperative mood.

Yank.  hbdhbd Yank. RRrrnhbdhhbdh..dh.  YANK. RRRRrrrrrnnHbdhhbdkhbdhhbadh… YANKETY-YANK!  PUTTTttttputt…putt…put…pt.

Oh, dear.  Is it still not working?  And you’ve checked the gas and the air filter and the gas and the spark plug and the gas?  And you’ve tipped the mower up to see that the blade can turn freely and all that happened was the gas and oil leaked all over the patio?And it’s still not happy?  Aww.  Guess it’s dead then, huh?

So now the human female is looking online at electric lawn mowers.  She’s picked out one that’s available locally–or at least that’s what the computer says.  So now it’s off to the Big Box of Home Hardware and Stuff.

So here the humans are, wandering around this immense place, looking for the mowers.  And here they are!  There are several electric models, but not the blue one they’re looking for.  I’m suggesting that maybe this other green one would work.  The nice employee says they have two in stock.  And they do!  The demo one hanging on the wall and the one down below.  In the opened box.  That’s missing the batteries.  Sigh.  No mower will be purchased today, though the employee is helpfully willing to order the one they originally wanted online.  It could be here in as little as two weeks!

Ehehehehe!  By that time, the city will have pinned a Nasty-gram on the human female’s front door, citing her for an Unkempt Lawn.  Or maybe, considering the state it’s in, they’ll just pin one little torn-off corner of the citation to her door…

So now the humans are back home, awaiting the arrival of their Handy Bachelor Friend, the one who’s pretty good with small engines.  Let’s see if he can overcome my mischief and get this pesky mower going.

And here he is, with his own mower that the human female can use to finish her front yard and do the back.  “Let’s take a look.”  Prime-prime-prime-prime.  Yank, yank, yank, yank, Rnnn..pttb..pttb.  “Oh, it’s definitely water in the fuel.  Now, if this were my old mower, I’d just loosen the little plug in the bottom of the gas tank and let it drip out, but these new ones are mumble, grumble, grumble. You need some fuel additive and a new air filter.”  He and the human male have gone back to the Big Box of Home Hardware and Stuff to buy some while the female gets to the mowing.

Aha!  I knew it!  I set the wheels on the Handy Bachelor Friend’s mower one notch shorter than the human female keeps hers, and the patch she just mowed makes the rest of the lawn look too long! And it’s not a mulching mower, either, so she’s leaving long windrows of clippings. Beautiful!

I could do this all day.  Now the menfolks are back with the air filter, the fuel additive, and some gloves.  Gurgle, gurgle, gurgle.  “Now it’ll start right up!”  Prime-prime-prime-prime.  Yank, yank, yank, yank, Rnnn..pttb..pttb.  “Well, maybe it’s the spark plug.”

This is where the Handy Bachelor friend finds that he doesn’t have the exact right size socket to pull the plug, and neither does the human male.  Oh, I’ll eventually let them get it out, but just because they’re going to see that it’s perfectly fine.

“Well, let’s take the housing off the engine and see what’s going on under there.  Okay, that’s all right.  {Insert arcane words like ‘venturi’ and ‘overhead’} And that looks fine.  Okay, there.  Try to start it now.”

“KA-THWAP!”  Very instructive!   They have just learned that you cannot start it with the housing unsecured, since the pull-cord just yanks the housing off.  Tighten, tighten, tighten.  Prime-prime-prime-prime.  Yank, yank, yank, yank, Rnnn..pttb..pttb.

The human female is wondering if it’s the throttle cable, because that’s what broke on her previous mower, forcing her to jam the throttle open with a piece of wood every time she wanted to start it.  “No, the cable’s not broken, but—wait.  Hold down the throttle again…  Now try to start it…” Prime-prime-prime-prime.  Yank, yank, yank, yank, Rnnn..pttb..pttb.

At this point I show a little mercy and let the Handy Bachelor Friend notice that, while the throttle cable is intact, it’s somehow too long.  How does a metal cable stretch?  It’s not pulling hard enough and the mower is basically trying to start with the engine shut off.  Hence the Rnnn..pttb..pttb.  “Here.  Let me push this thing over a bit more while you try to start it.”

Prime-prime-prime-prime.  Yank.  BANGVROOOOOM!!!!!

Great news!  They have discovered the problem!

Not so great news!  That bang was the mower chewing up the air filter cover, which was sitting underneath it.  (Thanks, Handy Bachelor Friend.)

So now the question is, “How can we shorten the cable, given that it has special things on either end which cannot be removed?”  There needs to be a way to wind it round the handle frame or something, just to take up some slack.  I will let them fiddle with it for another ten or fifteen minutes in the hot afternoon sun before I point out that they can disassemble the handle, reverse it, and have the cable run just that little bit farther.  An adjustment here and a zip tie or two there and TA DA!  The mower runs now!  Granted, the human female will have to keep picking up the air filter and sticking it back on since there’s no cover for it, but at least she can finish the front yard.

Oh, wait.  The human female had to come in for some water.  And now she can’t start it again.  With her short little arms, she has a real problem pulling the cord out to its full length.  And it looks like the cable problem is reoccurring.  It’s going to take the two men to start it.

(later.)  Whew.  Now she’s finished.  Hot, sweaty, filthy, malodorous, and finished.  Well, except for the sidewalk, which needs weeding, and the holly that needs trimming, and the spent sunflowers that need to come down and….What time is it getting to be?  Dinner time already?  Tsk, tsk.  I’ve ruined an entire day with a job that should take two hours, tops.  Well done, me!

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