Conqueress and Deal Diva

I wish I'd written this last night, when the glow was still fresh, and I wasn't frowzy and fuzzy-headed and in need of coffee, as I am now. But, I'll try to recapture the glory!

Deal Diva

I've been looking for a used lawnmower - cheap - for Missy and I. At the rental house we're in, we have a front, back and side yard. And we've been unable to keep it up to neighborly standards because we lack this crucial piece of equipment.

Last week, I found a mower on Craigslist, as part of a garage sale that weekend. I emailed to find out what they were asking, and they said $10, it ran great, but that it didn't start very well.

I decided it was worth dragging myself out of bed around 5 am to get to the sale as soon as it started (6:30 am!) to see if the mower would work for us. I lined up borrowing a truck later in the day (I mentioned the truck in my first post).

Saturday morning saw me putting Sean in the car in the wild hopes that after securing the lawn mower to pick up later that day, we'd go for a nice walk at the park next to the Brentwood Library off Concord Road. We drove over to Brentwood, found the garage sale, and the mower looked like a good bet for only $10.

The owner told me what happens when he tries to start it, and said it seems like the carburetor.

I didn't end up taking Sean for a walk - instead, I went to Cracker Barrel and had a good breakfast. I was starving! And then we went home and napped. I really believe in lots of sleep on the weekends!

Mechanically Challenged

Those of you who have been roommates before know that I have a tendency to tackle mechanical things and have them tackle me right back, and I end up having to call in some engineering-minded guy friend to finish the job.

This makes me extremely frustrated. Why can't a reasonably intelligent woman master simple mechanical fixes around the house, car, etc? Sometimes it's just a matter of not having enough strength, needing an extra pair of hands to do the job, needing special tools, or because a simple job gets a hitch making it really complicated (ask me about how my decision to install my own car battery - a very simple operation - turned into a 6 month ordeal with multiple mechanics and friends). But I still get frustrated.

I think this is because growing up, I got used to my dad's ability to fix anything (or at least MacGyver it), and had a huge selection of tools and equipment at his disposal. Need to weld something? No problem. Need to grind it down? Got it. Need an air compressor? No sweat. Now, I didn't use the heavy equipment in his shop (I don't want you picturing me in a welding helmet), but I could always ask him to help me with a project, and voila, we had most everything we needed right at hand.

OK, the other reason I get frustrated is because I'm pretty independent, and somehow, I think I should be able to do all these things, even without any prior experience. Prideful, huh? Makes me think of Mike's sermon this past Sunday on humility...

Anyway, I looked up a helpful article about lawnmower maintenance and everything looked do-able. But given my dubious track record, I was almost certain I'd tinker away and the end result would be me covered in grease, crying and yelling in frustration, and a lawnmower that still didn't work.

But there was still a sliver of hope that I would prevail!

And guess what? I did! I mixed all the right stuff into the gasoline, cleaned out the air filter, etc, and though it still needs the air filter lid to be open in order to start, it started well. And maybe the gas concoction will keep working to clean out the engine so that it will work even better in the future. I was so elated that I immediately tackled the side yard, even though it was dusk.

While I was mowing, I noticed that one side of the handle was dangling - a screw was lost. So, I ferretted around Missy's miscellaneous screw box, and even repaired that!

I finished mowing the side yard and it was dark - so I'm not sure if I got everything - but I felt high on adrenaline and excitement that for ONCE, I conquered a mechanical challenge, AND, we only spent $10 to get a lawnmower!!! WOO HOO!


Lindsey Vaughan June 10, 2009 at 1:33 PM  

Rock out! Congrats!

Anonymous June 10, 2009 at 1:46 PM  

Wow, that is pretty impressive. Congratulations. I like the pictures of the huge mowers, too. Is yours that big??

Tina B June 10, 2009 at 2:07 PM  

David - My mower is actually a rather small red and white Snapper. Probably a 20". But it's light and easy to maneuver, which I like a lot! But I didn't have a chance to take a pic before it got dark last night.

Hey, what can I use to clean up the outside of the mower engine - like under the air filter housing? It's pretty dirty and may be causing problems...

Juli June 11, 2009 at 11:06 AM  

Very impressive!

Anonymous June 11, 2009 at 11:02 PM  

Hmm, I usually use a degreaser. Simple Green has one that's alright. You can also use citrus cleaners or a grease-cutting dish detergent like Dawn.

Anonymous June 14, 2009 at 2:36 PM  

great job Tina! so glad to hear the $10 mower worked...i guess the early bird really does get the worm!!

michele June 18, 2009 at 1:29 PM  

woohoo! you go girl. I laughed a tad at picturing you tackle all your mechanical problems. I am right there with you. I had to stop using my dishwasher b/c its leaking everywhere and then had to stop using my downstairs toilet b/c the back tank seems to be shooting water when you flush it - atleast its the clean water! I just can't keep up with all the little house problems. Some I am totally capable of fixing and some I have no clue even where to start (like the dishwasher).

Cool you fixed the mower though. :0) And yes, i am reading your blog. Sorry I hadn't commented yet.

Tina B June 18, 2009 at 2:04 PM  

Hey, Michele,

That's crazy about your dishwasher and toilet! Time to call a friend to help you out :) I can't imagine being a home owner and having to do everything myself. You go girl, right back!

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