Journal Express, Knoxville, IA


October 3, 2013

Slices of Life: The Mower Fix


My husband had a different idea. It seems the base was irreparable, but the motor was a quality one, still in working order and simply in need of an undamaged carriage on which to sit. We just happened to have two, resting (in peace) behind the garage.

“We’ll swap out one engine for another,” he said. “No problem.”

Sure, piece of cake, I thought. This is my lucky day. Despite my disinterest and lack of mechanical aptitude, I reconciled myself to the fact that I was in for an adventure. (Adventure is important in a marriage.)

And that is how I found myself squatting, in the least attractive of positions, on the driveway over a partially dismembered lawn mower, holding various pieces steady (or trying to) while my husband cajoled four bolts through holes in the base to secure the engine in place.

Four bolts. The premise was a simple one even I could understand – righty tighty and all that technical jargon. Trouble is, our bolts were troublesome little nuts. Apparently they’d missed the memo explaining the task they were created to do, causing us to experience something of an attachment disorder. After 20 minutes into the task, my arms ached from exertion. Thirty minutes in and the circulation in my legs ceased to exist. I shifted positions and held tight to the engine. Black oil dripped down onto my fingers, threatening my ability to get a grip.

My husband and I wrestled and coerced (the bolts, not each other) and after much expulsion of effort, one by one the little doohickeys took their place and attached to the engine. Success! Score one for us. We high fived and I went inside to wash the motor oil off my hands.

Admittedly, I was happy we’d tackled the impossible. We’d fixed the broken mower. There’s nothing as satisfying as a completed task.

Now if I could only get him to finish mowing the lawn.

Jill Pertler is an award-winning syndicated columnist, playwright and author of “The Do-It-Yourselfer’s Guide to Self-Syndication” You can read more columns at the Slices of Life page on Facebook.

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