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This morning, my excellent next door neighbor and great friend, Mike, helped me load my rider mower onto his trailer, and, together, we took it to the mower dealer, to finally be worked on by professionals.
As you may or may not remember, I spent many, many hours, over the past several weeks, cleaning out all of the leaves, seeds, sand, and other natural debris that had packed itself into the mower’s deck, mechanicals, and wiring, over the past several months since the mower first died.
Plus, I spent lots of time, money, and effort, trying to troubleshooot why the rider mower’s engine wouldn’t start.
Plus, I spent even more time, money, and effort, changing its oil and oif filter, gapping and replacing its spark plug, replacing its ignition switch, and rewiring it to bypass all of its many safety switches.
But, as I documented here, no matter what I tried, I couldn’t get it to start. It would turn over, but it acted like it wasn’t getting either spark or gasoline. Even ether-based starter fluid didn’t make any difference.
So, this morning, before taking it to the dealer, I drained all of its gasoline out of it, and replaced it with new gasoline. Of course, that didn’t make any difference either.
The good news is that now, I KNOW why nothing that I had tried did any good, to fix the mower.
A half-hour after I dropped off at the dealer, the repair guy called me.
The reason that my rider mower wouldn’t start is because the engine had “blown up.”
In other words, something catastrophic had happened to it, somewhere deep inside of its engine — like “throwing a rod” or something similar.
And it would cost more to try to repair it, than the whole rider mower itself is worth.
Plus, there seems to be something wrong with the transmission — a problem that began just this morning, as Mike and I were pushing the mower up onto his trailer.
The good news is that nothing that I could have done would have ever fixed that rider mower, no matter how long I had worked on it.
And now Mike doesn’t have to help me go and bring it home.
The bad news is that the whole expensive rider mower — all cleaned up, and with all of its new parts — is now completely worthless, and is still at the dealer, sitting on their garbage pile.
Update, 8:01 PM: Helped my autistic young friend tape over a cracked window pane, using “Gorilla Tape.” Went to the homeless church and spoke with several people. Helped take care of Mr. Peanut for a few hours. He smiled at me as soon as he saw me approaching him. Took a man to the pharmacy, to get a prescription. Took 2 women to Salvation Army, Walmart, and a few other stores, to look for clothes. Took both of them home. Took a woman to a weekly drug rehab class, and took her home afterward. 58 more miles of safe driving.
Update, Thursday, May 24, 6:42 PM: Drove to the homeeless church. Spoke with several people. Helped take care of Mr. Peanut for several hours. Drove Melissa and Mr. Peanut to several stores, and to do several errands. Dropped off a letter at a client’s home. Visited a comatose woman in the hospital. Took Melissa and Mr. Peanut home to their house. Took sudden evasive action to avoid an accident, when a truck, coming toward me, in an intersection, suddenly turned left across my car’s straight-ahead path. Took a man to a special store that was 30 minutes away, only to learn that it was closed, early, for the holiday weekend. But that’s OK, because we had an excellent talk on the way there and back. Stopped at a few other stores with him. Took him home. Another 58 miles of safe driving. All together, I’ve done over 1050 miles of safe driving since I started driving again, after my stroke.
Update, Friday, May 25, 12:08 PM: Last night, I looked at ten potential used Honda self-propelled mowers on Craigslist. This morning, I studied their online photos and descriptions, which allowed me to narrow my list down to only three mowers: one that was about 5 miles away, one the was about 18 miles away, and one that was about 90 minutes away. The one that was about 18 miles away was my top choice, but it had been posted 6 days ago, so I decided to choose to not be disappointed if I called and learned that it was already sold.
So, this morning, I went to the bank and withdrew enough cash to pay for it. Then, I called the phone number that was in the ad. The guy still had it!He told me that didn’t really want to sell it, but that, after having it about 5 years, he had decided to buy a rider mower for his huge lawn. The rider mower took up most of his outside shed, making it difficult to get the Honda mower in and out of the shed. He had bought it, brand new, from a Honda dealer (not a discount store), so it was built more heavy duty than the discount store models, had always had it serviced by the dealer, and had always run ethanol-free gasoline in it. If I had called him two minutes later, he would have already left, to go to work — his ride had just arrived — but, instead, he chose to stay home and wait for me to arrive.
I drove down to his house, tried it out, and bought it on the spot. With its handle folded down, it actually fit into my Saturn’s back seat!
When I got home, I got it out of the car by myself, started it up, and mowed both the front and back yards with it. I don’t know if you’re familiar with the recent weather in Florida, but we’ve gotten a whole week’s worth of rain lately, so the grass is about 8 inches long, and wet, with several more inches of rain expected this coming weekend. I was very pleased that my new (used) mower cut right through it without any hesitation, stalling, engine-slowing, or any other problem. At one point, I was trying to get a tree branch out of the way, and accidently let go of the handle that keeps the engine running. It immediately started to die. Fortunately, I realized what was happening while it was still barely turning, and quckly pulled that handle down again. The engine quickly started back up. I can tell that it wants to run.
It wasn’t easy, especially compared to sitting on a rider mower, before my stroke, but the rear wheel drive feature really helped, and I toddled along and finished the whole job, for the very first time since my stroke, last December. It took me an hour and 15 minutes. I calculated that, all of that walking back and forth added up to 7 million miles. 😉 By the time I finished, my shirt was dripping wet with sweat. Then I adjusted the mower’s cutting height, so that it will cut the grass even shorter next time, hopefully when the grass isn’t as long or wet.
Update, Friday, 6:23 PM: My new (used) mower went right back into my garage, for protection, as soon as I finished mowing today.
This afternoon, I drove to the homeless church and spoke with several people. Took Melissa and Mr. Peanut to several stores and to their home. Took a man and woman to see, and ultimately rent, an apartment. Took the man home. Took the woman to work. Picked up another woman, and took her with me to a needy family’s home, before taking her home. All together, another 37 safe miles of driving.
Update, Saturday, May 26, 4:36 PM: During the night, I woke up several times, with my shoulders feeling like someone had punched them — undoubtedly due to yesterday’s mowing job. But, this morning, everything felt fine again, so I’m really glad that it got all better overnight. Another great day. I woke up early, drove Melissa and Mr. Peanut to the food bank, where Melissa and I volunteered until after noon. Every time Mr. Peanut rides in my car, he sits in his infant seat, facing backwards in my car’s back seat. Just to let him know I’m there, I always talk to him and reach back, over the top of his little car seat, to gently stroke his forehead. When I did that today, I didn’t say anything. As soon as he felt my fingers on his forehead, he laughed out loud, then immediately grabbed my thumb with one hand and my little finger with the other hand. He knew it was me. I drove the two of them to a store, to the homeless church, to drop off food, across town, to deliver food to a needy family. Took them home. Took a man to Walmart and then back home. Came home myself and took a much-needed nap. Another 41 miles of safe driving.
Update, Saturday, 7:39 PM: Took some food to a needy family. Drove 6 more miles, safely.
Update, Sunday, May 27, 8:35 AM: It doesn’t affect your internet connection, but it sure affects mine — for the past 48 hours, and until Frontier comes and looks at it this coming Tuesday morning — my internet connection is extremely intermittent at best. I get less than 5 seconds of connection time every minute or so — making it almost impossible to do anything (email, post these updates, browse the web, etc.) on the internet. I have to spend all of my time online, looking at the flashing router light, waiting, waiting, waiting, for the exact second when it stops flashing. Frontier tech support thinks that, maybe, all of our recent rain has caused some piece of equipment to fail. I hope they will fix it, ASAP!
Update, Sunday, 2:39 PM: Drove to the homeless church. Took a woman and her baby to a few stores, then home. Went back to the homeless church. Took another woman to pick up her toddler son, then to McDonald’s (for a happy meal), then to her parents’ house, then to Wendy’s restaurant (for her to get something to eat), then to her landlord’s office, then took them both home. A total of 49 more safe-driving miles.
Update, Monday, May 28, 7:32 AM: This morning, my internet connection is so bad that I can’t even check my email before the connection goes away again. I’ll have to try to post this message later on, hopefully when I get more than one second of internet connection at a time.
Update, Monday, May 28, 4:37 PM: Drove to the homeless church. Spoke with several people. Took care of Mr. Peanut for several hours. Took Melissa and Mr. Peanut to deliver baby supplies to a needy family. Took them to a couple of stores, then home. Drove home, myself. A total of 17 more safe miles of driving. I’m able to post this today, possibly because it has been very windy, but surprisingly not-rainy, so far, so my internet connection may have “dried out” somewhat, allowing me to be connected for several seconds at a time, before disconnecting for several minutes at a time. Unfortunately, my router also frustratingly appears to be telling me that I’m connected, even when I’m not.
Update, Tuesday, May 29, 12:11 PM: My internet connection is back!!! George from Verizon tested everything outside, and it was fine, so he went back to his truck and got a brand modem/new router, to see if it worked, instead of my old one. It worked perfectly. My old modem/router must have gone bad from all of the storms we’ve had lately.
Update, Tuesday, 4:41 PM: I drove to the homeless church and spoke with several people. Took care of Mr. Peanut for a long time. Took Melissa and Mr. Peanut to drop off food to a needy family, and to a store. Took them home. Total of 17 more safe miles of driving.
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