Something to ponder on as you wander on


Some liars are born that way, some are self-made; but the really great ones are elected to Congress…
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Monday, September 8, 2008

LAWN MOWER FUN.............

LAWNMOWER FUN………………..
Just the other day,, yes it was a Tuesday,, I was caught in a vicious cyclotron of gibber-jabber with a fellow Blogger…I wouldn’t mention Drowsey’s name cuz it would only encourage her?,, to come by again and keep me up till way past my bedtime,, which is 8:30…Lucky for her that day
I had been fortifying myself with my favorite liquid refreshment since arriving home from the toxic wasteland that I call work…She’s good at gibber-jabbering,, mostly about herself and she managed to keep me up until the wee hours of the morning,, 11:30…I’m old and haven’t seen the moonlight side of 11:30,, since 1982,, when I was playing hide the pickle with Helga in the back seat of my Chevy Nova…Well anyway,, we got to discussing why I haven’t posted much,, and I told her it’s because I’ve run out of ideas…She expressed a lot of happiness about that and then
suggested that I write about what happened to me during the week…So in order to get this BlogBuggy moving again I’ll try it…It’s kind of boring around here,, since I’m out of rocket launchers and my neighbors are away…So now’s your chance to escape……..

It all started last Saturday when I was hired by an old man and a young kid to drive them to Alderaan so they could deliver a secret message to some princess or something…
….oops wrong story…

It all started last Saturday when the right front ball joint broke loose on my lawnmower and the steering went kaput…For you that don’t know,, it’s kind of hard to steer when the stabilizer to the front wheel falls off…So I popped it back into place and used lots and lots of the handyman’s best friend as a quick fix,, until I could get around to getting a replacement part…That didn’t work so well,, within 50 feet the duct tape came loose and I drove into a tree…Now I know what your thinking,, that I normally drive that way,, but your wrong…It’s a good thing I wasn’t hurt cuz I was zooming right along at a whopping 2 miles an hour…Well that brought by lawn mowing to a halt until I could get a new part…Luckily for me I found a parts store in the phone book,,
about 2 hrs later I drove into the phone book,, I mean I drove the 35 miles over to the store and picked up the replacement part…I got two…Because this basket case isn’t as stupid as you think…If one is worn and falls off then the other one is about to,, since they have been on the mower for exactly the same time and doing exactly the same job…Didn’t think I knew that did you?...My little excursion into town lasted about four hours,, mainly because I stopped at Bob’s Big Bottle-O-Beer Emporium to have a bowl of stale popcorn…The whole trip cost me about $78.95,, $35.75 for the parts,, gas for the guzzler and a coke with two bags of chips…It didn’t cost me anything at Bob’s…He just put it on my tab…I like Bob…

I spent the next hour putting the replacement parts on…It was a lot of fun,, lying on the dirt surface of the garage’s concrete floor,, dripping with sweat like a boat that had just ran aground…It was 95 degrees with a humidity of 120 %...Yeah I know,, humidity can’t get above 99.9% or it’s rain…I guess you don’t live in cornstalkland like I do,, or you’d know different…
Well since I was already caked with wet dirt and my shirt was nicely stuck to my 6 pack abs with my jeans glued to my bulging thigh muscles,, I decided to take the lawnmower deck off and sharpen the mower blades…It’s something I’ve been putting off for 3 years,, but now that I was already sticky,, smelly,, and sweaty,, I figured I’d just go ahead and do it…I was feeling extra brave that day…

I had already found the owners manual so I was all set…It took me a while to find the correct page of instructions because I had to find the pages that were written in English…Damn manual had pages written in French,, German,, Dutch,, Tagalog,, Chinese,, and American Indian smoke signals…I found the section where it described how to remove the mower deck,, it was on page 287,, luckily for me it had a couple of nice illustrations on what to do…Unluckily for me,, I had no idea what they were taking about…What the hell is a deck support pin?,, and where is it?…Crap there are two of them…Which one of the 3 belts is the PTO belt? and how do you remove it from the pulley system?…And when they are talking about the right side of the mower,, what do they mean?...Am I sitting in the chair and the right side is to my right,, or am I standing in front of the mower and now the right side is on the other side…This is why I put the whole damn thing off for 3 years…

After about an hour of shuffling back and forth while lying on the garage floor,, trying to work under the mower and find where everything was hidden,, I finally achieved success…And I only scraped up 4 knuckles and stripped 2 bolts…The mower deck was now free from the entrapments of the mower…I immediately congratulated myself and took a 3 beer break,, with the required half-pack of cigarettes…
Note to all would be garage mechanics: sweep the garage floor before you begin,, this gets rid of those pesky little rocks that always end up under your knee while your crawling around on the concrete floor,, I found 6 of them…

After successfully taking a break,, I proceeded to pull the mower deck out from under the mower,, you do this from the passenger side…huh?...My mower is a 1 seater…The next task was to turn the mower deck over so I could get at the blades and take them off,, not an easy job when your dealing with a contraption of metal with bolts and pulleys and belts hanging all over the place,, and it’s on wheels,, so it tends to slide around a little (lot) while your trying to lift it up and over…Note to self: Get off the couch more lardbutt…

Success,, the mower deck is now on its back,, looking like a horror film death machine…Even tho it’s not hooked up I know that any minute now the blades are going to start spinning and try to chop me up into little pieces…For you that don’t know,, the blades are held in place by nuts,, big nuts (no not that kind)…Next I went to my workbench and gathered up 17 of the biggest wrenches I could find,, which took about 15 minutes,, because I have a bad habit of never pulling anything back where it belongs,, mainly on those little hooks that are for hanging tools,, and I grabbed a 2 pound hammer and a can of WD-40…

As the sweat poured off my forehead into my eyes,, and was dripping like a leaky faucet from the end of my nose,, I decided to take another break,, no sense in rushing,, after all it has waited 3 years for me to do this,, so another 15 minutes won’t matter…

My break only lasted 10 minutes,, mainly because I ran out of beer,, so it was,, that I decided to drive up to the little gas station in town and pick up some more liquid refreshment and cigarettes…Now as some of you might know,, I live in a small town in the middle of nowhere surrounded by miles and miles of cornstalks,, so going to the store looking like a hog farmer that had just wallowed in the mud with bovine is perfectly OK,, nobody notices,, it’s completely normal,, so normal in fact that when somebody is seen in a clean shirt and jeans,, everybody asks if they’ve been to a funeral…

Now I’m all set,, I have my beer,, my cigarettes,, 2 bags of chips and a pile of assorted wrenches…The thing I don’t like about working with mechanical objects is the fact that you never know what size wrench to use,, is the nut ‘Euro-metric’ or Good ole American size,, I had to test everyone of my wrenches to find out which one was the correct one,, and yes it was the last one in the pile…Fun stuff…With that monumental chore out of the way I was well on my way to success,, after all there were only 3 nuts to remove and there was still 6 hours of daylight left…
I liberally sprayed them with WD-40,, by liberally I mean I used the whole can on 3 nuts…The thing about nuts and bolts is that they tend to magically weld themselves together,, it’s called rust,, and this is especially true when the nut is under a mover getting covered with wet grass clipping and hasn’t been touched in 5 years,, no longer shiny and new but rather looking like something that had been lying on the bottom of the ocean…

Time to take a break and let the WD-40 do its stuff and to read the owners manual again,, just in case it had some hidden information that I might need…It didn’t…I was hoping it would tell me which way to turn the nuts in order to remove them…For those of you who don’t know,, threaded bolts come in 2 different types,, clockwise threads and counter-clockwise treads,, it’s nice to know what type of bolt you have so that you don’t tighten the nut instead of loosing it…On nuts and bolts that are holding spinning objects,, mower blades for instance,, sometimes the treads are counter-clockwise,, which is not normal,, the designers at the factories like to do this to confuse everybody and to have a laugh while having lunch…Well luckily for me I had only two choices,, clockwise or counter-clockwise to remove the nut,, a 50% chance of being right,, I chose counter-clockwise…

Following the instructions in the manual I placed a large hunk of wood between the mower housing and the blade,, this keeps it from spinning while your trying to remove the nut,, I put the proper wrench on the nut,, stepped on the nut to hold the wrench in place and whacked the end of the wrench with the aforementioned 2 lb hammer,, twice,, success,, the nut moved and soon I had all 3 nuts removed and all 3 blades off the mower deck…The Gods must have been feeling sorry for me that day,, usually they just laugh a lot…
Next I took them over to the bench grinder I have and sharpened the blades as best I could,, they were now shiny and sharper than my wit…Since the Sun was starting to slowly descend over the septic tank and the kamikaze mosquitoes were starting to dive bomb me,, I decided to put off re-assembling everything until the next day…After all I was only half way thru,, and I wanted to have lots of time to screw things up…

The next day arrived with a clear blue sky and not an alien UFO in sight…After consuming 14 cups of java juice and putting on the same dirty stinky clothes that I wore yesterday,, which by the way were now stiffer than Captain Ahab’s wooden leg,, I went out into the garage to complete my task,, all while humming a happy tune…I lie…At 9:30 it was already 94 degrees with 110% humidity and there was a chance of rain…Oh,, boy…Within 5 minutes my clothes were stuck to me again using that wonderful human invention,, sweat…The first task before me was to put the masterfully sharpened blades back on the mower deck…I did this by working in reverse order of how I took them off,, blade on bolt,, nut,, large piece of wood,, large wrench,, foot on wrench and smack the wrench with the 2 lb hammer... Success,, 3 blades on,, the mower deck turned over and positioned under the mower,, ready to hook up all the bolts,, nuts,, pins and belts back onto the mower,, and not once did I scrape a knuckle…I rewarded myself by having a beer,, some cigarettes and a half bag of soggy chips…

Now the really fun part begins,, I get to crawl around on the concrete garage floor again…I figured that the best thing to do was to hook up everything in the reverse order that I removed them with…This didn’t work so well,, namely because of something called gravity…The mower deck has to be attached to the mower before you can re-attach the PTO belt,, whatever that’s for,, I would have left the PTO belt off,, but I thought it might have something to do with making the blades spin,, having mower blades spinning while mowing the yard is a good thing,, so I figured it had to go back on…You get to have the fun of re-attaching the mower deck to the mower by lifting the mower deck up high enough so that you can slide what’s called ‘support pins’ into properly aligned pre-drilled holes,, it should be noted at this point that it is humanly impossible to lift a 2 million pound mower deck with one hand and with the other hand try to slide the ‘support pin’ into the pre-drilled holes,, all while lying on your side trying to work under the mower,, which has only about a 3 inch clearance,, can’t be done…So I consulted with the owners manual once again,, maybe they left a clue as to how to do it,, I was of course dreaming,,
I even read the pages written in Tagalog,, no help there…

So I was left to my own resources to figure out how to lift the mower deck and replace the ‘support pins’ at the same time…Not a good idea,, as many of you know who have been here once or twice,, leaving me to my own resources is not a good idea and things quickly get bloody,, normally with lots of Hungarian dwarfs being roasted and toasted,, unfortunately for me,, I didn’t have any dwarfs in the freezer…
After about 20 minutes of spinning the grey matter in my skull and cooling it off with a couple of beers I came up with a elegantly simple solution,, I’d raise the mower deck off the floor using pieces of wood,, elegant and simple… Unfortunately for me,, I didn’t have the correct thickness’ of wood to raise the deck to the proper height so that I could slide the ‘support pins’ into the pre-drilled holes,, the mower deck was still too low…Next came the solution of using a pry bar to lift the mower deck even higher,, I’m good at using a pry bar,, mostly at night,, it was kind of odd using one when the sun was still shinning…

After about 10 minutes of lifting the mower deck with the pry bar and wiggling it just so,, to align the pre-drilled holes up,, I was successful with re-installing the ‘support pins’…A quick note to anyone out there that might be thinking of using this same technique on their mower,, “DO NOT LET THE PRY BAR SLIP”,, otherwise you end up crushing your knuckles between the concrete garage floor and the pry bar,, this happened to me 3 times,, nuff said,, lesson learned,, lets move on…

The next step in this badly planned Normandy invasion was to re-install the PTO belt around 2 pulleys and between 2 guide bars all while lying on your side using only 1 hand…The PTO belt winds around the pulleys that are suspended from the mower in a convoluted serpentine manner…This is not a task that anyone with a quick temper should try…How do you tread a 3/8 inch thick PTO belt around two pulleys and thru a gap only ¼ inch wide?,, the math says it can’t be done,, and it can’t,, unless you do like I did and use the largest screw driver you have to pry the pulleys apart just long enough to push the PTO belt between the pulleys…Remember what it feels like to be sitting in a dentist chair with the dentist and his assistant having their hands in your mouth along with the dental tools,, well that’s kind of what it’s like trying to put the PTO belt back on,, 2 hands,, a large screwdriver,, a PTO belt,, pulleys,, guide bars and misc sharp metal objects all in a space no bigger than a beer can…I was lucky to be able to put the PTO belt back on with only slicing open 1 finger and scraping 3 knuckles…

Time to take a break and have a beer,, both to replace the 8 lbs of fluid I had sweated and for medical reasons,, beer,, as some of you might know contains alcohol and is useful for
sterilizing open wounds,, but doing so is a waste of the brewers art…Well thinking that I had completed my mission impossible of re-attaching the mower deck and would be able to mow the yard,, I did one last check of the mower deck just to make sure I didn’t miss anything…Oops…I forgot to re-install 1 very important object at the front of the mower deck,, it’s called a ‘deck stabilizer bar’,, it holds the mower deck off the ground so that you can mow rather than plow…
It should have been re-attached first…Oops…Not wanting to repeat my earlier exploits of mower repair,, I looked for some way to take the ‘deck stabilizer bar’ off the mower,, put it in the proper slot on the mower deck and then re-attach the whole contraption…Luckily for me the ‘deck stabilizer bar’ is attached to the mower with ‘cotter pins’,, which are kind of like hair pins,, 1 leg is straight and the other is bent,, and it’s treaded thru a hole in a bolt…They are supposed to be easy to remove just with your fingers,, these were not,, they were wedged into such a tight spot under the mower that it was impossible to remove them,, so it was necessary to grab them with a pair of pliers and yank them out,, using an ordinary sized pliers was also impossible…I love how design engineers think about the end user when putting things together,, THEY DON’T…Thus I had to find a pair of needle nose pliers,, needle nosed pliers were specifically developed just because of design engineers…They were invented by Clyde Snoogers from Hoboken,, New Jursey,, in 1908,, it’s the only good thing that has ever come out of Hoboken…
See you learn something new every day when you read my Blog,, now you can impress your friends with your knowledge of where needle nosed pliers came from…

I successfully removed the ‘cotter pins’,, the holding pins and the ‘deck stabilizer bar’ dropped free from the mower…I then put the ‘deck stabilizer bar’ in the proper slots on the mower deck and proceeded to re-install the ‘deck stabilizer bar’ to its previous position…This is where the wood blocks came in handy again,, I wedged them under the mower deck to raise it high enough so that the bolt holes in the ‘deck stabilizer bar’ would be about the same height as the ones under the front of the mower…The holes of course didn’t quite line up,, so with one hand I grabbed the mower deck and pulled it forward and with the other hand I tried to put the holding pin thru the holes,, I did this all while lying on the concrete floor with my head wedged under the front grille and next to the front tire…Fun,, fun…I had to do it twice,, once for the right side and once for the left side…A miracle then occurred,, I got both pins into their proper places and also put the “cotter pins’ back in place…It only took 20 minutes…It should be noted at this time that when you have your head wedged under a piece of equipment,, that you should not raise your head quickly…Please learn from my mistake…

Time for a break,, more beer and some cigarettes…Now I think I’m done…One more look around under the mower and it’s time for a test mow…I move all my tools out of the way,, start the mower and slowly back it out of the garage,, I only ran over two beer cans,, don’t worry I can still get my 5 cents deposit from them…I mow the front yard for about 15 minutes just to see if everything worked and nothing fell off or exploded…The newly sharpened blades cut the grass just right,, much better than before…But I don’t expect them to stay sharp for very long,, because when you mow over fallen tree branches and pink bunnies hiding in the grass it tends to dull the blades…Damn bunnies…So I expect to be repeating the whole operation again in another 5 years or so…I’m looking forward to it…

As I was cleaning up the mess I made in the garage and putting my tools back on my work bench,, I found 2 bolts,, a washer,, a nut that didn’t fit the bolts and a spring…I have no idea where they came from,, but I think they were left over from when I was assembling my rocket launchers in my garage…Pesky neighbors…

The above story illustrates why I don’t do repairs on mechanical objects unless I really, really, really have to…I’d rather shell out the money to watch someone else have the fun of doing it…My lawn mower repair job cost me $78.95,, took 1 ½ days,, I consumed 37 beers,, 6 bags of chips,, smoked 4 packs of cigarettes and I have to take antibiotics for the infected cut on my finger…The good news is that now when I run over pink bunnies hiding in the grass they are chopped up into smaller pieces and I lost 4 lbs from water loss…

In next weeks story from nightmare repairland,, learn how a Sears repair man got away with $68.75 of my money for 2 ½ minutes of non-work on my non-working upright freezer……..

Special editors note:
My devilness that was a loooong story…You know why I write loooong stories?...It’s because it annoys people,, and when I annoy people,, I get a woody….pppplllltttthhhh…

6 comments:

Drowsey Monkey said...

TMI on the woody.

And I still can't believe you have a lawn! And a garage? Just can't fathom it.

Glad you listened to me tho :)

gt281 said...

to Drowsey:
My dungeon abode comes with all the modern conveniences…spiders,, rats,, bats…A fully equipped
basement playroom with a rack,, iron maiden,, vats of boiling oil,, a nice stainless steel pendulum,, easy to dig black dirt in the surrounding secluded woods,, a moat with no bottom,, and of course a 2 hearse garage…It even has outdoor plumbing…My only complaint is that sometimes the front door sticks…

Or maybe I just made the whole thing up...nagggh,, I never lie...
Confusing ain't it?....

Marvin the Martian said...

LOL, your riding lawnmower has a sissy bar, seat belts and airbags, I bet. Funny, my lawnmower broke also (the pin fell out that holds the flipper-door where the bag attaches). It took me about 10 minutes to find a new snap-ring to replace the one that fell off the pin. 38 cents at Home Despot. But if the repair is more than $10 in parts or my time (about 30 seconds of my time), then I'm taking it to the shop. As YOU should have, LOL!

gt281 said...

to Marvin:
No sissy bar,, but it does have an attachment for a beer keg…
Tis the reason you’ll never get the stick shift fixed
on your flyin’ saucer…The only place I know of that you could take it to, to get it fixed is Fred’s Flyin’ Saucer repair shop at Groom Lake…

Bob Johnson said...

Lol, classic, let me tell you nothing good ever comes of PTOs, I'm amazed you tackled this job by yourself, we have two guys at work that did a similar job with one of our tractors.

Faerie♥Kat said...

You tickle me pink! I'm so glad I'm not a bunny. Or a woody!