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Last week I decided it was high time to spend real time with my 2008 Toro lawn mower. It was a splurge back then, as I chose the Personal Pace with electric start. After all, I am a single gal who is not getting any younger…ahem…and mowing commences here in central Virginia by April Fool’s Day. Back in 2000, I reduced my turf size to 3000 SF, and although a small patch, it requires weekly cuts taking about 15 minutes. I-CAN-DO-THIS! It’s about time, Toro moaned!

This year’s mower tune-up began by rolling the machine out of the shed, hooking up the charger and cord to the battery…the oil was drained last fall, and fresh synthetic was added this day.

My little powerhouse with wheels...

my little powerhouse with wheels…

While the mower charged, I decided that the filter and spark plug needed changing too. Simple task, yes? Way overdue grumbled Toro!
Now I am an intuitive gal, and the filter was straight forward; a screwdriver was required to loosen the fastener, which required a trip to the basement for that tool. Easy-peasy. With filter in hand, I drove to the home improvement store where dazzling mowers are proudly on display. I did not have the special tool required to remove the spark plug, yet I thought surely the guys at the store could walk me through this step and sell me the plug I need. Hah!

what is it about spark plugs???

what is it about spark plugs???

Without assistance, I found the filter, yet the spark plug was another story! Once I hunted down a salesperson, we both scoured the shelves of spark plugs. While scratching his head, Mr. Sales Guru headed to the computer for assistance, where hundreds of choices appeared on the screen! Hundreds! Still scratching, the man confessed he could not help me, and without the original plug, I was out of luck. Ahem…
This gal resides in a utopian countryside, and I was not willing to retrace my steps, and add twenty miles to this venture in order to retrieve the plug! Instead, I drove down the by-pass to a great little spot named Charlottesville Power Equipment. Why did I not know about this place years ago??? I drive by it often on the way to the bank, yet this store’s inventory never lured me to it’s entrance…until this day! WOW-ZER!

this place is alive with all kinds of mowers, cutting tools, phew, a man's mecca!

this place is alive with all kinds of mowers, cutting tools, phew, a man’s mecca! They should serve Man-ville Coolers here!

I was the only gal in sight!

I was the only gal in sight!

The day I strolled into this hot spot, I was exasperated, I will admit. Why should a little-old spark plug be so difficult??? Within minutes of entering the store, I had both counter personnel laughing out loud — loudly — as almost falling on the floor laughing. Once composed, the two men decided which plug I should take home. $2.95 please.

Then the topic of fuel came up… “I always use Shell”, I proudly announced. Furrows quickly appeared on both men’s brows… “Ethanol is ruinous to mowers, ma’am” one man offered. “It eats up your engine…mowers are not designed for Ethanol…ma’am…”  OMG! Here we go. My poor little, hardworking Toro! I am slowly killing it! It’s guts surely dissolving before my very eyes! My hard-earned dollars melting away with each electric start! OMG!

After the second set of laughter quieted, these gents handed me a list of five places where I could find NON-ETHANOL fuel within a fifty-mile radius! OK, now field trips are required for filling my little gas can…yippie! I was instructed to pour the old gas into my vehicle, and go find the nearest NON-tank of the good stuff. Another day, another errand added to my full spring schedule.

Once home with my filter and spark plug, my generous, super-human neighbor who-has-every-tool-imaginable, loaned me his super-duper spark plug extracting tool.
I CAN DO THIS! In a flash, filter and plug were installed. Finally, chirped Toro.

By now the battery was charged and all that was left before Toro’s 2014 maiden voyage across the turf, was the trip into the hinterland to find the NON-ETHANOL juice.

not a pretty destination, yet where the good juice can be found...

not a pretty destination, yet where the good juice is found…

By now, you are yawning or laughing. I admit I learned a lot from this exercise — not that I needed to know all this trivia — yet days like this are only the tip of the iceberg where home ownership is concerned. Just like I know more than I ever wanted to know about septic tanks, surface water, and the size of gutters…

Happy Spring chores to you too. ;-)

PS: Today when I fueled the van, I asked the Shell dealer if there is Ethanol in the regular gas (87). So glad I asked, as regular Shell is Ethanol-FREE! So no more trips to the boonies for the other pump. So glad I took the minute to ask! ;-)

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