As anyone who knows me, especially Mrs. Poolman, can attest, I am not the most mechanically minded individual in the world. For the most part, the world of electricity, plumbing and anything to do with automobiles is something to be left to someone who actually knows what they are doing. Not that I don’t try. Stories of my blunders are legendary in our family. I am not totally to blame for this, however. Mrs. Poolman is the eternal optimist, encouraging me each step of the way.
“Oh, come on, we don’t need to call a repairman/electrician/plumber/mechanic for that. You OUGHT to be able to do it yourself (if you were any kind of competent adult male with even a drop of testosterone in your body.)”
Hence comes one of our laws of relationships: “Nothing is impossible for the person who doesn’t have to do it.”
This week I faced the problem of a broken lawn mower. I needed to go in search of someone to fix it without costing more than the price of a brand new one.
A note here – I bought my first lawn mower in 1984, an entry-level, gas powered push mower, and ran it until it finally died in 2004. The running joke was that I wanted to make sure I got my money out of it — $125 in 1984. In 2004, I bought pretty much the same thing again, just a different brand.
After calling around, I found someone who would work on my model, but he told me over the phone that I would be better off buying a part and fixing it myself. (Oh no!) The problem is it apparently needs a new starter assembly – the thing that turns around on top of the motor when you pull the starter cord. Mine turns but doesn’t engage and start the engine. He told me:
“If you want, I’ll be happy to work on it for you, but I’m telling you, I’m going to probably have to charge you more than you have in it.”
At least he was honest about it. Since I had the mower in the back of the car anyway, I told him I would bring it by his shop so he could see exactly the problem and sell me the right part.
Do you think it as strange as I do that you can purchase a brand new product like a lawn mower for less than it takes to make a fairly minor repair? I hate the idea of trashing an entire lawn mower just because of one non-functioning part.
I took my lunch hour to drive to his shop, which turned out to be a combination used bookstore and lawn mower sales and repair shop. What is that all about? In any case, my new friend, Dale, turned out to be a gem of a human being. He didn’t have the part, but he directed me to where I could buy it elsewhere, and even wrote down the part number for me. He also described the way to install it. He couldn’t have been more helpful, and I didn’t spend a dime with him. Props to Dale at Acme Mower Repair and Used Book Store! We’ll be back. Mrs. Poolman has been depressed ever since the cheap used bookstore across town closed down a few months ago. She will be very excited.
I spent the next hour driving all over the west side of town, to find the S*ars warehouse and repair/parts center. I eventually found it and walked out $46 lighter and in possession of the starter-thingy replacement.
Come Saturday morning, I’ll take screwdriver in hand and attempt to perform surgery on the mower. Well the worst that can happen is I’ll be out $46 and need to buy a new mower. It should be interesting. Check back and see how it goes.