Advanced lawnmower repair: unlocked

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Can you see the vulnerability behind his smile?

It’s not the first cut of the season that blows your lawnmower. Even the wheeziest of machines can usually trot out a single lap around the property after a winter in the corner of the garage.

No, it’s generally the second cut where things go FUBAR, and it generally happens quickly.

And so it was that it took me four separate car trips — two to the big-box hardware store and another two to the farmer-supply shop — and six hours to accomplish the single task of cutting my lawn.

I wasn’t going to bore you with the details of the breakdown and diagnosis, but I feel I must mention that the mower coughed out on its first pass, and that an attempt at a restart left the ripcord, in technical terms, absolutely jacked.

So I did what dads do now: I googled it and watched a video.

The repair would have me remove the blower assembly of my lawnmower, drill through three rivets, eventually to be replaced by bolts that came with the kit, and then replace the entire starter assembly.

Anyone can replace a blade or filter, tighten up the wheels or clean the undercarriage. For this I had to take the engine apart — like 10 screws and bolts of different sizes — and replace the entire spring assembly as well as the cord itself!

I know, right?

They didn’t even have the part at Lowe’s — I had to go to the tractor-supply shop out on Summit Avenue, where my lowly home pushmower barely qualified for service.

“You got one of those plastic jobs,” a ballcapped and bearded fellow said sympathetically on my second trip there, as I stood in line with my broken part in my hand.

“You sure you don’t want us to service this?” the woman behind the counter asked as she sold me my starter assembly, a sparkplug and a length of cord she measured off a spool of the stuff.

I assured her I had it under control, mostly because I wanted to look cool in front of the farmers, with whom I had begun to feel a certain kinship. Men of the land and all that. But also because I did. Have it under control, I mean.

I fix engines now. Achievement unlocked.

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