Yesterday, the lawn needed to be mowed.
Now, I have a tumultuous relationship with our lawnmower. In fact our backyard neighbor (who is a seemingly ornery teddy bear of a man) likes to tease me about how I have to coax and cajole the machine to get it going. He isn't wrong.
After I finally get it running if for some reason I have to let the engine stop I know the lawnmower will spend the next hour plus pouting and whining and refusing to cooperate so I might as well go do something else for a while before I come back and try to talk it into working again.
We really don't get along well at all.
Still, I need his help as scissor clipping the yard is not on my list of "fun things to do in the summer." So we put up with each other.
But last night my yard trimming "friend" refused to even get going. He decided to be a diva and sit around expecting pampering rather than working. He wanted to lounge in the cool of the evening air without pulling his weight when it comes to yard chores. Lazy sack of metal!
Anyway, he wouldn't start. He refused to help with his job. He was throwing a quiet tantrum. I didn't love it. I might have glared at him and muttered rude things under my breath. I tried and tried and tried to get him going, but no luck. He ignored my every attempt. Spoiled brat.
Since Josh is working nights much of the time he wasn't around to help, so I called my other favorite source of helpfulness -- my father.
He suggested the air filter might be clogged and that might be the reason the mower engine would sputter but not turn all the way over. Truth be told, I never really realized a lawn mower had an air filter (I guess it makes sense being and engine and all, but my mind rarely wanders through the workings of machinery so there you go).
Anyway, I decided if I was going to learn to deal with the temperamental lawn mower engine then so were my little ones so I dragged my two oldest male smalls (my oldest female small was otherwise engaged or she would have been forced into the fun as well) out into the yard and the three of us tore into the cranky engine (ok, there really isn't a lot of tearing just to get to the air filter, but you get the idea).
Sure enough, the air filter was clogged with grass and muck and who knows what else. It was a crusty, matted mess.
The boys cleaned it out and put it all back together and our grouchy little machine started with the first yank of the pull start. Success!!
That's when I had to apologize to my machine for being rude and annoyed with it when it wasn't feeling well. I guess I really wouldn't be willing to work much if I couldn't breathe either so I couldn't keep up the grumpy at my flighty lawn cohort. Sigh.
We did the job together (although neither of us said much to the other as we went) and all was well.
Hooray for problems we can fix and for learning new things and for wonderful fathers who have lived enough of life to know just the right answer when their daughters are in need. It turned out to be a pretty good evening after all.