I am not mechanically inclined.
I understand how the internal combustion engine works and once correctly diagnosed that the air filter in my sputtering push mower needed cleaning. But compare me to my father and I fall woefully short. He once built a car from scrounged parts. Granted, it was a pale-green, 1963 Ford Falcon, but it purred like a kitten.
I know even less about electricity. I can change the batteries in a flashlight, but my older brother, who’s not an electrician, once rewired the parsonage at our church.
So I wasn’t looking forward to changing the blades on my riding lawn mower. With my previous mower, a friend who felt sorry for me had carried the mower to Clark’s Equipment Rental in Smithfield, where the folks were kind enough to change the blades. This was after I had tried in vain to do so.
The next time the blades on that mower needed changing, I drove the mower along the side of the road to a nearby garage, where a young man was kind enough to do me a favor. I gave him $10 for five minutes’ worth of work.
I have a new mower now, and this past weekend, I decided to change the blades because they were leaving a streak of tall grass when I mowed.
It was a comedy of errors. I did not have a socket big enough for the job, so I went to Lowe’s, where I proceeded to buy the wrong one. On a return trip to Lowe’s, I bought the right socket but still could not get the job done. I tried taking the blades off with the mower deck intact but could not muster enough torque. With my wife’s help, I removed the mower deck, figuring I could get the torque I needed, but I still could not budge the blades.
After a total of four hours of work, my wife I and conceded defeat. The next day, while I was at work, she carried the mower deck to that nearby garage, where a young man was kind enough to remove the old blades and install the new ones. He was also kind enough to say that we had been doomed from the start because the blades had likely been machine installed.
But I felt no better knowing that. The truth is that despite an expensive college education, I am simply ill-equipped to work with things that have moving parts. A handsaw and a piece of wood? Sure. A piece of wood and a skill saw? Not so much.
By the way, I’m writing this now because I need an excuse not to return to the garage and try to reinstall that mower deck. Maybe I’ll buy a new mower instead.