Remember to always check the oil

Remember to always check the oil

Be honest. How many of us married our spouses so we wouldn’t have to do mower or car maintenance? Or other home maintenance in general? Raise your hand. That would be me. Maintenance is not my thing, but it’s going to be from now on.

First, let me go on record: It’s not my fault. I’ve been totally spoiled by not having to do maintenance, but finally it came back to haunt me.

Mowing is great exercise, and unfortunately we’ve been doing a whole lot of it lately.

I always help out with mowing. I just don’t like to do maintenance. So here’s what happened.

My husband, Joe, was getting ready to leave for his volunteer work that fateful morning. Before he left, I asked him, “All I need to do is put gas in the mower and then I can mow, right?”

As long as we have been married, our communication skills aren’t that great. What I really meant was to confirm, “You have put oil in the mower so I don’t have to do it.”

Joe did show me how to put the oil in the mower a few years ago. But then he always does it.

What Joe heard from me was “I’m going to put the gas in the mower after I check the oil first. Because everyone does that and not to do so would be stupid.”

So I was mowing the yard. I had a big bottle of water nearby because of that ugly dehydration/vagus nerve incident a few years ago when I passed out in the lobby of the National Road & Zane Gray Museum on my birthday. I don’t want to repeat that fun ambulance ride to the hospital.

It was an extremely hot day. Although when I mow, I try to wait until shadows start to fall over most of the area I’m going to mow. I at least want to mow an area that is half sun, half shade.

This was what I was doing, and I had just gotten back into a sunny area when the mower just stopped working suddenly. To emphasize its unwillingness to continue on, a puff of white smoke billowed up from the engine. It was not looking good.

With Joe, and probably a lot of people, it’s always better to give the bad news over the phone so he has a chance to “process it” before you have to go face to face. In fact one time I got some good advice from a co-worker about making a problem or damage seem much worse over the phone so when the maintenance person in your marriage sees it, they are kind of relieved it’s not as bad as you said.

Geez, I shouldn’t tell my secrets, but this is what I did one time when I caught the mirror of a vehicle while backing out of the garage. That mirror damage couldn’t have been worse, according to my phone call. And it worked like a charm. “That’s not that bad,” Joe said on getting a look at it.

Not much I could do to sugarcoat or make this much worse. The mower blew, and I’m no longer mowing. I rang up Joe to let him know. I thought it might be good after seeing that white cloud not to try to restart it. Joe got home and confirmed the mower engine was truly dead.

He checked the oil; there wasn’t much there. He blamed me, of course, but we all know that’s not completely true. He already knew I was a maintenance illiterate, so could I be trusted?

Now the mower repair is in process, and it’s going to cost money, so I am definitely going to be checking the oil from now on. Maybe I’ll start trying to learn about other maintenance too. It couldn’t hurt, or I could just quit mowing. Hmmm?

Public Service Announcement: I do most of my writing in my office located in my living room on the recliner. Last night I was busy writing in my office with my feet propped up when I felt something crawling on my neck. I brushed my neck with my hand but found nothing. A short time later I looked down to see a tick crawling across my jeans.

The tick met an untimely death, just like the mower, but please be aware this summer when you are outside. Fixing yourself after a tick-borne illness would surely cost more and be more detrimental to your life than fixing a mower.

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