I posted this story originally on another social network (Multiply) and thought I’d share it here as well. I think it’s a nice little story…
The Lawnmower Story
It’s been a long while since I posted an interesting blog post…and this one continues that tradition.
A few weeks ago I was mowing my lawn in anticipation of a visit from my brother. I had let my lawn get a bit shaggy and I wanted the place to look a bit more presentable. I got about 85% finished with the front yard when YEERCH…the lawnmower comes to crashing halt. My left front wheel had come off, gotten in my path, and before I knew what happened, I ran over it.
As the sun had gone down and my brother was due to arrive any moment, I simply dug up the wheel and put the mower away to look at it later. This left a “soul patch” on my lawn, a rectangular strip of shaggy grass about 7′ x 3′ right out front. I didn’t even get to the backyard.
A couple of days later I go out to Home Depot (pronounced dee-POT at my house, because we’re weird like that), and find the only wheel they supply for my model of mower. I get the wheel home and try to put it on but find that my bolt isn’t working. Looking at the bolt, I find that the bolt had not worked itself loose (as I had assumed) but had actually broken off. Another trip to Home dee-POT is in order…
I end up not getting to Home Depot for a few days (with work and engagements and all) and find what they call a “Universal” bolt to put my mower wheel back on. Perfect. I take it home and try it out. No-go…it just spins in the bolt hole on the bracket without grabbing the threads. Crapola. So, I think to myself, “Well, maybe it stripped the bolt hole when the bolt broke off.”
A couple of days later, I’m in a local mower supply store and telling them my sad tale, culminating in my need for a new bracket for my make and model of mower. They don’t have one in stock, but can order one. It’ll be shipped and available for pick up in about 5 days. Great.
In the meantime, we seem to be having a hothouse summer. Hot, sunny, then torrential downpours. The grass (aka weeds) seem to grow about 6 inches higher every couple of days. My lawn is becoming quite the set for Apocalypse Now. I receive a notice from the City that I have ten days to mow my lawn or I will receive a citation. Joy.
True to their word, we get a phone call from the mower supply place that my bracket is available for pickup. Hoody hoo! My loverly wife picks it up for me on her way home from work. I take it into the garage to see (a) if I can figure out how to remove the existing bracket and (b) if I can reverse the process to install this one. Finally I get a bright idea: why don’t I try my bolt in this new bracket before I go through all that trouble? Some days I can be taught.
No-go. Bolt just spins, the threads not gripping. Crap. The bracket wasn’t the problem after all, it’s the bolt. So, we head out to the ol’ Home Depot to see if they carry any other bolts for my mower. I get to thinking (it does happen sometimes) that maybe this “universal” bolt is of a standard measure (inches) as opposed to metric (centimeters). My mower is Japanese (Honda) and they may use metric bolts and that could be the disconnect. No joy at HD…they only have those universal bolts. I take a pass through their hardware department to see if I can just luck into a bolt that is long enough and happens to fit my bolt hole, but my heart’s not in it.
The lawn continues to grow and my citation notice starts to turn red on my desk.
Next day I go to another local lawn and garden dealer (closer to my house than the bracket place) to see if they have the bolts needed for this specific machine. I relate my tale of woe and my silly assumption that “universal” actually meant “universal”. The guy laughed (not unkindly) and informed me that there isn’t any such thing as a universal bolt for lawnmower wheels. Each manufacturer makes their own to get you to buy their parts. “Well I know that, NOW…,” I said. He looks it up and finds out that they don’t have any in stock and that the shipping on it actually costs more than the bolt and it would take a few days to get here. I think of that citation starting to burn a hole in my desk and ask if he has any other suggestions. He suggests another supplier (the one I got my bracket from, of course) and I’m on the road.
I get home and call the other dealer. Sure enough, they have the bolt in question in stock. “Hold it for me! I’ll be there in half an hour!” I drive out to the store, pick up my bolt, meet my loverly wife for dinner, and then head home to fix the mower in time to mow the next day…two days before my ten are up.
I get my bolt home and try it on my old bracket. Like a glove. Smiling, I fit it into my new wheel…
There is no longer any paint on my garage walls today due to the storm of expletives that shot forth from my mouth. Not only is my new wheel about half an inch too high (making the mower wobble and roll unevenly), it is apparently a back wheel, not a front. There is a little gear box near the hub that causes the bolt not to fit all the way through to bolt into the bracket.
I measure the good front wheel for height, cussing the entire time. Then, still cussing, I make an emergency trip to…you guessed it…Home Depot (God, I’ve learned to hate that place…). There I find a generic front wheel of the proper height, no gear box. I take that bad boy home and, finally, get that son of biscuit eater bolted into place. It’s a little wobbly, but it’ll do.
The next day I mowed my lawn without further incident nor a costly citation.
What I learned:
- Never buy a “universal” anything…well, I guess except for front mower wheels…
- Home Depot needs to move their check-outs into the actual vicinity of the exits
- I should consider asphalting my lawn
- I should also consider hiring somebody else to handle this crap before I give myself an aneurysm