Do Not Over Fill


     Ever wonder why they write manuals with such simplistic instructions?  I mean really, what kind of moron does it take to over fill the oil?  And what damage could it possibly do?  Hello.  My name is Larraine and I AM that moron.
     OK.  I’m not REALLY a moron, but you have to admit from reading my stories, I DO make the occasional bad decision.  Like the day I decided, after several days of rain, the lawn HAD to be mowed.  When I first came here a year ago, I put in a new battery and spark plug and the riding lawn mower started right up.  I have been using it twice a week since then.  On this particular day, it was 95 degrees outside with HIGH humidity.  I had begun the day separating the Demented Duo after they got into a huge argument.  To escape their craziness, I headed outside into the heat to mow the lawn.
     I check the mower for gas, noticing I hadn’t cleaned it off the last time I used it.  Thinking I have to remember to clean the dirt off when I’m done, I top off the gas tank and climb aboard.  It won’t start!  Sometimes the wires under the seat get shaken loose by the rough terrain.  I quickly check them to be sure there’s a good connection (damn safety features).  Again I climb aboard and again it won’t start.  WTF!  I’m hot an sweaty already, my glasses keep sliding down and I’m in no mood for more problems.
     I decide to check the oil.  Aha, here’s a problem it doesn’t even register.  I traipse to the back of the garage and grab some oil.  Getting frustrated by being bit by mosquitoes and my glasses sliding down.  I take off my glasses (BAD decision) and spray myself with Cutter’s to deter the insects.  Finally, I get a funnel and pour in the oil.  As I’m doing this, a little voice in my head said “Maybe you should put your glasses back on!”  I ignored it.  After dumping half the oil in, it began to overflow.  Awww shit!  Now I got a mess to clean up.
     I treat the oil spill like I do a gas spill, get a clean rag and wipe it off the engine.  I put the oil cap back on and shut the top of the mower down.  I climb aboard and Presto…it starts.  After running for all of 5 seconds the mower starts smoking like it’s on fire.  Thinking it’s just burning off some oil I missed cleaning up, I let it run.  Soon the garage is full of smoke and I have to turn the damn thing off.  Geez, just my luck, NOTHING comes easy here in Green Acre Hell!
     I open the “hood” of the mower to find oil splattered all over the engine, the wiring, and even the headlights.  What a mess!  I dig out the owner’s manual and see that you can pop the drain plug and let some of the oil out.  I quickly grab a pan and turn the drain plug counter clockwise as instructed.  Nothing happens.  Going back to the manual, I discover that I need a special tube and a pump for the drain to work.  OK fine, I find the stuff and finally the oil starts to drain.  One look at the midnight black oil, and I decide I might as well drain it all out and change the filter while I’m at it.
     I leave the oil draining (BAD decision) and run into town to purchase air filter, oil filter and oil.  Upon my return I see the oil has over run the pan and created a huge puddle on the garage floor.  With a heavy sigh, I fetch some kitty litter to soak up the oil.  I quickly change the air filter out, and spend the next hour trying to get the oil filter off.  Finally, in total exasperation I do it the old fashioned way.  I stuck a screw driver entirely through it and unscrewed the stupid thing.  At LAST, everything is changed out, properly filled, and the engine once again cleaned off. 
     I climb aboard, start it up and drive out of the garage, still smoking.  Damn!  I shut the mower off and notice a flame towards the front grill.  Uh oh, I smother it with a rag and see it’s the muffler filled with oil.  In the end I had to remove the front grill and the muffler and thoroughly clean both.  Nothing like wasting half the day to stupidity. 
     FINALLY, I get the mower to stop smoking.  After 3 passes around the side yard I’m confident I at last solved all the problems.  Now to get this lawn mowed before the storms come in again.  All of a sudden I hear a “pop” and the mower stops moving.  NOW WHAT!!  I try shifting gears and revving the engine.  It makes a sound like a mosquito on helium, but still no forward motion.  I put it in neutral, shut off the engine and push this 450 pound bitch back to the garage.  After consulting the manual again, I figure out I have thrown the drive belt.  I have to lift the seat, take out the battery and try to get the belt back on.  Have you ever seen how many belts are on a riding mower?  It looks like 5 of the serpentine belts in your car.
     After three tries, I cut my forearm pretty bad, but got the belt back on.  After putting the battery back in, I took the keys out and threw them out into the unmown yard.  Childish?  You betcha!  This girl was done for the day!  As I’m walking through the house, Harold is about to ask me if I got the yard mowed when mom slapped him in mid-sentence.  Mom, even with dementia KNOWS when I’m walking the edge of my temper.  She wasn’t about to let Harold push me over.
     After tending my wounds and cooling off for 2 hours.  I went back out at 5pm and finished the mowing.  It was totally dark when I got in, all sweaty, dirty and stinky.  It was around 9pm and mom had waited up to heat up dinner for me.  While she was nuking my dinner, she gave me a big hug and kissed my dirty face saying “I know it’s hard, nothing ever seems to go right and it seems like something is always breaking, but I love you and I’m glad you’re here.  Does that make you feel a LITTLE bit better?”  Now how could I say no to that?  I had a rough day, but I went to sleep in peace after my mommy kissed it and made it all better.  Do we ever really outgrow that?

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