Crap Day, Big Weekend


Finally, some sunny weather! So I put on my old work clothes and psyched myself up for some heavy duty yard work that has been banking up, and that I have been putting off. I thought that I might do a bit of chainsaw work in the early morning while I waited for the grass to dry out, before moving onto the ride-on mower. Two big, twelve year old Acacias had died in the recent drought and needed cutting down into firewood with the remaining left over rubbish to be burned off. I checked over the chainsaw, tightened a couple of bolts, mixed the fuel to the correct ratio of two stroke oil, did a cursory chain sharpening with the special file and I was ready to go. I did a full tank’s worth of cutting and decided to leave the rest for later so that I could start on the lawns before the predicted afternoon storm. I was feeling good and highly efficient at this point.

But it was all naive, false security and downhill from there.

The ride-on mower would not start. It made promising turning-over noises like it wanted to, but just could not manage that last, tiny effort needed to kick-over. It sounded just like a car does when the starter motor fails; as if the bushes in the starter mechanism are getting stuck or something. So, I called the local mower and chainsaw repairman who came over  early the next morning.

“You need a new battery.”

“What? Is that all? But it sounded like it does when a starter motor breaks down in a car.”

“Ah, yes that’s because mowers only have one or two cylinders and the pressure is different. Sixty-five dollars please.”

So I paid $65 for someone to tell me my ride-on mower had a flat battery!

I was really pissed off that I simply did not think of recharging the battery and seeing if that was the problem. But it sounded so much like the starter motor! What is that about how you should never ASSUME? It makes an ASS of U and ME.

Anyway, in a dark mood, I showered, got dressed and drove the fifteen minutes into town to a place where I knew they had batteries at the best prices, the scrap metal yard where they would also take my old battery for recycling. I took the old battery with me to show them exactly what I wanted.

“G’day, I need one of these.”

The woman at the front office took my old battery, went around the back and came out with a new battery. It cost $80. Good, that’s over $10 cheaper for the same thing at the other place that sells them in town; I had checked. The dark mood was beginning to lift.

I drove home, took the battery up to the shed and placed it onto the battery platform of the ride-on mower. It did not fit. It was too tall for the protective plastic cover to go back on. Wrong battery! I had, for a brief moment, noticed that the new battery was slightly different to the old one, but I assumed the woman behind the counter knew what she was doing. ASSUME again. I bloody showed the bloody woman the bloody old battery. Bloody ***!

That dark mood was making a comeback.

So, I drove back to the metal recyclers’.

“Oh, it was a bit hard to work out exactly what you wanted. Sorry you had to make another trip. Here’s your new battery.”

“That’s all right, thanks.”

I could not help thinking to myself: I did bring in the old battery to make it easy for you. But it was of no use being rude to the woman. At least she was apologetic.

I was still a little cranky.

On the way home I stopped off at the shopping mall to pick up some bread and milk. I happened to walk into a shop that had a special offer on a popular brand of colour, inkjet printer. It was marked down from $54 to only $35 and I needed a new printer, so I bought one. I became excited! A new printer would be fun. Just like a new toy; and a bargain to boot! The dark mood was lifting quickly.

I drove home and decided to install the printer before I continued with the mower and lawn mowing. All went well with the printer installation at first. I eventually got down to the final installation instruction when a message appeared on the computer screen; “make sure the printer is connected to your computer”. I looked in the packaging box for the lead. No lead! Who sells a printer without a lead? You have to be kidding! Why wouldn’t they write on the box that the lead was not included? Bloody ***!

So, I drove back into town and bought a printer-to-computer lead at the computer services shop for $7.95. I mentally added that to the price of the computer. I muttered to myself:

“not to mention the bloody time and the bloody fuel.”

 My mood was deteriorating again.

I drove home and connected the printer. After some playing around, I got the printer to work and printed out my recently purchased airline ticket to Malta. Perfect! Lovely printing quality! Happy days!

It was time to get back to work with the ride-on.

I took the new battery up to the shed and placed it onto the battery platform. It fitted perfectly. Yes! I picked up the red lead to connect it to the positive terminal but I could not connect the lead. The new battery had solid terminals whereas I needed a battery with terminals that had holes, allowing bolts through with which to secure the leads. Wrong battery! Again! Bloody ***

I thought about leaving it until the next day to try again at the recyclers’, but no, I was determined to sort this out once and for all and get on with the lawn mowing first thing the next morning.

I drove back into town and to the scrap metal yard. By this time it was 4:25 in the afternoon. The big metal gates to the yard were shut. The scrap yard was closed for the day. There is a gigantic sign at the entrance to the yard that reads “Open Six Days a Week” in huge, red, capital letters. It is a great pity that they omitted to include on that prominent sign the fact that they closed at the ridiculously early time of 4pm on Fridays.


I went back to the scrap yard the next day and this time looked for the correct battery, myself. I took the battery home, installed it and it worked. Finally! At long last!

The weekend was very productive. The nice sunny weather allowed me to do another hour and a half of chain-sawing on Saturday followed by six hours on the ride-on. Sunday included another three and half hours on the chainsaw.

I finished everything I had wanted to do; done and dusted. I was a little sore all over and my back was hurting, but I felt a strong sense of accomplishment.

A very satisfying weekend to be sure! And not a bad mood or “bloody” to be had for two days.



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