When To Call A Professional

My human just dragged a first kill through the tall grass onto the sidwalk!! I’m watching from the window!

The pull cord on our Craftsman push-mower (with power assist) is jammed up inside. It no longer allows the operator to use the pull cord to start the engine.

YAY! Nasty LOUD growl-monster is dead! Pookah’s ears are saved! Human will no longer stink as much! This is a good, if graceless, kill!

I took the cover off. Then tried to disconnect the fuel line from the gas reservoir so that I could tilt the reservoir out of the way and get to the bolts holding the main, metal cover on. Once removed, I would have access to the mower’s guts, and be able to take a look at the jam-up.

My human disemboweled the growl-monster! Finally, all those lessons in hunting are taking root! See?!?! Humans CAN learn! Look at all the… blood? grass? brown-gunky-sticky-bits? Human is bent over it, feeding. Can’t see…

First problem: Gas reservoir was about 1/5 full of gasoline. I stopped. Gasoline vaporizes easily. Gasoline fumes are highly flammable. I had lots of metal tools out that could easily generate a spark and cook myself into a trip to the emergency room. Easy enough to solve: Drain out the gasoline. Which leads to…

Ewwww! Even its blood smells bad! Why would a human want to stalk a growl-monster in the first place?

Second problem: I have no work table or work-area that can tolerate spilled gasoline or motor oil. That makes draining the gasoline more dangerous, and increases the likelihood of errors on my part. I am, I admit, a noob with small engines. Which leads to…

Go for the liver! Liver is good for Pookahs and humans!

Third problem: Time. I need the lawn mower repaired and functional relatively soon. Our part of the primordial scrub is quickly resembling a jungle. I think a herd of zebra have moved in to the side-yard. Difficult to tell with the height of the trees taking root in the lawn. I don’t have time to build a work table, figure out how to safely fix the mower, and get back to mowing.

YAY! Growl-monster is de-ead! Growl-monster is de-ad!….

Heh! Cavorting felines in windows! So I’ve contacted my favorite small engine repair guys, and am scheduling a time to drop off the mower (and a few other items) for them to work their professional mechanical resurrection on.

Growl-monster is de- WHAT?!?!

Here’s where many Do-It-Yourself-ers (DIYers) muck it up:

  1. Don’t recognize when they’re in over their heads. (I’m guilty of this on occasion.)
  2. Don’t take basic long- and short-term safety precautions. (Gasoline is dangerous in unsuitable workspaces/containers; the wrong kind of pipes will corrode and rot your ceiling/walls out; putting steel holders in physical contact with copper plumbing pipes, etc.)
  3. Don’t want to admit that they’re not up to the task. (There’s a certain car radiator repair that I will never live down.)
  4. Don’t run a cost/benefit analysis to help make a decision.

But…? But…? You’re NOT going to eat it?!

Cost if I repair the mower: 10-12 hours (build a workbench, figure out which bolts to loosen, hopefully not break anything, do the work, put it back together, and test) spread across 7 days; figure $20 in parts. Even minimum hourly wage would put the cost well over $100.

Cost if my favorite small engine mechanics repair it: Estimated $50, plus 1 hour pick-up and delivery, spread out over an estimated 3-4 days. I’ll be able to make a better estimate once I hear back from them. (I’m still going ahead with building the work bench.)

Hmmm… $100+ and 7 days versus $50 and 4 days. I dunno… My DIYer genes are getting clubbed by my frugal genes.

Pookah? What’s wrong?

Pookah is ignoring you.

Pookah is ignoring you.

I’m not talking to you. You just sit there and watch me ignore you!

9 Responses to “When To Call A Professional”

  1. I had no idea how to approach this before-now I’m locked and loaded.

  2. Your’s is the intelligent approach to this issue.

  3. Luciano says:

    Look for my piece on the proposed gas-tax hladioy in the May 22 Vote Yourself column. Talked to many experts who said that removing the tax could actually increase gas prices.Weak.Thank goodness I have my trusty Trek road bike.

  4. Regaul says:

    Review by K. Schultz for Rating: After viewing the pdrcuot image and seeing the name, I assumed that this pdrcuot was Black and Decker’s take on the Kill A Watt. The Kill A Watt, by P3 International, is a popular device used to measure the energy consumption of a single device. To use it, a device is simply plugged into it, while it is plugged into the wall. The reason I explain this is because, while my initial assumption was incorrect, these pdrcuots both compete and bolster each other in ways I will explain below.The Black and Decker Energy Power Monitor is a very interesting device. It consists of an outdoor unit, which attaches to an electric meter, and an indoor unit, which displays and interprets data collected by the outdoor unit. The reviews here seem to conflict about the ease of installation of the outdoor unit. My experience was extremely positive. All I had to do was extend the sensor by pulling a lever and tighten it onto the the electric meter’s glass dome with a flathead screwdriver. My electric meter is the old fashioned electromechanical (spinning disc) type, which may explain the relatively fast and painless installation. The indoor unit feels surprisingly high quality, despite being all plastic, with very durable buttons and some heft. As a bonus, they have also included an outdoor temperature reading. The display is very nice and large, but the low resolution, which is similar to a digital clock, limits the amount and type of information available.And that is where the caveat lies for me. Given this very powerful method of reading energy use and broadcasting it long-range wirelessly, one might expect a plethora of data and the ability to monitor various aspects of energy usage over the course of weeks, months, and years. Unfortunately, that is not the case, but what is offered is the core components needed to derive that data in a simple and fun format. Two main screens can be toggled between, with one showing the energy usage in terms of cost and the other in terms of electricity used. The Cost View gives the estimated amount of money spent per hour, updating itself every thirty seconds. So, you might unplug an appliance and check if a substantial difference is made in the hourly cost. Monthly cost can also be estimated. There is also a clr button to clear all costs and find the accumulated cost since it was hit. The Power View essentially displays the same information, but in kilowatts rather than dollars. For example, the amount of kilowatts used in a month can be estimated.While these tools are powerful, I found that the lack of a way to track that data over time diminished their value to some degree. I think that a simpler question is how much electricity a single device consumes, which can be used to understand if the device is worth the cost and if upgrading to a more energy efficient version would be sensible. Thankfully, the device can do just that via the tare button. If you use a scale to measure food, you are probably familiar with taring. In that case, you put a bowl on the scale, hit tare, and then put the food in the bowl to weigh it. By taring the bowl, you make sure that the bowl’s weight is not counted, because you only want to weigh the food. In the same way, the Power Monitor’s tare simply subtracts whatever energy is currently being used. So, if I wanted to see how much energy my dryer is using, I would hit tare, then turn it on. This is great, because unlike the Kill A Watt, it doesn’t matter that I am measuring a 240V device. Unfortunately, any deviation in power, such as a refrigerator popping on to cool or a heating unit turning on and off, will lessen the accuracy of the reading because it was not taken into account by the tare.So, the much less expensive Kill A Watt is superior for measurement of power used from a single 120V device. However, the standard version does not have the ability to measure some of the most power hungry devices, such as a dryer, oven, or air conditioner. That is where the Power Monitor shines. Despite my criticisms related to the lack of tracking options, which could have been simply alleviated with a computer interface and basic software, it is a very solid and valuable pdrcuot that I would highly recommend. A best of both worlds device would consist of small Kill A Watt type devices that could be individually identified and communicate with a central hub. In this way, power usage for each member of the family could be quantified and the total energy use from all devices could be compared with the reading at the electric meter to check for energy leaks, which can also be costly and will not be revealed by either device alone. Certainly, this is far too much to ask from a device in this price range, but I look forward to future innovations from the company and applaud this solid step into the arena.

  5. Renaldo Lema says:

    Super-Duper website! I am loving it!! Will arrive back once more – taking you feeds also, Thanks.
    Hello. Wonderful career. I didn’t anticipate this on the Wednesday. This is really a fantastic story. Thanks!

  6. Ann Lawn says:

    I found your blog doing a web search Monday night. Look forward to more from you next time around. (If I can get the Briggs & Statton fixed!)

  7. PookahBoss says:

    Thanks, Dave :)

    Fixed the silly / tag screwup, so everything below the “Read the rest of this…” should be back to normal.

  8. Dave says:

    If you need transport for the mower, call me.

Leave a Reply