Just call him the lawnmower man

“If the women don’t find you handsome, they should at least find you handy.” Red Green (actor Steve Smith) “The Red Green Show,” Canadian television comedy from 1991-2006.

The corollary to this bit of Canadian comedy is that if you are neither handsome nor handy, you’ve got to be entertaining or at least somewhat amusing.

When it comes to the latter, I may squeeze by on a good day. One thing I’ve never been is particularly handy. And no one will ever confuse me with George Clooney.

Of course, when a not-so-handy guy is working all of the time, it’s easier to put stuff off and ignore his ineptitude. Mark this down as yet another reason why I need to find a job — and PDQ.

But this morning I decided I could not put off mowing the yard for another day. Of course, because of what I didn’t do last fall, when I was working, things wouldn’t be so simple at chez Steinbach as simply pulling the mower out of the garage, tugging on the rope to start it up and then mowing the grass.

For one thing, the blade was so dull by the final time I cut the grass last fall that turning goats loose to graze would have left the yard looking better. I figured I should get the blade sharpened.

After rounding up some tools, I took the blade off. It was a little banged up. Seeing its sad shape filled me with what a former colleague — a guy who is very handy and incredibly organized¬† — used to call a case of While We’re At.

In this case, I figured if I was going to get the blade sharpened, I should also change the oil, replace the spark plug, drain the gas tank and fill it with fresh gas while I was at it. This is about the time I discovered I needed a new socket wrench and extension to get the oil plug out. And I also needed a deeper socket to get the spark plug out.

Off I headed to the hardware store with a list: New mower blade, lawnmower oil, spark plug and some new tools.

Whatever I would have paid someone to tune up the mower I spent at the hardware store. But a friend who is pretty handy had offered to sharpen my mower blade so I stopped by his place with the old one and the new one. He sharpened both of them on two conditions: I buy him a couple of beers for his payment and I not tell anyone else he sharpens mower blades.

Then I came home and managed to put everything back together. The mower even worked when I fired it up. And the yard has been mowed.

I’d take a moment to relish in this unexpected bout of handiness. But it will come with a downside. Now I’m going to feel compelled to tackle the downstairs bathroom, where I guess the toilet and the floor both need to be replaced. Or maybe I’ll clean the garage.

But those are both long stories. For today, I’m going to celebrate with a bike ride and then maybe a beer or two for me and my blade-sharpening friend.

Quote of the day: I never knew whether to pity or congratulate a man on coming to his senses. — William Makepeace Thackeray, English novelist (1811-63)

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