The Lawnmower, the Roof, and the Diaper Sprayer: A Horror Story in Three Acts

It seemed like such an innocent day. The sun was shining. I had free food for lunch–fancy food, like red velvet cupcakes. How could a day that included red velvet cupcakes go wrong?

And then I got the phone call. In the middle of a velvety bite, Denisa called me up to let me know she had “bad news about the lawnmower.” The news? It was going to need a whole new engine to be repaired. We’re talking a cool one thousand dollars. To the best guess of the mechanic, it had been running without oil, and it just gave up the ghost. In my defense, I’d had Sears come out to give it a tuneup at the beginning of the season. They’d given it a clean bill of health (and given me a bill, of course.) They even had a warranty that guaranteed it. That warranty? It lasted 90 days. About a month too short to cover what just happened to my lawnmower.

A new lawnmower would be around $1500, if we got another riding one. So right off, I knew that if the choice was between getting it repaired and buying a new one, I’d be buying a new one.

But did I need a lawn tractor? When you get right down to it, I have an awful lot of lawn. Lawn I have to mow twice a week in the height of the lawn-growing season. And I don’t particularly care for mowing my lawn. And we don’t typically use most of it. Denisa and I went outside, looked at the lawn, and came up with a plan. We could stop mowing roughly half of it. Maybe even 2/3rds. And if we did that, then we could get a push mower, which would only be around $250. It would be something TRC and Denisa could use more easily, so we could spread the lawn mowing love around.

That’s the current plan. I don’t know how it’ll actually go in practice. We’ll wait to buy a lawn mower until we see a good deal.

Still, any day that includes a potential $1000 bill is a bad one, by default. But could it get worse? Of course it could.

On the way in from inspecting the lawn and scheming up a plan, I noticed something on the porch. Something black. Upon closer inspection, they were pieces of shingles. Shingles from my aging roof. And so I started looking at the roof to see what had happened. A storm had ripped off some shingles. I don’t know yet if it’s leaking. But it’s headed that direction. So it’s likely the time to get the thing reroofed. There are some home repairs I’m willing to do, and some I’m not. Anything that high up? I’m willing to pay someone else to do it for me.

So we’re looking into that now. I’m hoping it ends up being under two grand. I have no idea.

The day had already reached it’s low point, though. I mean, any day that has bills of maybe $3000 is already pretty wretched. I was feeling down and depressed, and I made a tactical error.

In hindsight, I should have known better. When things aren’t going your way, the thing to do is to grab some ice cream and watch a movie or maybe some Dr. Who. The thing toΒ not do is decide to do some home repairs. Because you do not Tempt Fate.

And yet, I somehow thought that was the perfect thing to counteract the awful news. Denisa bought a diaper sprayer that’s supposed to attach to your toilet water line “in a half hour or less.” Then, when you need to spray off the cloth diapers, you just use the handy diaper sprayer. Fair enough. It had arrived that day, and I wanted to do something useful. I grabbed a wrench or two, the sprayer, and got to work.

Four hours later, I successfully finished. Those four hours had included a rusted tight nut, a trip to the crawl space, a trip to Walmart, stripped threads on one plumbing part, several Google searches to figure out what the heck that plumbing part was called, more Google searches to find out what the other part was called, two kids needing to use the toilet, a dash down to the basement to turn off the water for the whole house . . .

I was not in the best of moods by the end of those four hours.

And so I went to bed.

It’s a new day today. I haven’t had any thousand dollar bills (yet) and the diaper sprayer isn’t leaking (yet). I just keep telling myself little pithy gems of wisdom like “the night’s always darkest before dawn” or “that which does not bankrupt us only pushes us toward debt.” Stuff like that.

Thank goodness I’m taking a four day weekend to recuperate.

Anyone know a place with a good deal on lawn mower?

4 thoughts on “The Lawnmower, the Roof, and the Diaper Sprayer: A Horror Story in Three Acts”

  1. πŸ™‚ That was really rotten day! A push mower is a great thing when you have kids – it’s all we’ve ever had – and they’re all great mowers! Anna is eagerly anticipating her turn to start next year – if you ask my kids they would tell you to buy a ride-on, I still strongly endorse the push – it’s good exercise!! πŸ™‚ (and WAY cheaper!!)

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