"Excuse me sir, did I just kill my lawn mower?"

This was enough to give a lawn-maintenance freak like me heart palpitations. I’m one of the weirdos that is accused of loving yard work, but really I hate yard work; I just love having grass that looks like carpet. If it wasn’t for Jonas, I’d roll around on my pretty green lawn and breathe in it’s yummy green-ness. Mmm hmm, yeah, told you I was weird. But who doesn’t love that grass smell? Pop a Claritin and I’m ready to go.

I was also preoccupied this weekend. The first beautiful, warm and sunny weekend this year (well, if there were others, I was traveling or busy) which signals the ritual of pulling out the lawn furniture, hosing off all the funk and getting my backyard “summer ready”. See?

I know it’s nothing spectacular (and there’s plenty more work to do), but it’s enough to make someone like me, who lived in apartment buildings most of their life, very happy.

So imagine my panic when I realized that I just poured a quart of motor oil into the gas tank of my pretty, shiny red lawn mower. Yeah, you read that right. I know the oil receptacle is the one with a dip stick, speaking of dip sticks. I was simply thinking about something else.

The first thought that crossed my mind (besides a number of choice words which I may or may not have muttered aloud) was to call Home Depot, because I didn’t think that the Toro help line would be open on a weekend (and whatever did I do with the paperwork that came with the mower anyway?). I figured the chance of getting a real-live person in the outdoor appliances section on a sunny Saturday to answer the phone was very slim, but I had to try. My heart was beating like crazy…I needed to talk to someone!

I actually did get someone on the line that immediately reassured me: “no, ma’am, you did not just kill your lawn mower. It will be fine.” He gets extra customer service points for not laughing at me. I would have laughed at me. Well, I did end up draining the gas tank (another skill I never knew I’d need), but crisis averted. And now my yard is almost ready for summer.

(As Jonas sighs at my feet in sheer exasperation over the fact that we are not outside right now playing b-a-l-l)

Comments (13)

  1. Margo says:

    Now, I had to laugh when I read this.  Not because of what you did, but because it brought to mind what a good friend of mine did recently.

    She poured her motor oil into the windshield wiper resevoir of her Ford Taurus.  Enough said, I didn’t stop laughing for about a half hour.

  2. I’m jealous of your chiminea.  You’re making me want to buy a house… but I can’t afford a house in the city, so I can’t buy yet 🙂

  3. HeatherLeigh says:

    Margo, I’m sure her greasy windows were much worse than my lawnmower…yuck!

    Adam-you will eventually. I became a suburbanite to buy a house but I didn’t do it until I was 31 or 32. If I lived in a big city, I’d buy a condo.

  4. Paul K says:

    Woof Woof … says Elsa and Scout.

  5. Russ E says:

    Yard looks good and appears you got the mower started.  Nice to have a sunney day in Seattle to mow it as well!  You will have to tell the rest of the story on how you get oil out of the gas tank in case anyone else does the same.

    I spent the weekend working with motors as well on my 30 year old classice motorcycle.  I had to re-read the manual to check the oil and bought airplane fuel to get it started.  You should have seen the looks from the guys at the airport when I bought gas and told them it was for my motorcycle!

  6. HeatherLeigh says:

    Bet that motorcycle goes fast, then!

    Re: draining the oil, I literally disconnected the tube that goes into the gas tank from the motor and drained the oil out. It was messy.  I refilled with gas and it smoked a bit after I started it (sorry Mother Nature, I goofed) but it got going again.

  7. Margo says:

    Hey russ, the local gas station here in NY sells 100 octane 😉

  8. Tim says:

    Heather, now you know why I just bought an electric lawnmower. Just have to watch out for that darn cord.

  9. Lucy says:

    We are moving to Seattle at the end of June, and your pictures gave me hope that my future will not be all gray clouds 🙂 While in school for the last 2 years, we have lived in a condo with our dog… and we are determined to give her a back yard again when we get out there!

  10. HeatherLeigh says:

    Hey Lucy, you will like it here…Seattle is VERY dog friendly. It’s agreat time ofyear to move here. It will ease you in to the winter months. Spring/Summer here are amazing.

  11. Rex says:

    So I just poured oil into my gas tank after purchasing my new mower from Sears!  Luckily I found your page, otherwise I was afraid to start the mower!!!

  12. HeatherLeigh says:

    Good! Glad it helped!

  13. Jonathan Stockdill says:

    I  made the mistake of attempting to start the mower and ended up taking the carburetor off and shaking the oil out of it.  I had to add few drops of gas directly into the carburetor and start the engine until it finally cleaned all the oil out and started up.