Sunday, June 22, 2008

An exciting day of mowing

I finally got around to mowing my lawn Friday, so I wouldn't go to jail. I didn't know how my mower was going to work since I hadn't used it in so long. I put some gas in it, primed the engine, and pulled the cord. It started on the first pull, and I was in business.

I finished the front lawn and headed to the backyard. Now if I had been smart, I would have only mowed the front and not worried about the back because that's when my troubles began.

I turned the mower off temporarily to move stuff out of the way. When I tried to start it up again, I couldn't pull the cord. I called Amy's dad to get some pointers. "Try turning the mower sideways and spin the blade," he suggested. "That might loosen things up." I tried it and it worked. But in the process of turning the mower sideways, oil began to run out of several places. I cleaned it up as best I could, but when I started the mower, it smoked liked a Texas barbecue. The smoke temporarily blocked out all sunlight reaching my house. This wasn't a bad thing because it helped to cool things off a bit.

I continued mowing, feeling very manly for having fixed my mower myself and not having to pay a repairman to make a house call. But then the mower stopped on its own for some reason. Ah, no problem, out of gas. I put more gas into the tank.

Now, here's a word of caution for all of you. I do not recommend putting gas into an overheated tank. I poured the gas in, but when I was done pouring, the gas level continued to rise in the tank because it (the gas) was expanding due to the heat. O Lord, please don't let this overflow. It did. But not by much—or so I thought. At the time, the thought went through my mind, I really should wipe up this excess gas. But I convinced myself that it wasn't that much gas, and would probably just evaporate quickly anyway.

So I pulled the cord to start the engine. The good news is that it didn't smoke. The bad news is that I could distinctly see a bright, orange 5-inch-long flame coming from the engine where the gas had spilled. No problem, I reasoned. The gas will burn off in a minute. After a couple of minutes, the flame was still flaming and I was beginning to not be at peace about the whole thing.

Brrrinnggg. "Hi, Dad.....Yeah, I'm fine.....What do you do when your lawnmower is on fire?"

"Well, you get your fire extinguisher."

"Where would that be?"

"Wherever you put it when you bought one." Since I had never bought a fire extinguisher, I wasn't happy. "What do you do if you don't have a fire extinguisher?"
"You get the garden hose."

Now, in my own defense, the thought of getting the hose had crossed my mind, but I had seen too many fire safety videos where they tell you that you shouldn't use water on some types of fires. I was afraid that using the hose on my flaming lawnmower would set off a thermonuclear explosion. By now, however, the little 5-inch flame had matured into a blazing inferno which would make forest fires in California look like candles on a birthday cake.

I quickly hung up the phone, and rushed to get the hose which, as fate would have it, was attached to the opposite side of the house from where the lawnmower was. I turned on the water, grabbed the hose, ran to the other side of the house, and aimed the stream at my lawnmower. As fate would have it again, the water fell about a foot short. (No, I'm not kidding.) I went into slight panic mode and dialed 911. "Welcome to Verizon Wireless. We're sorry; we cannot complete your call as dialed." Click.


Now, I was really panicked. I told my daughter to go get a neighbor, while I prayed a half-prayer. You know that story where Jesus multiplies the fish and bread to feed the 5000 men? Well, He must have miraculously lengthened the garden hose because when I tried it again, the water hit the target. I doused it for several minutes just to be sure the fire was really extinguished.

Now, I know some of you might be thinking I made up this story. Below are a couple of pictures, including a close-up of the charred engine.

All is well now, and I get to buy a new mower. But a thought kept running through my mind as these events were taking place: The Flaming Lawnmowers would be a good name for a rock band.


Anonymous,  June 23, 2008 at 10:51 PM  

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha 0h my!-
Loved it!!!!!!!

Keep this for a book!!!!

Peter & Edna

jnap June 24, 2008 at 6:08 PM  

Well, it's a good thing that Dallas does not have a burning ban on, or else you might have been subject to another ticket!

Really, hope you are safe. That, above all else, is important.

Anonymous,  June 24, 2008 at 7:21 PM  

wow!!! that was amazing...only if you recorded it for funniest videos, then you would make some dough for the new lawnmower...perhaps you should reconstruct the event and record would be a youtube hit.

Brian June 25, 2008 at 3:08 PM  

Hey Rick,

While it was happening, I actually did think about videoing it. Maybe if another adult had been home at the time. I guess my big break into movies will have to wait....

Brian June 25, 2008 at 3:09 PM  


Yeah, I'm glad we're all safe, too. The fire was about 6 feet from my neighbor's wooden fence. It could have been bad.

Brian June 25, 2008 at 3:10 PM  

M, A & T,

Glad it made your day. Hope y'all—that's southern for "you guys"— are doing well.

Jim and Steff,  June 25, 2008 at 10:19 PM  

Sure, do the exciting stuff AFTER you move away!! Seriously, we are SO THANKFUL you're all safe. You may want to consider staying inside for the Fourth of July, though....

By the way, the only reason for the sale price difference in our houses (previous posting)is all the exquisite dog and cat fur we have to offer!! Sure do miss you guys.

Brian Andrews July 3, 2008 at 8:53 PM  

Hey Brian... Loved the story! I found your blog when I Googled "Brian Andrews" (which happens to be my name too!) I go by the nickname Bruno however. What's more interesting is that not only am I originally from Texas (Hempstead, TX - Northwest of Houston) but I'm a believer as well! Currently I live in central Pennsylvania and am 27 years old.

So nice to meet you... I'll check in on your blog from time to time to see how you and yours are faring.


Brian July 5, 2008 at 1:03 PM  

Hey Brian (Bruno),

That was so weird getting your comment in my inbox. I couldn't figure out why I would send an email to myself. At first I thought I was abducted by aliens who used some sort of mind-control technique to steal my identity.

But it's nice to know there's another Christian Brian Andrews out there. I've met a bunch of Brians at my church recently, and my next-door-neighbor's last name is Andrews. But I've never met another Brian Andrews.

Blessings to you!

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