Priming, pulling and priorities

Thursday, May 18, 2006

With only 24 hours in a day, it's always been hard for me to prioritize the things that need to be done.

There's work, of course -- eight hours of the day gone to paying bills and having a little play money for whatever little project I might come up with. Then there's sleep. An additional seven to eight hours that prevents me from doing the fun things in life that I really want to do, like mowing the lawn, cleaning the house, laying the flooring on the deck, shopping for a new water heater …

But I have discovered there are a lot of things I can do on my own since Brad left a month ago to begin working in Wyoming for the summer -- I can pour the concrete foundations for our deck, I can finally start the mower without any assistance (not that I do it that often), I've managed to lay down 25 bags of mulch with only temporary damage to my body and Wednesday night, I figured out how to drain my hot water heater and run water through it to try to get rid of all the calcification that's built up since we bought it in 1999.

What I haven't figured out is how to start the weed eater.

After getting home from work Tuesday evening, I took a look at the weeds growing around the mailbox and the little bushes I'd planted three years ago. The bushes weren't doing bad -- the weeds were doing a lot better.

Before he left from his weekend furlough, I had asked Brad to start the weed eater to make sure it would run for me; he did.

After changing out of my work clothes I grabbed the weed eater and pumped the primer. Nothing. I pumped it again, this time completely opening the choke. Nothing. I gave the primer a couple of more pushes and pulled again, it gave a sputtering attempt at starting. I felt the excitement starting to build. I was going to get to eat weeds. I readjusted the choke and pulled again. Nothing. I laid it gently back on the steps and walked into the house and called Brad.

"How do you start the darned weed eater," I asked him.

"Is the on switch turned on?" he asked.

"No," I retorted. "I've spent the last 15 minutes trying to start it on off. I wanted to see if I could coax it into a little magic trick," I retorted. I wasn't as angry with Brad as I was with the weed eater.

"Did you prime it?" he asked,"

"Yes, I primed it," I responded.

"How many times," he queried.

"Two or three," I told him.

"Well, there's your problem," he instructed. "You have to push the primer 14 times, hold up on the throttle, and give the string a good hard pull."

Fourteen times, mind you -- not 13, not 15. But 14. I was a little incredulous, but decided to give his technique a try. I pumped the primer 14 times. I squeezed the throttle, and I pulled the cord. The machine instantly roared into action.

I was able to use it for about five minutes before I ran out of string and had to shut it off to replace it.

I spent the next half hour replacing the cord and trying to start the machine again, following his instructions to the letter. I finally threw it to the ground in disgust and went and pulled the weeds by hand.

By the time I was done, I wanted nothing more than to take a shower. I walked into the bathroom, prepared for a hot shower to wash the dirt off. I was greeted with ice cold tap water.

And that's when I learned how to drain a water heater and rinse the calcium build up out of the machine. But that's a story for another day. Right now, I have to contact my local hardware dealer and find out how to replace the heating elements that came with the piece of equipment, so that hopefully tomorrow, that nice hot shower will be as hot as I remember it from four days ago.

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