Sunday, June 29, 2008

Sign of Requiem

Saturday was a day of escape. A friend called, inviting me to tour some of the Newport mansions. The tickets were paid for. I jumped at the opportunity to get away. I've been feeling a bit of guilt lately, as I've spent barely any real quality time with family or friends as of late. I've taken every opportunity I could lately to get out somewhere. I felt even more guilty now, but guess realistically this trip was some of that quality time I desired. It was with a friend, but I know I was using it to divert me mentally from my spouting out Friday . At least it was only verbal, and perhaps more than deserved, but my loss of self control left me even more agitated. Losing control in the wrong place is seldom a good thing. We managed to see four of the mansions, and catch two quick meals. I enjoyed Newport, and was absorbing quite a bit from what the tours provided, learning a bit about some of that Gilded Age culture.

Sunday began with a lack of direction. Even though the day progressed into a hot and humid one, I eventually decided to mow the lawn. It gave me an opportunity to try and focus on something other than my previous week's distress, get some exercise, and now a necessary chore is out of the way. The lawn looks good again. The mower is sounding better with every tweak. I'm planning to go even further soon and trim some of the brush that are developing into small trees.

While mowing I came across a plastic ball. It's been there for a long time. Smokey used to play with it. It bears many cuts and breaks from previous mowings, to the point that it no longer resembles its original appearance. I never could get myself to dispose of it. Today I did.

Later, in the evening, I was taking care of some paperwork and by coincidence came across an old folder filled with Smokey's old medical records. Vaccinations, history, and collar tags (which I kept, although Smokey never wore a collar) were all neatly in order. I decided it was time for these papers to go to.

I feel as if there was some kind of significance with letting go of these things today. I would not have expected to see them both in the same day, but there they were. It's as if there was some need to bring it to a close now. My restlessness seeks some kind of closure too.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Smoke Rings

It felt like I have had this lawn mower forever. Reality is, I've had it since 2006. No repairs or maintenance ever. It's always run like a champ until recently. It still starts up and runs, but seems to lack the power that it normally has. It seems to run slower and quieter. I think it's not cutting quite as well, due to the slower engine speed, and I seems to push it along much slower to compensate. I guess its time to tinker and see if I can fix things.

Step 1: Check air filter. It's really just this sponge kind of thing. It was covered with greasiness on one side. I cleaned it up.
Result: I imagine that the engine is running smoother, but notice no difference in the power.

Step 2: Check the oil. When you open it up, and find that's there is no oil, that must be a sign that it needs some. I pour in the amount that should fill the tank with 10w40.
Result: The mower does seem to be picking up a bit more power gradually. Hopefully as the oil spreads along it will continue to gain this will solve my problem.

Step 3: Change spark plug. The original plug was a RJ19LM, and I got a J19LM instead. I was told the only difference is the later does not have a resistor to tone down radio interference (something I wouldn't need)
Result: No noticeable difference

So that's where I'm at right now, except for that when I poured in the oil, I put in the amount of oil I'd need to put into the empty tank, not thinking that although the dip stick showed no oil, that they would be some below the level of the dip stick. So I've overfilled. Dark smoke is sometimes just billowing out of the mower (is this the expression burning oil?) and sometimes the mower expels some rather interesting smoke rings.

I'm going to try running the mower a bit and see if the new oil circulating helps my power problem. If not I'm not sure what I'm doing next. It could need some kind of tweaking, but the manual suggest not to make adjustments to the motor yourself.

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