Rupert Howell column

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Neighborly advice worth more than Internet wisdom

I saved a lot of money last weekend. Not that I have the lot of money that I saved — but I didn’t spend a lot of money that I thought I was going to have to.

One needs to appreciate his neighbors. There aren’t that many of us on the south end of Pittman Road. Most are kin and to tell the truth, the others probably are too, as long as our families have been close.

My 8-year-old lawn mower has been having electrical problems. I was about ready to buy a new one.

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Mowing grass or bushhogging pasture are relaxing chores — as long as it is done when I want to instead of when I have to.

And there’s a lot of grass to cut. An entire pasture was fenced for a yard around our house years ago when there was little to do and plenty of time to do it.

When the mower breaks down panic sets in. My theory is that if you spend more time working on a tool, such as a lawnmower, as you do using it, it needs to be replaced.

Seriously. It’s like the jungle is growing in taking over our house and it is my job to beat it back and that can’t happen if I’m under the lawn mower more than on top of it.

 Knowing the problem had to be a switch or clutch, a $200 clutch was ordered after  the switch was checked with voltage tester as recommended on an Internet Web site.

It took most of two weekends of crawling on my back under the mower getting the old clutch off and ordering a new one and putting it and other stuff back on.

But when cranked, the mower did the same thing as before.

Now on the third weekend of lawn mower repair, I spotted two neighbors outside and drove over to get their opinions.

“You two know everything,” I said, “so tell me what’s wrong with this mower.”

Sure enough, they agreed it was the switch. They also agreed that I should bypass the factory installed switch and install a common toggle switch.

To make a longer story shorter, they fixed it with $9 worth of switches and fuses and I was mowing before the afternoon was over.

“That’s what neighbors are for,” neighbor number two’s wife said.

I knew that. I just haven’t stopped long enough lately to be much of a neighbor. If I had I would have saved another $200 on the unnecessary clutch I purchased a week earlier.