News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Mike Lunsford

June 29, 2009

The Off Season: After a good run, ‘Mr. Fix-It’ hits the wall

I should have known when I sat down at the kitchen table one night last week to use our old typewriter on an application — just for a name and a few sentences on one of those pre-printed forms — that the whole thing was going to blow up in my face. We seem to be in the same rut right now that all homeowners face from time to time: Everything we own is falling apart. Anyway, I rolled the form into the typewriter and started on my name: M-i-c-h-a-e-l L-u-s-f-o-r-d … no “n”— the “n” wouldn’t work…

I either had to become “Mike Lusford,” and live in “Idiaa” or fill out the form in long-hand.

The curse actually began about four weeks ago when my son drove our old lawn tractor up the driveway after an afternoon of mowing, only to tell me that the creaking relic was running rough and had a problem.

“Let’s take a look,” I said in an uncharacteristically optimistic mood, considering the topic was both mechanical and potentially costly. I guess I should also mention that the mower is 23 years old. From experience, we both suspected carburetor issues. So we cleaned that up a bit, emptied the gas tank, blew out the fuel line, and spruced up the spark plug. A few minutes later, she fired up and ran as smooth as silk.

That’s when I made my big mistake. I washed up and promptly went inside to tell my wife that we had solved the dilemma. “We didn’t spend a penny, and it runs like new,” I said.

I felt good; I felt like a self-sufficient pioneer, a “Mr. Fix-It.” What an idiot…

Joanie promptly said, “That’s great, and I hope you’re as good with dryers; ours won’t heat up.”

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