It is important to understand that when I set out to do something that I can picture myself doing it just like a pro and that the outcome will be just as I expect, successful. What I often forget is that most of the time things don’t go as planned. This would be the case when I decided that I would use the power sweeper to clean off the large cement pad attached to our shop. In past years I have used the pressure washer with out much success so this year the power sweeper it was.
The first challenge was to get it down from its winter storage space which is actually quite high. I would almost think that Grant had placed it out of my reach. No problem stacking up so buckets I figured that I was now in reaching distance of it, here’s a quick safety note: buckets are not stable and should not be used in place of say a step-ladder. I found myself channeling my inner acrobat as the buckets started to become a little wobbly. Not a good time to weaken I could reach the sweeper with my finger tips and was able to slide what I thought was the heavy part off the first hook. By now the buckets were really complaining about their improper use and the thought of aborting the mission did cross my mind. Then again I was half way to getting it done and I didn’t really want Grant to come home and see that I had left the thing hanging upside down from the ceiling. Centering myself and doing some deep calming breaths I reached up for the sweeper. Well once it came of the hook I have to say that I wasn’t quite prepared for the weight of the thing. The buckets tipped and the sweeper and I came crashing down. Now I know I was home alone but I have to admit that I did look around to see if anyone had witnessed my near bush with death.
Taking some more of the deep calming breaths, a little faster now because there is something that falling off buckets with a power sweeper heading straight for me had sped up the heart rate a little. Success was mine though and I had gotten it down, I will have to mention to Grant that maybe next year we can store it in a more accessible spot.
This thing is not exactly light and moving it out side was a little hard. All the cats had made a break for it and were now peaking through the shop door, you would think that they were concerned for their safety or something. Going with the safety first rule I put on my safety glasses and dust mask and went back to trying to negotiate it out the small shop door. Of course the thought of opening the large shop door didn’t even cross my mind, well it has now. You know hind-site is 20/20.
Okay time to fire this baby up and get it done. I check to make sure there was fuel and of course there wasn’t much. I placed a call to Grant to double-check the type of fuel it needed, mixed or regular. You see last year I added the wrong fuel to the lawn mow and to this day it still doesn’t run quite right. Best to be safe and put in the right fuel. I asked Grant in my best yes I know what I am doing, don’t worry I have it all under control voice,”yeah so what kind of fuel does the sweeper take?” Slight pause on Grant’s end and then “why?” Me again in my don’t worry I got this voice, “Well I got the sweeper down (not mentioning the buckets or the fact that I almost wore the darn thing) and I’m going to sweep of the cement pad for you.” He knows me enough by now that if I think that I am going to do it, then I am and it is easier on all parties and equipment involved to guide me in the right direction. He finally replied in a I am not so sure this is a good idea voice, “the fuel you need is in a small jerry can. I quickly replied, ( before he could ask anymore questions)”great honey, thanks.”
All fueled up and ready to go I just have to start it, yeah I got this. The sweeper is a pull start so I primed the engine and pulled. Nothing, like not even a maybe going to start. Prime again, I mean it had sat all winter so I need to get the fuel in the lines. Also engage the choke and pull, nope nothing. Fine prime, and pull only this time don’t weaken with one pull but go about it in a crazed jerking motion which would insure success, nope. Okay time to reevaluate the situation. Primed, choked on, kill switch in the right position. I know I need more momentum. This thing has a “safety” feature in that you have to press a lever on the top and the squeeze the lever on the under side so that it will run, doing this and trying to pull the cord was standing in my way of being able to get the thing to run. It was about then that I noticed that the lever on the under side has a catch and if you push it in it will stay in the locked running position. Perfect, now I can just focus on pulling, priming, pulling, pulling, pulling, pulling. Starting to work up a bit of sweat now and the safety glasses are starting to fog, needed to regroup because at this rate I was going to have an arm that look like one of a body builder, picturing Arnold in the Terminator. I rethought about my pulling and thought that timing it with the perfect jerk and pull motion would be the key to getting this thing running. Levers locked in place, prime again for good measure and employing the perfect jerk and pull motion was exactly what I needed, success!
Oh no, big problem because I had lock down the levers the sweeper was running but it was also in gear. This was not something I was prepared for. I was now clinging to the machine as it pushed me backwards, back towards the shop actually. I can not express how strong it was. I mean great I have the thing running but we are not heading in the right direction at all. It now had complete control over the situation and if I hadn’t locked down the levers I could just let go and it would stop. The brush was now on a cleaning mission of it own. I was using the door jamb to brace myself and it was cleaning the base of the kids basketball net. At this point I was just clinging to it and feared that it was about to escape, seriously how am I going to explain to Grant that the sweeper ran away. Focus Andrea focus, if this thing get away there is no way I will ever be allowed to operate anything on the farm, except maybe the manual broom and shovel.
In a moment clarity I remembered the kill switch and activated it, it wasn’t like the thing died fast. It was almost like all the work I had put in to starting it was working against me and it was slowly starting to slow down and slide off the base of the basket ball net. Woo, that was a close one and questioned if I should really try this again, the answer was of course, yes. I mean the engine is warm now and it will fire right up. Taking a moment to flatten my hair back down, as it had taken on a bit of a devilish appearance, and straighten my safety glasses which were kinda sitting sideways on my head, I deactivated the levers swearing to never use that trick again and braced myself for the power of sweeper. This time I did mange to fire it up on the first pull, got myself into position, leaning in to it and squeezed the levers. All the stars aligned and it was working. I managed to get two full passes done before Grant pulled up the drive way. He parked his truck and walk over to see how I was making out, I replied “great just, great no problems at all, totally have this handled.” Well I mean by then I did have it handled and really I didn’t think he really need to know all the other stuff. Well till he read this and then well…….
Have a beautiful Day