Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Catching the Lawn Tractor on Fire

So my favorite thing to hear after a long bike ride:

"Dear, the lawn tractor won't start..."

My response:

"Did you turn off the gas petcock the last time you used it?"

The response:


My response:

These is no response because that line of reasoning is going no where anyway.

I know the problem - because the petcock wasn't turned off, I have a cylinder full of gasoline 
instead of air. So the piston is hydraulically locked in place due to 2 pints of gasoline sitting 
above it. I pull the spark plug and proceed to turn the engine over - thus ejecting the gasoline 
out the spark plug hole. If Hans Solo had been nearby - this is where he would have said 
'I have a bad feeling about this'. Just as I turn the key in the ignition, I wonder - "is there any 
way that the spark plug wire could short against the engine block and create a spark here? No
way - the odds of that happening are approximately....well...1 in 1. Instantly I have 2 pints of 
gasoline, air-ignited, burning all over that greasy engine covered in 10 years worth of dry grass 
and leaves. I am shirtless, in shorts, wearing flip flops and a baseball cap. Quickly my 
engineering mind goes into action...

Plan A - beat out fire with baseball cap. Right - moving on to B...

Plan B - run to outside hose only to find hose not connected to outside faucet because it is still 
winterized and wrapped inside large black plastic garbage bag secured with The Tie Wrap from Hell. 

Plan C - run into house yelling things like 'FIRE' - 'NEED WATER' - 'HELP'

Plan D - run water out of kitchen facet into spaghetti caldron while watching tractor burn through 
kitchen window - bail on Plan D as it is apparent that the need for water is grossly more pressing 
than the speed of water coming from the faucet.

Plan E - run to bike - grab water bottle - return and shoot pressurized Gatorade/Coke mixture 
directly into spark plug hole. Follow immediately with 2 quarts purified water from Britta filter 
pitcher retrieved from refrigerator.

Total length of incident - 23.7 seconds. Incident report and wife debriefing to follow....