Friday, October 21, 2016

Equal Responsibility

We’re in the midst of preparing our final child for college.  He is a senior in high school and my wife has been busily assisting with the FAFSA (financial aid form).  One of the interesting things about FAFSA is that the student is supposed to fill it out, but of course the student is not in a position to know much of the financial information that is required.  Thus, my wife “helps”.  But this year was different... a couple weeks back my wife came downstairs after a FAFSA session and related that she went as far as she could but was stopped when it required “Selective Service Registration”… and she relates with a shiver, “that’s one thing I’m not filling for him.. I just don’t feel comfortable.”

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Quick Tip - Changing Push Lawnmower Oil

I'm one of those stranger birds that really enjoys mowing my lawn using a push mower.  I like the exercise and I also enjoy the sun on my skin.  While I enjoy mowing my lawn, I despise changing the oil and the maintenance of a small engine.  I'm not mechanically inclined and I sure don't like the mess of dealing with used oil.

In the "old" days, push lawnmowers tended to have a plug in the bottom of the engine.  Maybe some still do.  I learned on my new push Toro that there is no plug.  Instead, you're supposed to tip the lawnmower upside down.  Just the thought of doing that made me put off changing the oil even longer.  In the "old" days, I'd remove the plug and try to align the hole over something to catch the oil.  This didn't always work out so well; I often missed and a little oil would hit the ground or side of the container.

Well no plug, no hole so I had to move forward with dealing with the new way.  Initially, the thought occurred to me that if I couldn't line up the hole the old way, there was little chance for me to flip AND align.  But then, ahhhh... the simple solution, a bread bag and a rubber band.  I simply carefully used the rubber band to carefully attach the bag to the spout for the oil, then flip and my oil ran into the bag.  When drained I was able to easily pull the bag from the lawnmower and pour the old oil into a container, then discard the bread bag into the garbage.  All in all, it turned out much easier with less mess than the old way.  One note of caution - you probably should change the oil when the temperature is 50 degrees or higher so that the oil will flow satisfactorily.  You will see some suggestions to run the motor a little to warm up the oil.  If you do run the motor before the oil change make sure that the motor isn't so hot that it will melt your bag or you'll have a mess.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Goodbye TripAdvisor; hello Yelp

Since the launch of my blog, I have always encouraged readers to share travel experiences through their preferred vehicle.  TripAdvisor was one of the first and it was the vehicle that I have used for many of the past years.  Given many years of devotion to TripAdvisor I was reluctant to change but a recent experience has pushed me over the edge and I have made the decision to move on to Yelp.