No that's not the name of a movie and this is not a movie review. Toro is the brand name of our lawn mower which is almost 20 years old and in need of service. It's been a wonderful mower, but the wheels are wearing out, the filters need changing, the blade needs sharpening or replacement and th eoil has to be changed. The Handyman took the mower in the back of the station wagon to Needhan Garden Center, the official Toro service agent in the area.
How much to do all the work listed about? $160 was the quoted price. $55 for new parts and $105 for labor. My goodness, thought the handyman. I could buy a new mower for $400 and I'd have a new one instead of a 20 year old one. Hmmm... what to do? The old Toro was still running well and cutting grass at the end of last season. Too good to throw out. Looked to bad to be worth anything to sell!
O.K. decided Mr Handyman, let's buy the parts and do the work ourselves. A lawn mower is really a pretty simple piece of machinery. And so the Handyman, changed the new wheelsm replaced the blade, cleaned and changed the filters and changed new oil. So as soon as the weather is warmer, he'll put in fresh gasoline and hopefully... zoom!
Paul's "Broken Toe" !
Right after the Passover Seder dinner and the beginning of Passover, Paul experienced pain and swelling around the big toe on his left foot. Did he injure over the weekend? Did he bang it on the bed during his sleep? Why did it hurt and swell so much?
Tuesday morning, the left foot hurt more and Paul was still walking his normal 2 miles in the morning. That night, the foot hurt more, was pink and swollen, and worrisome.
Wednesday morning, the foot hurt so much that Paul could barely walk on it. Was one of the bones broken? Paul had an appointment in Norwell, but knew he'd have to call the PCP(primary care physician) for some medical help. Over the telephone, the doctor's secretary said it sounded like "gout" to her! Our friends in Norwell, pulled out some medical books and said, "It sounds like gout to us".
Dr. Christina Gelev, Paul's PCP was not in the office, so an emergency appointment was made with Dr. Asmal, who upon examining the foot and asking a few questions declared,"It looks like you have some gout here. We'll make sure by drawing some blood and checking your uric acid levels" Gout? Why Paul has never had gout before. Is this part of getting older. During Passover weekend Paul did consume a lot of red wine and eat a lot of high protein red meats. Once you have gout, the chances of getting it again in the coming year are high. Oh my goodness!
Easter Egg Hunt
Anthony was invited to an Easter Egg Hunt at the Idlewild Farm in Bryn Mahr. The Shields family who owns the farm and lives there, had their children attend the Gladwyne Montessori School year ago and still invited all the children of Montessori to attend this annual event.
At about 10 AM we pulled up to the farm entrance on Williamson Road. No place to park! The street was full of parked cars so we drove on for another block and were able to park about two blocks away. There must have been well over 200 children and their parents there already. A singer with a guitar entertained everyone while the crowd was gathering. Then as part of the crownd control, childrn 9 an above were placed in the largest barn and the doors were lowered. Children 7 and 8 years old, were placed in the garage and these doors were lowered. Children 5 and 6 were placed in another area as were children 3 and 4. Finally, children(like Anthony) who were zero to 2 years old were told to gather underneath the basketball hoop. The youngest children were to go to the egg hunt area first and have about 3 minutes before the 3 to 4 year olds were let loose. then three minutes later, the 5 to 6 year old, etc. As soon as the bigger children were let loose in the hunting fields, it was all over for the toddlers.
Anthony was among the first to enter the egg fields. He got two little stuffed animals(like beanie babies) and a lolly pop and a ring. Later he was given two boxes of M&M's and a small rubber ball. So many great treasures.
It was a beautiful day so we all sat on the grass to enjoy the well kept grounds of the farm. Planes were flying overhead. Suddenly, toy parachutts were released from the planes. Perhaps we could catch one for Atnhony. As the toys got closer to earth, they got bigger and bigger. They were not toys, but real parachuttists! The last one to land was a big Easter Bunny. What fun.
Then we heard music coming over the hill. On the crest of the hill came aother Easter Bunny. He was marching down the hill towards the crowd and he was followed by a small musical band of six. More color and more music and more fun. All the attendees really enjoyed this event. Mrs Shields was visible throughout Easter Egg hunt and clearly had spent a lot of time and money preparing all the things for everyone else to enjoy.
One, Two, Three...
Anthony was going to go to dinner to celebrate his mommy's birthday with friends. David was in Seattle and Grandpa Paul was under the weather with a bad case of the flu. Anthony found his strawberry flavored lolly pop in his grey jacket's pocket.
"Why not leave it in your pocket and you can have it when we get home", said Mommy.
"I want it now.", insisted Anthony.
"You'll ruin your dinner that way, but if you insist, you can have one lick and we'll leave the rest at home in the refrigerator", said Mommy
"One lick, just one lick", implored little Anthony
Grandpa helped Anthony unwrap his lolly pop, while Mommy went upstairs to find Anthony's shoes and socks. When she came down with the socks, she wanted the lolly pop back. Little Anthony ran to sit next to Grandpa for protection with the lolly pop in his mouth. Boy, it sure tasted wonderful. He didn't want to give it up.
"Anthony, you pormised, just one lick. You are going to have to keep your word. I'm going to count to FIVE. If you haven't given me the lolly pop by then, I'm going to take it away from you. I'm going to throw it in the trash and you are going to have to stay home alone.", threatened Mommy very sternly.
Little Anthony just sat there with the lolly pop in his mouth. He wanted to keep it very badly. Was Mommy just bluffing? Hmmmm...
Mommy stood on the other side of the room." One, two..."
Better not take a chance thought Anthony. She can be pretty tough. Anthony jumped out of the chair, pulled the lolly pop out of his mouth and surrended it to his mommy.
Whew, that was a close one.
Clefhangers' Last Concert
As the school year draws to a close, the Clefhangers' Acappella Singers held their last concert of the season at Columbia University Wien Hall. They also invited the Bates College Deans'Men to join them in concert. The large lounge area of Wien that was converted into a concert hall was filled to standing room only and in fact some of the audience was left spilling out into the hallways.
Kevin got to sing a solo,"Come Together" and shared it with the very talented muscial director of the group, Cheyenne. They, alike all of the other members of the Clefhangers clearly loved performing and had lots of talent to showcase.
In another two weeks, Kevin graduates from Columbia's School of Business and then heads to Central America for his Spanish language studies in Costa Rica. He found the friends and singing companions of the Clefhangers really terrific.
Pellets of Lime
Well, the snow is off the ground and the winter debre has been raked. It's time to apply the pellets of lime to the grass again... the soil around our Weston house is very acidic and without lots and lots of lime applications, we grow moss instead of grass.
We've discovered over the years, that 5 or 6 lime applications per year keeps our grass green and seems to keep the moss under control. Lime pellets at Home Depot go for about $3/bag or about $12 an application. It takes about 45 minutes with a good spreader to do the whole lawn.
TOAST restaurant is located on Broadway at about 124th street. This is one of Kevin's favorite sandwich shops around Columbia and they serve more than just sandwiches. On the menu the day we visited were Monk Fish, Fusselli, Hot Salmon sandwiches, veggie burgers, carrot soup, and much, much more.
It cost us about $10 per person for lunch and the decor is early sandwich shop.
If you're in the neighborhood, this is a fine place for a quick an simple lunch. The Weston Food Critic does not recommend that you make a special trip to get to the TOAST.
In early May, Paul had his oil and filter changed at Ira Lexus in Danvers. He was told that his trunk lock couldn't be fixed and that a replacement lock was $350.00!
Now as you readers will recall, a couple of months back, Paul was told that a replacement power antenna was $450.00. Instead, Paul went to an audio shop on Rt. 9 in Framingham and had a new one installed for $140.00.
So once again, he thought, perhaps he could save half by having a locksmith install a new lock. He made an appointment with L&H Locksmiths of Wellesley Hills for the next Wednesday morning. The locksmith who specialized in car locks was in that morning and he went to work on the trunk lock with WD-40 and his pick. Tne minutes later, he had the old trunk lock working like new! The he cleaned the door locks and lubricated them. Total bill? The total bill was $25.00, not $350.00. So far, so good. A trunk lock, like a radio antenna has nothing to do with the running or safety of the automobile, so why not shop and save some money. Ira Lexus still provides premium service, but they are expensive.
Every year, the Handyman repairs the cracks in his driveway, usually using the material latex dispensed from a caulking gun. These crack fillers last only one season and must be repeated every summer.
A new material is out on the market called Pli Stix. This comes in rolls(like telephone wire) and is applied using a propane torch which melts the wire(also a latex material). If too much heat is applied, the asphalt gets burned... bad! If not enough heat is applied, the wire does not melt and it takes hours to go a few inches! So applying just the right amount of heat from the propane torch takes care and a long tedious process. It normally takes the Handyman about an hour to fill an 8 foot crack.
We have a friend in neighboring Wayland who redid his driveway blacktop.. the cost was over $15,000.00. Our driveway is considerably larger and would cost over $20,000. It certainly pays to take care of the driveway and extend its life.