Thursday, November 28, 2013

Toro! Toro! Toro! Olé!

I divide the world into two groups.

Those who throw the box, packaging and the owner’s manual away immediately.
Those who keep the box and the owner’s manual for twenty years even after they have thrown away the item they served.

I thought about this recently when I wanted to convert my twelve year old Toro electric blower/vac from a blower to a vac.

When I first bought the Toro I was a timid new homeowner. The idea that I could use a torrent of air to force all the leaves to collect in one manageable space and make my yard look pristine without lifting a rake made my mind dance.  

Yipee! I sang as I drove home with my Toro. There is no song that has Yipee in it but the anticipation of performing this magic act inspired giddy me to make up a song.  Yipee, Yipee, Yipee.  Life is going to be easy.  I know what I’m doing.  Nothing can stop me.

Cleaning up the yard was going to be a snap. Enjoyable and satisfying.  

It was not a snap. It was not that satisfying.  The machine was heavy and clumsy.  The leaves were as unpredictable as a teenage monkey. They went up in the air or accumulated in the wrong place or went where I had just cleaned or stayed stubbornly embedded in the grass.  From time to time the Toro blew dirt and/or dust in my face.  At the end of a long, noisy battle with the heavy Toro I had a raggedy pile of leaves and other leaves that had stayed behind.  I had to rake.

Each year I drag out the Toro and a long extension cord and give it another chance.  Last week I noticed that on the side of the Toro motor it says, blower/vac.  Wow.  It’s a vacuum, too.  Right after that I saw a big canvas bag on a hook in the garage that had Toro printed on it.  Wow.  If I could vac the leaves instead of blowing them, I’d have them trapped in that big bag.  I went in search of the manual so I could convert my Toro.  

This brings me back to the original premise.  I’m in the group that keeps the manual and the box.  I have a manual folder.  It contains manuals for a dremel, a dehumidifier, three remotes, a washing machine, a gas boiler, a mixer but not the Toro.  I called Toro to ask for an owner’s manual but it was the week-end and they were not in the office. 

Then, beckoning me like a lantern in the dark, the Toro Owner’s Manual drew me to the kitchen junk drawer where it rested, upside down, a little stained but still intact. There on page 15 was the heading: Converting your blower to a vac. Home run.

A nasty weather system has kept me indoors for the last two days but the minute the sun is out again and the Thanksgiving sleepiness goes away, I’m going to be converting my blower and vacuuming those leaves right out of my yard. I feel that old excitement welling up in me. What?  You’re worried it might not turn out as I imagine?  Don’t worry.  It’s going to be a snap.


  1. Replies
    1. After reading directions I could not follow, I just raked and raked. My yard is all done for the winter and it only took about a month and 80 trips to the "brush" pile of the recycling center. But thanks for asking.