M. Giant's
Throwing stuff at the internet to see what sticks

Monday, December 28, 2009  

Snow Days

Last week we were warned that the snowstorm that was coming over Christmas would be like nothing we'd seen since October of 1991. I have vivid memories of Halloween 1991. I waited downtown for the bus, watching a few grown-up trick-or-treaters running across Hennepin Avenue as it was getting covered by a blizzard. The next morning, Trash and I were picked up by a snowplow so she could make it in to the hospital where she worked then. But at least then we lived in an apartment and didn't have a sidewalk and a driveway to be responsible for.

I'm not sure where I left you on the status of my snowblower as of the end of last winter. I think my last entry was how happy I was at having duct-taped it back together, and how well it was working. Shortly after that, the duct tape succumbed to the snow, and then the engine wore out. Fortunately that was at the end of the snowy season. This past summer, when demand was low, I brought the snowblower in to see if it was worth fixing. It wasn't. I bought a new one. Well, a new-used one. Brought it home, stored it in Chao's garage during M. Edium's birthday party (and for a couple of months after that), then asked him to drop it by around the time of the first real snow a couple of weeks ago. Fired it up.

My initial experience with it was frustrating. I realized too late that this model doesn't appear to have a mechanism for directing where the snow actually goes. The chute pretty much swivels freely, meaning that the force of the snow causes it to always be pointed straight ahead. Which is fine if you're always pushing the snowblower in the direction where you want the snow to go, but sometimes one wishes to turn. And even that wouldn't be so inconvenient if there were a way to disengage the throwing mechanism without turning off the engine, but I wasn't able to figure that out either.

So I decided to just make the best of it, muddle through while I was out there, and see if I could figure it out later. On the Internet. Inside, where it was warm.

But then, when I was almost done, the engine quit. And I realized something.

Before going to the gas station to fill a two-gallon container with unleaded, I had made sure to find and set out the two little bottles f two-cycle engine oil I'd bought with the snowblower. These two bottles represented the exact amount you need to mix with two gallons of gasoline. These two bottles were, as of this moment, still sitting where I'd left them, their caps on tight.

You know what happens when you forget to mix oil in the gasoline? Your snowblower breaks. I know this, because I had done it before. With my very first snowblower, many years ago. In other words, I have no excuse.

That was the last time my snowblower ran, a couple of weeks ago.

This past week, we got five inches of light, fluffy snow. Then we got four inches of slush that was as heavy and sticky as wet clay. Then we got seven inches of freezing rain. Then we got nine more inches of snow, a foot of sleet, and about a yard and a half of what I guess they call "wintry mix." The only consolation is that I'm not sure my little snowblower would have been able to handle all that even if it had been in working order.

The way I see it, I have three options. One is to get my snowblower fixed. The second is to buy myself a fourth snowblower. The third is to not leave the house for anything until April.

So far the vote is tied. Trash is leaning towards number one. I prefer number two. And the ice caked on our driveway, forcing us to helplessly spin our wheels for a while every time we want to leave, is clearly in favor of number three.

To be honest, it makes a strong case.

posted by M. Giant 9:24 AM 1 comments


The best option is to move to the Pacific Northwest where we get enough snow for the kids to build about two snowmen per year and the few people who own snowblowers are so excited to finally get a chance to use it that they happily clear their own driveway and all the neighbors too.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at December 31, 2009 at 4:17 PM  

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