Blowing Snow

Today I am a man suburbanite. We had a few inches of snow overnight, and this morning I got out the snowblower and cleared the driveway. I also did the sidewalk out front, the walkways to all the doors, and the patio in the back yard.

I know that seems like no big deal to many of you, but I’ve never used a snowblower in my life. The last time I lived in a place where I had to deal with the snow was in 1982 when I was living with my parents, and I used a frickin’ snow shovel because I was young and strong and my knees still worked right. Ever since then I’ve been living in dormitories, apartments, and condominiums, where there was always someone responsible for clearing the snow. The most I’d have to do is shovel out the car after it got plowed in.

But I spent a lot of time learning about snow blowers, and finally pulled the trigger on one a few weeks ago, which was delivered on Friday. This morning I checked the oil level, filled the fuel tank, and started it up. It’s got an electric starter, so I could have plugged in an extension cord to start it, but I decided to try the pull-starter, and it worked just fine.

After that, it was surprisingly easy to use. I spent a few minutes practicing the steering on the backyard patio before risking maneuvers it near our cars, but it wasn’t too hard to control. I haven’t had near enough time to internalize the controls, so it got away from me a couple of times, and I reflexively tried to hang on instead of just letting go of the wheel lever.

It was also a bit of a puzzle to figure out which direction to throw the snow. I don’t want to throw it all over my neighbors’ driveways, or into their yard, or onto our cars, or onto a walkway that I just cleared, or into the street, or at a window… It kept me thinking. I only had to re-do a little bit of walkway.

Owning a house is turning out to be more complicated than I expected, but that’s a good thing. I like learning about new stuff. And frankly, when all you know is a shovel, a snow blower is pure awesomeness.

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