Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Ode to subverting the suburban paradigm

This fall, Eric confirmed his manhood and purchased a snow blower. For those in more temperate climes, know that large piles of snow are a frequent reality in these parts of the world. So, this fall, Eric had evil thoughts about early snow. And know that wishing for early snow in Canada is as heretical as the Museum of Intelligent Design. You just don't wish for these things...unless you live in Banff or unless you have a timeshare in the Caymans. So, it snowed about a week ago - not even 10 cm. Eric got out the blower to christen the moment, although it was a bit sad, you know like taking the elevator down one floor...or taking the bus for one block...

So Eric left on a jet plane. The kids are great, did lots of chores, but it snowed and snowed and snowed on Sunday. At first it was a warm wet snow. Bad for traffic. Bad for shoveling. Great for snowmen, but man, heavy as hell. I went out and shoveled the driveway that evening. It kept snowing and snowing. Then it cooled, the wind picked up, the snow dried a bit and drifted. In the morning, the van was entombed in snow and ice and the driveway had 3 ft snow drifts.

I went into the garage, and paced around the snow blower. Eric, being the qualified man that he is, also mows the lawn. So, I don't have all that much experience with motorized equipment. I'm limited to most types of equipment that have an on button. And a plug. I identified no less than 5 buttons or knobs, all of which had some strange sort of hieroglyph relating to a mysterious snow blower type function. My uncle called, and I asked him. And he mentioned a three step process, involving priming, choke and gas...(all of which I know in the context of dormitory binge drinking). So, I timidly poked and turned and pulled the rip chord. Not even a clunk. Of course in the back of my mind, I am wondering if I messed up the process, if I would blow myself up, or worse, the snow blower?

So I started to shovel. And about 20 minutes later, and not that much accomplished, I gave up. I saw my neighbour, a good neighbourly lady, whom I saw snow blowing her driveway the evening before. I mean, I am no pansy. Being the feminist I am...I refused to not get that sucker running. So I asked her to help me get mine started. And then the guy across the street noticed the two of us perplexing over this arcane piece of equipment. He started it, using the three step process and off I went.

Except no one told me that it was work. I mean WORK. HARD LABOUR. Kind of like...shoveling, only with the ever present danger of getting your arm or leg mangled if you were not careful. I thought this whole mechanized business made the whole deal easier? I pay homage to the buddha that Eric didnt have to watch me being dragged around the driveway by his precious, most coveted symbol of suburban maleness. I came within 10 cm of hitting the garage door...and later nearly crashed into the van.

Today, it hurts to hold my arms over a keyboard.

If I hear that stupid carol 'Let it snow", I think I may rage.

But, if I need to do it again, I will. Even if I look like I am out of control. Who knows maybe this spring, I will have sinewy arms like Madonna.


Anonymous said...

The snowblower will do all the work by itself, all you do is guide it. The little levers on each handle will disengage the wheel thus allowing it to turn on its own. The big lever on the left engages the auger, and the one on the left engages the drive for the wheels. If you feel you're gonna lose control, just let go of the big levers; everything will stop moving.
I'm sure that you'll become an expert after after the week is over (judging by the weather reports).
I have to say that your blog made me laugh out loud. I was visualizing you and the blower. I'll gladly do this chore for the rest of the winter.
Love, Eric

Hotboy said...

A snow blower? How exotic! It hardly snows these days in chilly Jockoland which is just as well since I refuse to have anything to do with mechanical devices if possible. I suppose a snow blower blows the snow away to elsewhere. Hotboy

Heather said...

So thats what those little levers under the handle did...I was not in the mood to experiment...just wanting to get the job done. And now that the rain has taken most of my efforts away, you won't get to see the crappy job I managed!

Reluctant Housewife said...

Wow. anonymous has left you instructions... I've never tried a snowblower. Luckily Hubby and my boys like to shovel (they're weird like that). I contribute by making hot chocolate when they come back inside.