Saturday, March 17, 2007

Sn:(w Thr:(wer Sadness

So much for my plea - it snowed like H E double hockey sticks and to add insult to injury, it hailed on top of it to create a thick, sloppy, heavy, cold substance that has the power to injure, and seriously mame a snow thrower.

In fact, there goes my chance at offering a season off for my snow thrower as yesterday, after changing the oil and filling it will fresh, $2.53 per gallon gasoline, I fired her up and she treated my nicely as at about 2:30 pm yesterday, the snow was vast, yet powdery and soft and moved with ease.

Having listened to the weather forecast, knowing that additional, and more evil forms of moisture were eminent, I should have probably made another round of clearing around sevenish, before darkness would have made it too difficult and far less appealing, if that is at all possible. However, I procrastinated and at 7:30 this morning I began what became as unfun an experience as one could expect.

I opened up both garage doors and fired up the snow thrower. Mind you again it was 7:30 am on a Saturday nonetheless, I'm betting that the neighbors weren't so happy with me. After a brief warming of the engine, I clicked the snow thrower into second gear and press the levers for the traction drive and the auger drive and slowly, a path started to form as the murky slush was struggling to fly through the release shoot. I knew this was going to be a project and a project it was as it took nearly an hour to just clear out the space in front of the garages. Though my snow thrower is rather large at 9 horsepower and a 29 inch clearing path, the weight of the slush made it so that I could only effectively work through about a 12 inch cut each time to compensate for the excess as I moved forward, this made for slow going and I could feel the strain being put on the traction drive system, it just wasn't planning on working this hard either (especially after the previous days powdery tease).

I took a water break before proceeding with the long driveway. I managed to work my way down by having to step back after every few feet cleared so as to build momentum to aid in the clearing process of the heavy snowy substance which got progressively heavier as it was hailing throughout the morning. Also, as the town plows the street, it pushes everything toward the curbs and the residual mess goes flying onto the driveways of homes, such as my own, creating a near impossibility to break through. As I neared the end of the driveway on my first pass down I noticed that the traction drive cable had snapped; which means that the only way to move the snow thrower was manually. Here's why that isn't an option: the snow thrower weighs over 200 pounds and there is super heavy slush resisting it. On top of that, I need my right hand to control the auger besides, at this point I was on the brink of exhaustion. Of course because I am stubborn, I did try pulling the traction able and it was not only unsuccessful, but probably whimsical to passers by.

Finally, I shut down the ailing snow thrower and dragged back into the garage. And then, like an insane person, proceeded to walk up and down the partial path I had created and feel sadness for my broken snow thrower, the idea of what it will cost to repair, and thoughts of what I need to do to clear my driveway enough so that a car could pass through. As I stood at near the street, I watched countless plows passing by and fretted that I would need to call one of them and be at their mercy.

After careful consideration in my insane state, I went into the house to warm up for a bit and think. I decided to call a local plow service whose sign I pass daily. I get the guy on the phone and tell him that my snow thrower died halfway through my mission (as if he cares) and that I would need him to finish the job. He told me that he would have someone over within the hour and I immediately panicked because I only had about thirty bucks in cash with me and several years ago, before I purchased my once trusty snow thrower, I was quoted sixty dollars for the privilege of someone driving up and down my driveway repeatedly until all the snow had been cleverly plowed to an out of the way place on my property. I tried getting the guys attention on the phone asking if he would accept a check or a credit card but he had apparently hung up on me immediately after he said that someone would be there within the hour.

I then waited on my couch in a state of panic praying that he would be okay with a form of payment other than cash, or at least be willing to wait for me to take a trip to the ATM after he cleared passage for my car to pass. Pleasantly, after he was done, I greeted him at the front of the driveway and he asked if I was happy with the 90 seconds of driving he had done. He then asked for a mere twenty dollars for his labors and offered me a business card. Of course, once the town decided to send out the mini-plows to clear a path on the sidewalk, which will totally fuck up the front of mine, and everyone else's driveway but I am praying that won't be until Tuesday and hopeful that between now and then, there will be a good amount of melt. Of course I now need to arrange for a repair of the snow thrower - always a cause for anxiety as a home owner.

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