Snowblower Or Shovel?

I have numerous memories of shoveling snow with my Dad and my brother.  And none whatsoever of using a snowblower.  Unfortunately, most of those shoveling memories don’t qualify for the “warm & fuzzy” categories in the memory bank.

I remember many times sweating in my snowsuit as I heaved snow out of the driveway.  (This, of course, resulted in nice piles of snow along the driveway for digging tunnels, but that’s beside the point.)  My brother and I would often stop and look over what we had just done….and what was still left to do.  And that’s when the heavy feeling-sorry-for-myself sigh would inevitably occur.  Because what was still left to shovel seemed to stretch for at least a mile out in front of us.  When we were done shoveling the drive, though, a new burst of energy would inevitably come out of nowhere now that we were no longer slaves.  You know how that goes….

I stayed with my parents well into my late twenties, saving up money for my own house.  While doing that, my Dad eventually bought himself a pretty decent snowblower.  This was a different house by then, with a nice cement driveway–perfect for using a snowblower, right?  What could possibly go wrong with a nice smooth cement driveway and a new snowblower?

The first real snow that year that was worthy of a snowblower didn’t occur until well into the first week of December.  By then, I had gotten the Christmas lights up around the outside of the house.  That meant that I needed to run an extension cord across the driveway though.  Knowing that this would not be a good mix with a snowblower, I delved into my mind to come up with a solution to this untimely dilemma.  I eventually realized that the cement driveway slabs angled down and away from the garage.  They were on enough of an incline that they produced a gap between the garage floor and the driveway slabs.  This gap was large enough to stuff the extension cord down into, thus effectively keeping it out of harm’s way.  More or less.  Turns out it was less.

The morning of the “big snow” found my Dad–proud new snowblower owner that he was–out in the garage getting it all ready for its first major use.  My Mom and I were in the kitchen doing breakfast prep and such.  I found myself in a particularly thankful mood due to knowing that I didn’t have to be out there shoveling snow.  We heard the snowblower start up.  Dad made his way to the open garage door where the snowblower would get its first taste of that season’s snowfall.

Now, you need to know something about my Dad.  When he would react in frustration to something, it quite often began with “Judas Priest!!” or “Dadburnit!!” or “Come on!!” and was always followed by an exasperated sigh.  Sometimes the situation would warrant one of these often-used expletives on his part being immediately followed by another one of equal or greater intensity.

So, as we listened to the sounds of the snowblower leaving the garage, the engine suddenly sounded strained, like it was trying to move mud instead of snow.  Then there was silence.  That silence was immediately followed by a unique version of the expletives and sighs mentioned above.  Dad came through the door and exclaimed in not too calm a manner that the extension cord that was supposed to be tucked away nice and neat in that cement crevice had now wrapped itself quite securely around the blade column on the snowblower.  As I tried not to laugh out loud, I began the long and tedious process of extracting said extension cord from its new location.  Still an amusing memory, although I don’t think my Dad ever saw the humor in it.

I’ve got another snowblower story for you when we see each other next, so let’s catch up again soon!