Monday, February 12, 2007

Fired Up

6:30 PM: Leave work

7:05 PM: Arrive home (pretty good time!)

7:05 PM - 7:35 PM: Unearth snowblower* in garage.
This is a fairly monumental task. I'm not sure I used the snowblower at all last year, but since the last time it was used it has become a structural element supporting the random collections of cemetery wreaths, plastic flowers, cases of water, broken box fans (anybody need a high-RPM electric motor?), crates of things removed from cars, and other assorted items that fill our garage. But with persistence, rearranging, and only a finite number of disasters, I was able to get it out.

7:35 PM - 7:40 PM: Attempt to start up snowblower.
This is a very old snowblower with a two-cycle engine that uses a mixture of gas and oil (much like some chainsaws and outboard motors) and spews out a smoky exhaust that has a smell that gets into your clothes and skin (and also burns your skin if you add too much oil). I believe it does double duty by both removing snow from your sidewalk and driveway and spewing enough emissions into the air to ensure that eventually snowblowers will become obsolete.

7:40 PM: Add gas. Well, the gas-oil mixture.

7:40:30 PM: Start snowblower.

7:41 PM: Shut down snowblower for fear that neighbors' smoke alarms may begin going off. Seriously, that thing spewed out a remarkably thick cloud, and it never stopped even after I pushed the choke in. (Or did I pull the choke out? I forget.)

So now I'm ready. I don't trust weather forecasts for any precise predictions more than a few hours out, but everyone's saying there's a good chance we'll be getting thwacked with snow sometime tomorrow. I'd rather not have to go through this exercise with eight inches of snow on the ground, or find out at the last moment that I have to use shovels to clear sidewalks on two houses. Now I know my snowblower will start when I need it.


*Pedants will tell you that this is a snowthrower, not a snowblower. But we've always called it a snowblower, and if you say "snowblower" around here people instantly know what you're talking about. So, to the pedants I say, throw me.


whimsicalnbrainpan said...

I've always heard it called snowblower myself.

Jennifer said...

My former asst. news director - who knows almost EVERYTHING about almost EVERYTHING - told me that there is a difference between a snowthrower and a snowblower. I couldn't remember what it was, so I looked it up on the Internets. Basically, it appears that a snowthrower sucks up the snow and throws it to one side. A snowblower will also have some sort of fan to throw the snow farther. So, that's it. I think you could probably say that all snowblowers are snowthrowers, but not all snowthrowers are snowblowers.