Saturday, January 22, 2005

Ride el burro!

Through no one's fault and thanks to the fact that Wisconsin got another eight to 10 inches of snow dumped on it, I was up bright and early this morning to learn how to use our snowblower -- which I've dubbed Sonuvabitch, el Burro and Motherfucker.

Aaron T. came over at 7:30 in the morning (a time that I'm not known for coherency) to show me how to operate the beastie. Now this isn't anything new or modern with an electric starter. It's a heavy, hulking beast that Jeff inherited from his older brother.

A little bit about me: I'm like Donna Reed at times -- minus the pearls. I know how to cook, clean, do laundry and other indoors stuff. But when I get outdoors (and I sort of blame my heavy allergies for this), the only thing I really know how to do well is kill weeds and shovel the sidewalk. I've never mowed a lawn and until today, I've never used a snowblower.

El Sonuvabitch apparently is in love with Jeff. I often hear them outside on a snowy day, locked in battle. With Jeff it only takes a bit of coaxing and El Sonuvabitch roars to life, spitting out snow in a nice and efficient fashion.

Apparently El is just a bit finicky. Aaron tried starting it. No go. El Sonuvabitch sputtered then quit. He even used engine starter spray -- kinda like sterorids for engines I think -- and it didn't happen.

I broke out my shovel and began digging in. After he left, I shoveled about a quarter of the driveway and then broke out El Sonuvabitch again under the false assumption that it would like me, since I'm married to Jeff. It was like the five stages of grieving -- but with a snowblower. Believing that I could start it -- when I don't have enough arm muscle to pull the damn rope -- was denial.

There was anger as I attempted to start it, muttering under my breath evil swear words. I would have screamed them, but there were children present and since my reputation as the neighborhood loon is already solidified -- I didn't want to continue that.

Bargaining came after that. "I'll give you premium gas," I cooed to it. No dice.

The depression stage was brief as I just kinda stared enviously at my neighbors whose snowblowers were humming along merrily and as puffs of snow blew around the area.

I accepted my fate after trying to push El Burro (an apt name because it's as stubborn as a mule) back into the garage. The damned thing wouldn't budge, so I just left it there and began shoveling again.

Luckily, one of my neighbors saw me. They're a lovely couple with two kids that have settled into home life much more smoothly than I did. The wife asked me about the situation and I gave a quick explanation as I continued shoveling.

I saw her talking to her husband, but didn't want to say anything. While I'd welcome the help, I didn't want to be the helpless flower. If El Burro didn't work, fuck it. I could shovel. I had all day.

He came over. "Problems?" he asked with a smile. He's used to this. Many times he's seen me battling with the lawnmower to get it started (one attempt until we began paying him to mow our lawn for us). He had out lawnmower purring perfectly in a few minutes.

Apparently our machines also love our neighbor. El Burro started up and roared to life. After that, it was pretty much cake.

Running a snowblower is kinda hard. Once you put it into drive gear, the thing has a mind of its own. It's hard to steer and it's heavy as hell to pull around. But I did it. I snowblowed my driveway for the first time. I almost wanted to snowblow around the block because it was fun to walk around with it. OK -- I took out a corner of our yard, it wasn't smooth and there's some snow in our garage, but it's done dammit.

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