I am shoveling snow off the driveway. Yes, right now. No, I’m not holding an actual shovel in my hands right now. Okay, I’m not in the driveway right now, either. I’m in my basement lair, drinking coffee, but my belief is unshakable that, if I’m only taking a fifteen-minute break from shoveling snow, I can still say I’m shoveling snow, sort of like you can be in the break room at the office and still say you’re at work.

I’m not even sure why I’m shoveling snow today. I’m certainly not going to drive the car anywhere. Neither one of us has any inclination to do so and won’t, unless the other one manages to cut off a digit in a freak kitchen/home improvement power tool accident. Now that I think about it, that wouldn’t be so very freakish, considering our motor skills, coupled with our love of powered gadgets that come with lots of sharpened attachments.

We will be traveling to the Isthmus Beer & Cheese Fest later this afternoon (phone pictures of drunken B & O will be available in near-real time this year thanks to Twitter and a new cell phone!), but that will be by taxi. I guess I’m shoveling snow off the driveway so that he can pull up to the front door and we can walk to the taxi without getting our shoes full of snow. That makes sense. I’ll get right back to that as soon as I finish this cup of coffee.

Almost everybody else on the block has a snow blower now. The air was abuzz with the sound of two-stroke engines as I stepped out of the garage, shovel in hand, and I counted no less that four people clearing their driveways of snow using great honking big steel-body snow blowers. I, on the other hand, still do it the old-fashioned way, and not because I’m a snob about it. I love snow blowers. They are the ultimate power tool: Driven by a gasoline engine, one makes more noise than all my other power tools combined. A snow blower has not one, but two sets of whirling blades that will snatch the fingers off an unwitting operator before he can say “Oh, shit!” A snow blower is really a snow cannon: It shoots a salvo of snow in an arc broad enough to get it off your driveway, and it’s self-loading! You don’t even have to push it! All you have to do is follow along behind it and steer a straight course!

The reason I don’t have one of these awesome toys is just this: I’m a bit of a snob. I won’t buy just any snow blower. If I’m going to do this, I’ll do it right: It’ll have to be all-metal construction, self-propelled, powered by a four-stroke engine big enough to handle a massive dump of snow, and it’ll have to start itself. My dream snow blower costs thousands of dollars, and that’s the other problem: I’m cheap. Some day my aching back will trump my tendency to pinch pennies, but today is not that day.

This has been so much fun, but My Darling B has gone out to shovel snow now, which means I’ve got to get out there, too, or I’ll look like a total piker. To entertain you while I’m freezing my ass off and ruining my back, here’s a link to a story about a guy who built his own snow blower using a V-8 engine he had laying around his garage. Enjoy, and stay warm!

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