All this snow reminds me of the one and only time I used a snowblower. Fortunately, no one died.
That particular winter, Doug, the Official Snowblower, was going out of town, but snow doesn't take a hiatus so he showed me how to start it. He demonstrated the basics of maneuvering it around, cautioned me to be careful, and left. Doug always clears the whole driveway and the berm, and often takes care of the neighbor's berm while he's at it.
Two days after he left, the driveway was hidden under several inches of snow and I needed to get out. I could risk backing the Nissan out fast and hoping for enough momentum to get over the berm and into the street, but that tactic could also find me perched sideways. Or, I could crank up the snowblower and get 'er done! Bravado aside, could I really do this on my own?
The snowblower squatted in the corner like a Sumo wrestler, wedged between our little boat perched on its trailer and the garden tools along the wall. I had to extract the thing from the garage before I could go anywhere.
Snowblowers are really heavy. I horsed it around so it was just outside the garage and facing the street. I fired it up. The machine began crawling forward on its own before I could figure out what to pull or push next. A plume of fresh snow started flying in a perfect arc over my head right into the boat.
I laughed out loud. I had forgotten the chute piece. As the chute points, so goes the snow, but what did Doug say about how you point it? Fortunately, I had closed the door on the other side of the garage. I wouldn't make the same mistake twice and bury the Nissan.
Meanwhile, we (Sumo and I) chugged towards the street spewing snow and I could see concrete appearing behind us. I discovered a helpful diagram showing where to reposition the chute. We began to add inches of fresh snow to the other side of the driveway. As I slowly approached the street, I began to worry about the pending U-turn. With no cars in sight, I just kept going out into the street and made a wide turn back to the trench I had just created. Lining up next to it, I turned the chute toward the front yard and we crawled forward towards the garage door. The flawless layer of snow in the front yard began to look mottled as the chute did its work.
Going downhill added unexpected momentum and we began to speed up a little. As the garage door loomed closer, I had a vision of Wiley Coyote's silhouette outlined in the wall in one of those old RoadRunner cartoons. That would be me if I didn't figure out how to slow down. At the last minute, I remembered how to put it in neutral and turn it.
I chugged up and down the driveway a few more times and, voila, it was clean as a whistle. Sumo went back in the corner snuggled under the bow of the boat, and I went out on my errand feeling very satisfied with myself.
Later that afternoon, our son stopped by after work to see if he could help. I proudly showed him my handiwork. His earnest response: "Great, but why didn't you do the other side?" Venus and Mars. Right brain. Left brain. The job got done and I did it.