Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Determined Snow “Blower” ...who couldn’t

Here in Green Bay, Wisconsin, we are experiencing an early onset of winter. It has been snowing for days with no end or warm-up in sight. In past years, we’ve had mild Decembers--so mild that overzealous, confused crocuses have been known to push their petals up and sing, “We’re having a Heat Wave.” This year, they’re safely underground, humming nap-inducing lullabies. This year would be a good year to “make like a bear” or crocus, and hibernate.

Up until our older sons went to college, snow removal was part of their contribution to our family. They were sometimes compensated, especially for giant snow-falls. It was a luxury I didn’t fully appreciate until now, when Fred, Krista and I are at nature’s mercy.

For the past 8 years, the boys and Fred have been “fussing” with our 37-year old snow blower; an orange, steel Stegosaurus, that only works when the safety “do-hickies” are deactivated. You also caused rotator cuff damage each time it needed starting. So, this year we treated ourselves to a new snow blower--just in time for Blizzard “A,” which occurred on the way home from the hardware store. The new “snow buddy” shows promise and even has a red and white striped “snow-chomper shield.”

“Aww. It looks a candy cane.” I said, which immediately made Fred lose respect for it. Fred used the new machine with ease. I was all set for Fred to show me how to use it….when Blizzard “B” occurred while he was away.

What happened next doesn’t happen very often—that is, the urge to do “MAN work.” I rose from my chair, put on my winter gear and headed to the garage, intent on figuring out the new snow blower so I could clear the driveway. You don’t need a driver’s license to use it--how hard could it be?

Why do I always say “How hard could it be?” It’s the ultimate task-jinx.

Instead of a simple key start and a “Ready-set-GO” button with a lever to move the “thing-the-snow-comes-out-of” back and forth, as I had envisioned--looking at the controls for this new beast was like looking at the cockpit of a 747. Each side has “holder-on-ers” with 3 different handles. There are 2 “joy” sticks (hear: “anger” sticks.) and numbers up to 9 on the “gear-shifty” thingy-dooie. There are directions on the “dashboard” which made me feel stupid. Can’t they dummy things down for the “mechanically un-inclined?” Somewhere between “complicated snow machinery” and “shovel” would be lovely.

They also don’t make these types of machines “small-hand friendly.” The snow blower handles, when clamped down, require larger/stronger hands. I could have squeezed the handles together for a short time, but certainly not for the duration of a full driveway blow. I’m not just speaking for women here—there are plenty of men out there with smaller hands too.

Although I can hold a curling iron and a phone for hours.

Maybe lawn mower and snow blower manufacturers are trying to tell me something; a not-so-subtle message that I’m not supposed to do “MAN work.” I’m meant to be arm-candy; a domestic “decoration” who should have her snow blown for her. I’m totally fine with that.

Who cares if the snow is cleared anyway, as long as I can get my car out?


Jenie Altruda said...

An impulse to do MAN work? What's that? I've never had one... Let's pray John Deere doesn't read your blog and get inspired to manufacture "woman friendly" machinery!!! In PINK!

bspicknall said...

Okay, once again I have tears in my eyes because I am laughing so hard. Maybe we shouldn't buy a snow blower after all because clearly I won't be able to handle it. You are brilliant as usual, my friend.