You know that guy that can fix mechanical things? The car breaks down, and he grabs his toolbox and reconoiters your carburetor on the side of the road? Yeah, well I’m not that guy.
We have lots of snow. The storm London just got is what we refer to “A Tuesday” around here. That’s not to make light of the situation across the giant pond — it’s just to say that I should be used to it. And have the tools to take care of it.
First of all I should give you a little backstory. I have a toolbox. I really do. It’s big and red and plastic. It contains screwdrivers, wire crimping tools, needle nosed pliers, and a couple really sweet cable testers. And one 3 inch crescent wrench. No, not one that has jaws capable of turning a 3 inch bolt — but rather the handle is 3 inches long. I think it’s made from plastic coated in tin foil.
Anyway, back to the snow. We have lots. So much in fact that our postal delivery lady no longer will attempt to get close enough to our mailbox to deliver our mail. Now, I do have a snowblower, but it is so old that using it require skills that I don’t really have. Here’s a rundown of me snowblowing our driveway:
1. Spend 45 minutes and a can of starting fluid trying to get the frozen machine running. (I also have no garage, so it sits in the snow all the time)
2. Sniff the ether all over my gloves, and forget half of step 3
3. Take the first swipe down the driveway, which hasn’t been shoveled, plowed, or snowblown in many weeks of storms.
4. At the end of the driveway, I’ve seen 12 purple elephants, spoken to a friendly dresser, and the snowblower has warmed up enough to stall.
5. I adjust the throttle and choke, never the same way twice, until it runs again.
6. Take another swipe.
7. Again, snowblower stalls. By this time all the ice has melted from the engine, so even though the choke no longer helps, I can get a screwdriver near the carburetor and adjust the screws. Which screws? I have no idea, whatever turns without falling out.
8. Again, the engine roars to life. The throttle an choke are now working enough that I can milk a few swipes now. Then, the engine gets hot.
9. The engine stalls in the middle of the road while I was turning around. The transmission is coated in ice now, and the lever to disengage the drive won’t work. Thankfully, not much traffic goes down my road, so I get out my screwdriver right there in the road.
10. I loosen a screw too much and it falls out. Gas leaks on my gloves (the ether has long since worn off), and I scramble in the road looking for and its little spring. Apparently at this point the snowblower just had to pee, because when I put the screw back in, I get another couple swipes out of the engine.
11. About the time I think 2 or 3 more swipes will really make the driveway look sharp, the engine quits for good. At the road. And I need to push it by hand up to the house again.
Now, I left out lots of goodies regarding half broken recoil handles, a leaky gas tank, and a finicky gear shifter (it’s a self propelled walk behind deal). The sad thing is, I’m fairly certain many guys could stop by, sniff the exhaust and tell me my canooter valve is loose. One quick turn with an actual wrench and life would be good.
But I’m not that guy. 🙂