Friday, February 22, 2008

Skip steps 1 - 11, and start with the comfort food...

EDITOR'S NOTE: We got 8" snow at Wayfarer House on Saturday. Normally I take care of snow removal, but I had taken the girls to Nana’s for several days and wasn't expected to be back in time to clear the snow away in a timely manner. Wifeness, who remained at home to enjoy some alone time, was therefore responsible for clearing it all away.

When I do it with the snowblower, I can do the driveway and parking lot in under two hours (which beats the entire day it will take otherwise), so Wifeness asked for instructions on how to start our archaic, well-used, fitty, cranky, too-small-for-most-of-the-storms-we-get snowblower. She has played with it before, but never had to actually use it to clear out the entire space. Below are the instructions I prepared for her.


Step zero: Drink some caffeine and consume a prophylactic amount of pain reliever. You’re going to need them both.

Step one: Make sure you have good gloves, and wool socks. Your hands will get cold and wet grabbing the cold handle. Your feet will also get cold and wet if the snow is deep at all.

Step two: Bring the gas from the back hall outside and shake it up to mix the oil which, by now, will have settled to the bottom.

Step three: Take out the snowblower and drag it out where you have a fair amount of room to fill the tank and pull the cord.

Step four: Fill the tank, trying not to spill gasoline all over the place (good luck with that).

Step five: Turn the key in the ignition so that it is horizontal. I think it says “start”.

Step six: Prime the motor by putting your thumb over the hole in the big rubber button next to the ignition and slowly pumping it about 5 times.

Step seven: Pull the cord. Actually, it’s not as easy as that. DO NOT GRAB THE CORD AND HAUL ON IT THE FIRST TIME. YOU WILL DISLOCATE YOUR SHOULDER. You need to pull it out as far as it will go, then tug harder on it from that point to see if you can get the cylinder to turn. It will only do it a little bit the first time. Then, let the cord retract and repeat this process the several times that will be necessary to get the cylinder lubricated enough to turn from the instant you pull on the cord (when it is fully retracted). When you think you can really yank on the cord from a fully retracted position, grab it with both hands, put your foot under the nearest wheel to keep the machine from coming with you, and yank. It will take three or four times of full on yanking (and I mean FULL ON), but by then it should start. If it doesn’t, you can keep trying a few more times before the engine floods, but that’s about it. Then, you’ll just have to let it sit. If you actually get it started, proceed to step eight. Otherwise, move straight to step eleven.

Step eight: Blow the snow in the parking area, as best you can, toward the maple tree. I usually start by clearing a line from the house between my car and Buffy’s, then moving the snow on the south side of the drive first. That way, I can move the stuff from the north side that way in two steps if I can’t put it under the hedge.

Step nine: Blow the snow along the driveway in two parts: The part along the house goes under the hedge, as much as possible, and the part that runs from the porch to the road goes across the walkway to the front lawn. You may have to do that in a couple of steps.

Step ten: Deal with the rest, if the snowblower lasts that long and if your arms aren’t too tired. NOTE: If the snowblower should stall because it has choked on snow, you must attempt to start it IMMEDIATELY. Failure to do this will mean that the machine thinks you don’t need it any longer and will simply refuse to start, resulting in an immediate jump to step eleven. Otherwise, proceed to step twelve.

Step eleven: Grab a shovel.

Step twelve: Reward yourself with some comfort food and a warm shower! Good job!

FURTHER EDITOR'S NOTE: Despite several attempts to do so, Wifeness was unable to successfully start the snowblower and was, therefore, required to spend all day shovelling. It was not until we were talking about it afterward that I realized I'd left off a (fairly essential) step:

Step 5b: Pull the choke.


Kizz said...

Oh man. That sucks.

On the one hand DUDE, you didn't give her all the info!

On the other hand if I were her I think I'd be pretty psyched to hear that it wasn't my fault I couldn't do it, I just didn't have all the information.

Laurie B said...

Such a little step, using the choke but so very important. Poor dear, at least it was light and fluffy snow.