I woke up this morning, stretched luxuriantly, and said to myself, "Ahh, it snowed! Nothing like a morning wrestle with the snowblower to get the blood flowing."
Okay, so that's not how it actually happened.
This morning, my alarm went off, I hit the snooze button, and Mom said I was going to have to run the snowblower before I go. "It's a good thing," I thought to myself, "that I took a bath last night so I don't have to shower this morning."
So I throw my jeans, gloves and boots on and call my dad to figure out just how to get the snowblower running. I follow his precise directions for the careful and proper setting of the many levers and switches (you have to open up the throttle halfway, turn the choke on, pump the primer three or four times, repeat the words "O Yard Machines, swiftly throw my snow" three times, and sprinkle the blood of a young goat on its carburetor) and start yanking on the starter handle. Approximately three pulling-induced aneurysms later, I break down and plug in the electric starter. After five, ten seconds of noise comparable to a trash compactor eating a Hide-a-Bed, the engine roars into life and starts sputtering its greasy carbon footprint out into the formerly pure, unsullied air. I cranked the throttle up and turned the choke off, whereupon it promptly died. Turns out you have to turn the choke off first, and then throttle up. Some more of the goat's blood is, if optional at this point, handy.
This brings me to the next peculiarity of our snowblower. Snowblowers have a little handle on a rod that goes down to a little corkscrew that meshes with slots in the discharge chute, so as you crank on the handle, the chute turns. It's rather ingenious and works wonderfully - until my dad gets a hold of it and somehow bends the rod out a good inch and a half. So if you want the corkscrew to properly mesh with the notches in the discharge chute, you have to bend clear over the machine and hold to the rod with your right hand (heh) while cranking the handle with your left. This I cannot blame on the snowblower itself. Really it's my dad. Really.
It is while I am in the process of cranking the chute around that the sleeve of my brand-new, just-got-it-for-Christmas, $200 parka brushes up against the extremely hot exhaust manifold, and in a split second, before I even notice, there's a three-inch hole melted in it. Freakin' heck. Apparently, I didn't use enough goat's blood to properly appease it.
To sum: Next time, I'm using a shovel. Really I don't mean it, snow blower. Really. I still love you. (mostly)