It Ain’t Carnegie Hall

Dearest Rachel –

The weather can be particularly perverse at times. Just yesterday, I’d heard that the New Year’s event to be held up at camp starting today had to be canceled, due to a lack of snow and the lake not having frozen over. This morning, I wake up to a blanket of snow – probably three inches worth – down here; I can only imagine how much might have fallen two hours’ drive north of here. Granted, that wouldn’t likely solve the problem of the lake, as that takes more time to freeze over safely (although there might be some folks who are into the whole Polar Bear Plunge thing on New Year’s; maybe the camp should consider catering to that a bit), but still, it might just have worked out, with just a little more faith.

Of course, that’s of no particular interest to me, as I have no desire to involve myself in those sort of winter activities. Even on that day, it had been mostly your idea to go up there and enjoy everything; we had no thought of how things could go so terribly wrong, but the two of us (Daniel and I) were more there at your behest than from our own interest. What does concern me is that we’ll need to refund those that made reservations, after nearly two months of building it all up. It’s a pity, and it’s made all the more annoying by last night’s snowfall, as if to mock everyone involved in the decision to cancel it all.

It still looks pretty, though.

That view of the backyard, covered in snow as it is, it was a reminder this morning that I needed to take out the snow thrower, and put it in the garage so that I would have it ready for when the big snows come this winter. And while on the subject, I figured I might as well take the moment to practice using it, even if it is only a couple of inches that I need to get rid of this morning. It’s the only way to get to Carnegie Hall, as the old joke goes. So I trudged out over the drifts in the backyard, opened up the shed (man, I still can’t get over the fact that you only got to appreciate it for a month after we had it installed as an anniversary present for ourselves), and hauled the monster out.

I had forgotten how big it was; probably twice as large as our lawnmower (which would mean about four times the volume and mass, based on the square-cube rule), and a real challenge to steer when the motor is off. I eventually managed to shove it around the house and into the garage, but it took more effort than I’d expected it to. I filled the gas tank, and then went looking for the key (which was coated in rubbery plastic and unrecognizable as a key without guidance from the instruction manual), the choke (which I had to switch on) and the primer button (I had pressed the electrical start button several times without result before I realized it wasn’t what I was looking for) before yanking the manual starter cord.

I shouldn’t have been so surprised when the thing roared to life almost instantly, but I was, and could barely guide it around my car (which I put in front of the garage last night in order to allow the chimney sweeps to pull into our driveway; yes, I’ve had that cleaned out now, too. You may not be able to build any more fires, but Daniel may very well carry on your tradition, and it seemed like a good idea to get it in the best shape it could be. That, and the sales folks on the phone a couple months back were fairly persuasive). And once I did get it out from behind the car, I made the mistake of clearing a lane right by the edge of the driveway, rather than as far out as possible, and work my way in. Live and learn, I suppose.

Eventually, I got the hang of pushing it around (although holding down the auger got to wear down on the muscles of my hand; I imagine I’ve got a couple of months to get used to that), and I ran it down the length of sidewalk from Mrs. M’s to the B’s on either side of our house. From there, I worked my way through the turnaround of our driveway (having figured out to start from the furthest lane and work inward). I’ll tell you, it was cool to see the snow arching away like a rainbow onto our yard. It was a little less so as the powdery residue blew its way back into my face, regardless of which direction I had the auger pointed.

But in the course of about 20 minutes, I had the entire place cleared out, without ever even bothering to put my jacket on (again, I had originally planned to just move the snowthrower from the shed to the garage, only to decide to actually use it as a form of practice).

It’s no masterpiece, but it gets the job done.

So now in theory, I should be ready for the next big snowfall, which I am told is scheduled for this Saturday, New Year’s Day. It’s going to be quite the trip getting out to the restaurant, but at least I’ll be able to get out of our driveway in fairly short order.

Nevertheless, honey, wish us luck. I’m pretty sure we’re all going to need it.

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I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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