A Winter Love Affair
It’s between The Washington Post and my snow blower.
I have been at this rodeo before and knowing better just didn’t stop “it” from happening again. Searching the snow covered driveway today by walking with a ten-foot pole like some beach bum with a metal detector I scratch along the pavement for a telltale bump of the morning newspaper.
The snow was 5 inches deep and about 7 at the foot of the driveway. You see in my part of the county we get plowed – early and often. I counted four passes by the Department of Transportation contractor up and down our main street by 10 a.m. this morning.
Note to Phil: add a $25,000 premium when you sell this house – due to the magnificent job the MCDOT does to keep this school bus route passable. This is an attractive addition to the house’s selling points. PS: I have no pity for those Northern Virginia readers who are still looking for their first plow – because that’s what you get for living in Fairfax – streets plowed by the state and not by the county. You people are paying for it – one way or the other – I would demand more from both. But I digress.
Since my morning meeting with Merlyn was canceled due to this weather and having not found the Post newspaper I decided to crank up the Craftsman 24” snow blower and plow.
Three passes and I was already kick-up a winter white dust storm from the discharge chute. My face and glasses were snow covered. My black FrogTogs were keeping me warm and dry, and the Pearl Izumi cycling lobster gloves – man you can beat that with a stick – all fingers were toasty.
Just as I approached the MCDOT provided snow bank at the street level, fate, or cupid, or karma kicked in. It didn’t matter whom or what is at fault here these two were just meant to be stuck together.
Monday morning Post and Craftsman – the pair perfectly reunited – once again after all these years. I realized my conundrum when at the moment of their pure ecstasy – the motor stopped and the chute discharge went limp.
I knew they met – and avoiding any swearing – my senses quickly went back in time to remember how I sweated my butt off trying to separate these two.
In today’s world the Post rural delivery newspaper comes in a double covered Trojan strength plastic sheath – colored Orange. The Red Craftsman is a brute of a machine. Its sweeping auger manages the cylinder opening by forcing the snow up and out the discharge unit – and there is where the two met in their lovers lock.
Entering the house, Denise, ever-wise to my predicaments – questioned from the second floor as to why the snow blower stopped – I trudged into the house in full snow regalia, boots and all, down to my man cave to retrieve tools for separation. She was not too happy with the boots – but at this point I was a man on a mission. I answered her question by announcing, “I found the Post” and she knew.
I pulled out all the stops. A ten pound hammer, a 12” pry bar, my new Dremel 4000 with all is cutting implements, a long handled screwdriver, 2 Xacto-styled cutting blades, and my favorite tool of choice – a jagged hand-held 16” drywall saw.
I set up shop at the top of the drive and upended the snow blower to expose the two in a lovers jam at the chute. Then it began to snow harder – to add to my misery.
Over the course of two hours I managed to pry out most of the paper. Denise poked her head out into the garage a couple of times checking on me – she’d inquire and I’d say that I am down to the Sports Page.
It was during this time that the neighbors (those without snow blowers) popped out and began shoveling their driveways. They then would announce loudly “I found the Post” as they dug it out of the street-side snow bank. Little did they know that if I had found my paper earlier I would have had their driveway cleared by now – being the Good Samaritan.
Meanwhile, as I banged and sawed at what remained of the paper I connived on how I could outsmart the Post deliveryman – next snowstorm. Like canceling the paper two days ahead of time when Storm Team at NBC Channel 4 predicted the snow totals, or by putting out high tech tripwires on the driveway to signal evidence of paper weight, maybe even tipping the deliveryman to put the paper in my storm door on bad snow days, yeah I was a paperboy once – I know how that game is played.
Years ago I removed the Washington Post plastic paper holder from under the rural mailbox. I did that because all it collected was leaves and lawn service ads – and not the newspaper. So it seems that I am stuck with the Trojan strength plastic bagged paper which is good for three things, 1) to quickly deliver dry newspaper in all kinds of weather – so that delivery person can toss and roll on, 2) collecting doggy poop from sidewalks and 3) being attracted to my snow blower.
Once I freed the jam – I put away the tools and walked over the entire driveway with my metal diving rod – looking for the next culprit – the Wall Street Journal. The good news is the WSJ deliveryman slept in – unlike the Washington Post man.
So admittedly this boy from upstate New York has had his fill of the 2014 winter weather. Bring on Spring and let me put away my snow blower so that it can wait and lust for the day when it can meet up again with the Washington Post.