Yesterday was the day at the DeWitz household to batten down the hatches and settle in for winter. Sean and I got the snow blower out, put the lawn mower away (needs an oil change....next spring will have to do), got the garden hoses drained and rolled up, got the pots and planters in or at least moved from harm's way, and all that fun stuff.
We have a storage shed behind our garage that is the catch all for everything. The patio furniture is always packed in first. The table is too big to carry down the steps the safe way. It has to be hoisted overhead and carried down above the rail. I've done it for years and it is not a big deal. Yesterday, with the 40 mph winds, I wasn't sure if it would be my last year or not, but I made it. Next is the other large stuff: mower, wheel barrow, fertilizer spreader, edger, trimmer, then we start piling the small stuff on that. The trampoline cushion and mat, the pots and planters, the leaf blower, the hoses, the sprinklers (like we ever need more water in Fargo), etc, etc. The hardest part is making sure there is 1/2 inch of space so the doors can close until next spring. At which time I'll open the shed and swear at the mess I created last fall. Trust me, though - there will be a time in mid January when someone somewhere will need something....that's stored in the shed. It happens every year. So then it is digging the snow away from the door, chipping the ice, and opening to the not so well packed mess. Best case scenario.......the "needed" item can be seen - way at the back. Worst case, it can't be seen, I assume it is in the back, but after rummaging realize it is not there.
But, anyway, we got the doors shut and locked. The fun part of the day was taking my snow blower in for a tune up. In 1988 I sold my first car (well used by then) and took the proceeds to buy a new snow blower. The house we lived in had a single driveway leading up to a 2 stall garage BEHIND the house. I always knew the person who designed the "garage behind the house" had never grown up in ND. My point....we needed a good snow blower and the neighbor who had been doing our driveway had the balls to move. Back then, I even did some work for hire in the neighborhood. Not enough to pay for the snow blower, but enough to pay for gauze and ointment for my frost bite.
That snow blower has survived many a storm. The winters of 95-96, 96-97, and 08-09. I've done countless nieghbor's driveways. I've run several wood blocks, rocks, garden hoses, sprinklers, lawn ornaments, and stray pets through it over the years and have never done a repair except for the occasional spark plug and annual oil change. I've had it apart several times removing foreign, non snow, objects from it's mechanism, but nothing broken.
It has always needed full choke and it honestly had to be primed until the gas runs out of the carburetor to start. Yesterday, as we were getting it out and ready to be hauled to the shop, Sean asked why it had an electrical cord attached. I explained the trouble with starting a 8 hp engine when it's 30 below (leaving out his father's lack of patience when it is 30 below). So instead of moving it closer to an outlet (....let's look at that. First I'm too lazy to manually start it so pay for the electric start attachment, now I'm even too damn lazy to move it close to the outlet??!!)...I decided to try it the old fashioned way. Full choke, prime prime prime it until gas is running out the engine, key on, full throttle, and with ONE (yes, one) pull......boom, boom, boom, boom, smoke everywhere, machine rattling like a bucket of loose bolts, it comes to life and purrs like a kitten. Runs like a charm - always has. This thing doesn't miss a beat, as long as you POUR gas into it.
We loaded it on the trailer (see previous story) and hauled it to The Garden Hut. Neighbor Rob had started this business from scratch and it has really grown. I'd never been there so was anxious to see his new business (I have something else in mind, too). Sean and I get there, get it unloaded, do the usual small talk, and on my way out, Rob starts commenting about his new items in stock. Yeeessss, the real reason I'm here. I told him that the next time I need a new blower/mower, I'm doing away with one of each and getting a riding mower/blower. But that's a few years off......
Rob said "well, before you completely dismiss it, let me show you what I've got in back".
"I can't", I said.......as I rushed to follow him to the back. Sean was right behind me. I'm sure, going through his mind, was "oh, this is going to be good. Dad is going to sit on a riding mower, fall in love, and buy one. Besides that fun, when he has to tell Mom, I'll get to listen to him get in TROUBLE - AGAIN".
Rob took me back to furthest secret corner of the building. The place reserved for "showing" his best of the best. There it was. Spotlights shining like an epiphany from above on a brand new Cub Cadet "Cadillac of Cadillacs" garden tractor with a snow blower. I knew I didn't dare sit on it - as I hoisted myself up to the seat. The thing was like a stretch limo - and I like big cars. It even had a cup holder for my hot chocolate in the winter and iced beverage in the summer. Damn....I'd look good on this. I'd welcome the 3 foot chunk of icy sludge at the end of the driveway from the fk'n city plows if I had this machine in my garage. I'd be plowing FOR the city, instead of against them.
No, I didn't buy it. My mower is new and the blower works fine.
But (isn't there always a "but") as I was falling asleep last night, I started dreaming of me doing a "walk around" of my new machine. The final instructions before I took it home.
You know how when you start to fall asleep, you often jump because of some stupid thing in your dream - falling, getting hit, stumbling?? During the walk around in my dream I slipped on ice and woke up. I think in some sort of twisted way that Shirley was the patch of ice.
My brother in law, Jeff, is supposed to get the snow blower attachment for his new riding mower so he can endlessly brag about it when we're around - thus convincing US it would be a good idea to get one as well. I think my sister is his patch of ice. (oh, the comments that could come from that sentence).