I admit it. I’ve led a privileged life. As a child my father did the snow-blow-ing. After marriage, snow-blowing fell onto my husband’s chore list. Oh, I might have dabbled a bit, and I have been known to help shovel, but I’ve never had to op-erate the machine on my own. Until now.
People who know me realize I have no interest in mechanical things or ma-chines. But with my husband gone for the week, I need to step up. I don my cover-alls, hat, high boots, and gloves and head for the garage.
I pull out the snowblower and study the “start” instructions printed on the machine.
1. Insert ignition key and snap in place. The key is already inserted. This is going to be cinchy.
2. Set choke and throttle to full (on) position. Push primer button 3 X. Choke? Primer? I think I’ve got the throttle figured out. It’s the lever with the rab-bit and turtle. Clever way to show the speed, I think. Charming, actually.
3. Rope start: Pull slowly until harder to pull, then pull rapidly to start. Re-peat priming if needed. I prime as instructed and then pull. Man! I only got a little
grrrr. I prime again. A slightly louder grr, but far from a roar. I prime again re-membering some warning about flooding the machine. Determined now, I pull a third time. And a fourth time. And a fifth time.
Okay. Time for plan B. The instructions mentioned the electric start so I get out the long extension cord, find the place to plug in, and push the button saying “Start.”
Whoa! Roaaarrrr! It’s ready to go!
The instructions also said I should move the choke to the off position. I do, and the machine stops.
Hmm. I start it again. Roaaarrrr! I move the choke a little, and the machine quits again.
The third time, I leave the choke alone. I unplug the extension cord, push down on the handle thingies, and set off. I promptly fill the garage with snow. Oops, I forgot to pay attention to the direction of the blower-thingie. I release the handles.
Our driveway is on an incline and I look up it while debating whether to start on the right or left side. I choose the right. I press the handles and away we go!
The snow only shoots out a couple of feet. Hmmm, that didn’t seem quite right. And the roar didn’t sound quite right either. No time to worry about that now. I need to make my first swipe. Up the driveway to the road or bust!
I trudge the length, thinking back to watching other snowblowers. They seemed to shoot nice and far. This one is a bit of a dud. I swing the machine around. I go down toward the garage. Again the snow only shoots out a few feet. How impractical, I think. Snowblowers must have to keep blowing snow they’ve already blown.
I make a couple more swipes and see a neighbor I hadn’t yet met striding over. I release the handles stopping the motion.
“This is my first time snow-blowing,” I shout over the roar.
He glances at the snow I’d shot in the garage, the patches of missed snow, and gives me a wry smile. “I know.”
He points to the throttle. “You still have it in idle. And you have to lower the choke.” He made the adjustments, and the sound was much less roar-y.
“Thank you. One more question. Do you start at one side and worked your way over?”
“I usually start in the middle.”
I thanked him again, and he scooted out of the way. A bit quickly, I thought.
When I press the handles again, this time snow shoots way out. “Cool!” I think. Now this is snow-blowing.
The morning news predicted more snow on its way. Bring it on, I think. Snowblower, hear me roar.