February 20th, 2021

book cover humor

This Snow Blows

 Hunter's Law of Diminishing Returns states that the more I prepare for something, the less likely it is to happen. This is why I always try to be prepared for winter. It's also why I put out dire warnings whenever severe weather is predicted: If I warn of ten inches of snow, wildfires, or tornadoes, it's less likely a fire tornado will cause severe blowing and drifting.

That doesn't always work.

Three years ago I bought a small electric snowblower. There were three reasons for this: first, shoveling out my driveway is a game for the young, of which I no longer am. Second, my old frostbite injuries have really started acting up in recent years. Even with gloves on, my hands become stiff, painful, and useless, kind of like Congress. Third, and in correlation with the previously described law, owning a snowblower made it less likely to be needed.

Also, a month ago I bought a new pair of boots. My old rubber boots started to leak, and also weren't insulated--and my toes have frostbite damage, too. So, between the snowblower and the boots, I figured we were safe from a bad snowstorm--at least, for awhile.

Which brings me to Hunter's Diminishing Return Correlation: The more confident I am that nothing's going to happen because I prepared for it, the more likely it is to happen, anyway.

Here's a spoiler line from my new novel in progress: "Nice boots". It loses something out of context.

 

This week we got nine or ten inches of snow, the exact amount being hard to tell because of the gusty winds, which also reminds me of Congress. Now, the most snow we've had in the two years before that was only a few inches at a time. While the snowblower worked in that, I found it wasn't all that much easier than just using a snow shovel. Just the same, when I got home from work at 6 a.m. and realized my car couldn't get more than a foot into the driveway, I figured it was time to break it out.

(I live on a state highway, and work less than a mile away--so in my experience the real driving adventure is parking after the plows have been through.)

Well. This blows.

Hunter's Law of Power Tools #7 is that the more I need a tool, the less likely it is to start. This is why I got an electric snowblower instead of a gas powered one: Fewer parts to break. That worked out for me this time, because it turns out snow in the 1-2 foot range is right in my little device's wheelhouse: It ran like a champ, and got my driveway clear enough to park almost before my hands went numb.

No one was more surprised than I was.

I didn't  bother trying to get it TOO clean--more snow was predicted later in the week.

Being able to park made the people who wanted to get by on the state highway happy. Hey, I left my car's four way flashers on, and it only took an hour--they couldn't just detour?

By then I was unable to move my fingers, so I called it a day and tackled opening the front door with my teeth, which are now also frostbit. I planned to shovel the sidewalk the next day, but my neighbor, whose dog is either a best friend of our dog or a mortal enemy (I don't speak dog), pulled out his big honkin' gas powered snowblower and cleared both mine and his. I'm extremely grateful for that, because my extension cord is only so long.

What's going to happen next? I'm betting flood. Just in case, I'm stocking up on buckets.

(Note: Flooding wasn't next--it was freezing fog.)