Fractured Facade

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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Snow Mower

At least someone in this house enjoyed the recent snow blast. You can see by the chunks of ice stuck on her face, Bella has been digging for rocks. If it was up to her she'd stay out there all day until she was one matted mess. I let her defrost, then return outdoors for her leaping, burying pleasures. I have given up wiping puppy prints all over the house and figure the floors won't be clean until spring.

There was someone else in the house who, in the beginning, welcomed the husband. You see, for the last couple of weeks his toy has been waiting under the blue tarp on the back of that trailer. Just waiting patiently to be called to action.

Before it wound up here, it has spent many months at the shop getting ready for its debut. Countless hours, and countless dollars, have been spent modifying the John Deere mower into a powerful snow shoveling machine. When he first received the mower he forgot about an old Italian prophecy -- inherit a dead man's vehicle and it becomes your money pit. It doesn't matter if you inherit it, or buy it, it's still the same money drain. And he should have remembered that for all the time and money we've spent on the phantom problems of my dad's Olds.

When he first took the John Deere off of a friend's hands, he told me it only needed to be tuned up and spruced up as it sat still for so long. Otherwise, it's fine. Rather than detail every dollar, I'll just say parts could only be ordered through John Deere (even the parts list and manual had to be bought), and a welder even got involved helping my husband's dream to become a reality. Ka-ching! Ka-ching! Ka-ching!!!

Every time I rolled my eyes, I was assured this was going to work. By the way, for all the money he's spent he probably could have bought a new plow,  a couple of snow blowers, or, hired a local snow shoveling team to be on call all winter. But I digress. It was finally snowing!

My husband came home earlier than usual, stopping at Food Lion to stock up on provisions, two bottles of wine and treats for Bella. He almost made it to the door before he slipped on the ice, tumbled to the ground, shattering the wine bottles.

Luckily he wasn't hurt, but he was pissed, and now, soaking wet. Good thing he wouldn't be spending hours out there shoveling snow by hand in wet clothes!

The night before, he had tried firing up the toy, just in case, and discovered it was dead. Imagine that. So before using it, he had to hook it up to a portable battery. As it charged, the snow fell steadily. A big smile spread across his face when it kicked on, and he gave me two thumbs up. I was cooking dinner and asked him if he would be long. He said to continue cooking, he'd be 10-15 minutes. Bing, bang, boom.

I could hear the noise outside as I hovered over the warm stove. A half-hour later I went outside to tell him dinner was ready, and lo and behold, nothing was plowed! Bing, bang, boom. In fact, he never got to try the plow as the toy would not drive in the snow. Huh? Rocking back and forth, spinning wheels, smoke spewing, noise of a thousand blowers, there he sat, going nowhere, on a lawn mower with a snow blade on it.

When I saw the back wheels spinning, I suggested he use the portable plastic road strips I had bought him and my son for Christmas. They laughed when they saw them, but I told them both they would thank me when they were stuck in the snow. Unfortunately, my husband's  practical gift was at the shop in the back of the mini van. So much for them. He was determined to make this toy work and even began shoveling a path for the toy to drive through. Ummm, doesn't that defeat the purpose of not having to shovel?

I couldn't watch any more so I went inside and had dinner by myself. Men can be so stubborn. They don't need to look at directions when putting something together, and would rather drive around endlessly before asking for directions because they are lost. They think with perseverance it will all work out, eventually. He finally gave up an hour later when he got stuck in the middle of the road and had to push the toy back up the driveway. By the time he was finished, he successfully blocked the driveway so that it was impossible to exit now. Even VDOT leaves a smaller pile.

He had as much snow on him as there was in the driveway when he came in. He was more upset he didn't have the bottles of wine than he was about the snow mowing machine. After changing into dry clothes, getting warm, and having a hot meal he said that was enough and he'd figure something out tomorrow. When I went to let Bella out I noticed he had left the shed doors wide open so he had to get dressed again, go back out there, trudge through the snow, and close them.

Today was a new day, the snow had stopped falling, and he was determined to clear our driveway so he could get back to work. All it took was one phone call and a reinforcement arrived.

I thought it was overkill, but hey, what do I know...

Mission accomplished. We're free...

Now, who wants to bet me this very expensive toy doesn't even cut grass in the spring...

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