Never Use a Snowblower on a 40-Degree Ice Covered Incline


How many of you had the good fortune of being involved in the last blizzard? My guess is about 50%, since by all reports about 50% of the country was covered in snow.

My DH is not deploying for a few more months so I have not been in a rush to figure out how to use the snow blower. I figure when the time comes, I will figure it out - Bada Bing! Done! After all, that is the military wife way!

So the blizzard of 2011 hits, and my DH is TDY (I had not counted on that). It was also 20 below and I needed to clear the driveway so I could get to the store, work, and clear the sidewalks before I got a nasty note from the neighborhood association.

For those of you not familiar with 20 below temps, this means dressing in layers. Normal underclothes, silk long underwear, 2 pairs of pants, 2 shirts, a fleece, and Gortex coat, 2 pair of wool socks, and 6 gram insulation boots, heavy gloves, and oh yes a scarf. It seriously took me 30 minutes to dress. 30 minutes down the drain, so I did not die from exposure.

Then I had to start the snowblower. How hard can it be, I can start a mower. I immediately thought "YES", when I saw it was covered with how to start instructions. It might as well been in Iceland. Thirty minutes later, I managed to start it, there was a spark and the smell of gasoline making me think I broke it, but it was running. I then recall my husband telling me, that "it will shut off automatically if you let go of the hand grips." I did not want to let go of the hand grips. I grabbed it, and I hung on for dear life and proceeded to slide, with the snowblower dragging me down the 40-degree inclined driveway. I had on heavy boots, no way! How can this be? I hung on tight and slid until the snowblower and I hit an embankment of snow, and then I had to put it in 6th gear (oh YES the darn thing has 6 gears to complicate the process), and I steered it over to the lawn and the sucker pulled me back up the yard. Still not wanting to let go of the grips, or change the direction of the chute, I made it into the garage along with about 2 inches of snow I shot into the garage. I looked to my right to note the driveway looked like a frozen pond under the snow. I make the decision at that time to put the snow blower away, because I was afraid of sliding under it and loosing limbs. ICE, this does not occur in the Midwest often.

Any normal person would have went in the house, put the 4 wheel drive into 4, and drove over the snow, but no not me. I took this as some sort of personal assault to my ability to REMOVE the snow.

Please note that there are now neighbors looking out picture windows, because yes I looked that dangerous with the snowblower. I made the decision to kick it old school, I grabbed a shovel, scooped about one square foot, and wham I slid just like on the cartoons, WHAP on my back on the cement. I could not breath for a moment, the smack on the ice literally had the wind knocked out of me. I am not a young woman any longer, I am 40. 40 hitting the ice feels so much differently than 20, or even 30, heck 38. The shovel handle landed on my face. I just laid there for a minute. Why on earth I did not call it quits is beyond me. Seriously, I know better. But now I was frothing at the mouth like Yosemite Sam, and I was seriously going to show the ice who was boss. I tried scooping again, and fell first try. This time on my wrists and knees. I imagined at this point, the neighbors recording this for youtube, because it was a comedy of errors.

Just so I did not look like a quitter I decided to throw some ice melter at the ice before retreating with my wounded ego, and guess what, I fell throwing. I fell throwing.

I managed to make it in the house, prepare for work. I drove the 4 WD over that darn stuff, and made it out fine.

I seriously have no idea what on Earth I was trying to prove. None. STUPID. I limped around for about a week, and still have not searched youtube for "crazy neighbor lady falling all over herself shoveling."

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