Happy Birthday! How do you like your new snow blower?

shovelThe headline on a news story I ran across in my Twitter feed this week got me thinking.

It read “W.Va. Shovels Out of Snowstorm.”

Shouldn’t it have read “W.Va. Snow Blows Out of Snowstorm?”

I have no real data on the popularity of snow blowers. The answer can probably be found somewhere on the Internet, but after a long morning spent shoveling, I’m simply too lazy to type a query.

However, judging from what I’ve observed in my neighborhood alone, snow blowers seem to have supplanted shovels as the gear of choice to get the car out of the garage after a snowstorm.

My house is surrounded by snow blowing neighbors. Even now as I type out this column while nursing sore muscles brought on by several hours of throwing snow around, I can hear one humming along, making short work of the snow that blanketed our region this week.

I acknowledge being somewhat envious, but here’s the truth about me and snow blowers. Up to now, I’ve simply been too cheap to buy something that’s just going to gather dust in my garage waiting for the one or two times a year that I can justifiably fire it up.

Even if I had one, I probably wouldn’t get the pleasure of using it much. That’s because I’m not usually home when huge storms hit. More often than not, I’m stuck in Washington, D.C. My employer deems me essential to day-to-day operations, a happy circumstance that generally means I get to luxuriate in the warm confines of a hotel room while my wife and kids deal with the back-breaking work of moving snow around with nothing more than a shovel. By the time I show back up, they’ve made it easy for me to slip my car into the garage.

Thanks guys!

A few years ago, my wife tried to persuade me to buy a snow blower. She brought up the possibility after I had just arrived home from some R&R work courtesy of the storm that quickly became known as “Snowmageddon.” She and the kids had spent all day clearing snow dumped by that storm. It was a nightmare and is still the standard by which our family judges storms. Apparently, though, it was not enough to move me.

We still don’t have a snow blower.

This winter, though, is different. The big storms seem to be hitting on my days off. Plus, my wife has been unable to wield a shovel because she shattered her wrist during the first big snow and ice storm of the season. So, it’s been up to me and our son. This week, we spent hours doing what a snow blower would have accomplished in only one.done

The monotony of piling snow into the huge mounds that now line our driveway was broken up only when I stopped to admire the handiwork of my neighbors. They were easily spewing snow into the air while I labored with each shovelful. I secretly hoped that one would take pity on me and at least free our mailbox so our carrier could get to it. None did, leaving me no alternative but to finish the job the old-fashioned way.

I know it’s been a few years since my wife asked for one, but her birthday is coming up this month. Maybe I’ll surprise her.

Because what says “Happy Birthday” more than a shiny, new snow blower?


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