Because to a certain groundhog in Pennsylvania named Phil, “early spring” is apparently defined as “nearly a foot of snow on March 4,” I had the snowblower out this morning.
Everything was going fairly smoothly, and I was just about wrapping up when everything stopped with a “thunk.”
In the realm of mechanically based onomatopoeia, “thunk” is not the snowblower running out of gas, especially since I filled it before I started.
And “thunk” is not the snowblower being clogged; if that was going to happen, it would have been while I was dealing with what the snowplow left at the top of the driveway.
No, “thunk” is “uh-oh.” “Thunk” is the rubber mat in front of our door that had gotten itself twisted in the blades of the blower.
It was about this point where the loud taking of various religious figures’ names in vain — to the point where Andrew Scott’s sweary priest in “Fleabag” might have even looked at me funny — began, plus a few for the nonbelievers.
Because my temper is nothing if not ecumenical.
Because (and I know you’ll be shocked) yelling did not extricate the mat, and neither did tugging on it, I had to figure something out unless I was going to call the same guys who reattached the starter cord after I yanked it out earlier this winter.
The blade was bolted to the sides of the blower, so I thought I’d undo the bolts, pull out the blade, remove the mat and reattach the blade.
Except nothing happened. Unbeknownst to me, the blades are also attached somewhere underneath the snowblower in a place I could not find.
Begin second round of invective. (Note to self: set things right with the Dalai Lama later.)
My wife came outside to take a look, and we agreed that the only possible solution was to cut the mat out.
She grabbed a little-used knife from our kitchen, and we got to work,
What could possibly go wrong? After all, we were using a knife around blades (even though the engine was off), it was cold and wet and I tend to be slightly abrupt when impatient — I believe my mother would call it “rammy.”
Yet in spite of all that, we carefully, surgically cut away the pieces of the mat while maintaining all 20 fingers between the two of us and not decorating the snow with any of our blood.
We’re hoping a good cleaning will resurrect the knife, but if not, it died a hero.
The mat, needless to say, is kaput.
The only thing left to determine was whether the snowblower would start.
On the surface, it seemed pretty simple: loosen blades, remove mat, tighten bolts holding blades. But this is me, who is universally known for being mechanically reclined.
So even though I was standing behind the blower (and had my wife go inside, just in case), there was still the possibility of a severed arm or carotid artery.
However … an amazing thing happened.
The motor started.
The blades spun.
Parts and pieces were not scattered about.
The annoying ear worm that is the “Victoria” theme heralded throughout the neighborhood … for I had fixed something!
I cleaned up the last bit of snow and put the blower back in the garage … the job complete.
Well, the snowblowing part of the job, anyway. I’m not Catholic, but I’m guessing Pope Francis might want a word … and I’m not talking about one of the ones with four letters.