Taming of The Beast (blog)

Let me tell you about The Beast who lives in my garage.

The Beast came into my life when we first moved to Ripon almost 14 years ago. Just to be clear, The Beast is our snow blower. He is taller than me, black, has sharp teeth, is very loud, is very strong, and can be dangerous if not handled properly.

I wasn't sure why we needed something so big when we were renting a two bedroom duplex with a short driveway and no sidewalk. My husband thought it was a great deal, and so The Beast found a new home in our small garage. The second place we moved to, renting again, had a shovel-worthy, short sidewalk and a driveway that was plowed by the owners who came by whenever it snowed. No need to disturb The Beast.

Our third move was to our first home, which has a short sidewalk, a bit of concrete in front of the garage doors, and a modest stretch of crushed rock for a driveway. Over the past eight years The Beast came out of hibernation once, maybe twice, a season with my husband in control as I watched from inside the warm house. I was more than content to stay clear of the spiraling auger that munched snow and spat it out to land four feet away. You can say the thing intimidated me; I'll go along with that.

I was determined to bring The Beast out of his cold, dark cave and put him to use chomping snow and clearing the driveway. Wouldn't that be a nice surprise for my husband to come home to, not having to worry about snow blowing the driveway? I thought it would be nice, until I couldn't get the darn thing started. I flicked switches up and down, pulled the cord over and over without any luck. I was lucky enough to wrack my bare knuckles against frozen metal and plastic more than a couple times. FYI - Pain sets in AFTER the numbness is gone. Ouch!

I even asked the 10 year old for help - still a no go.

A phone call to my husband and I learned about gas shut-off valves. After a 90 degree twist of the valve thing and a few pulls on the cord The Beast roared to live. Now what????? How do I go forward? How do I engage the auger? Reverse? More importantly, how do I stop? After about an hour or more The Beast and I had come to an understanding. I let him crunch and munch the snow while he allowed me to follow along behind. Works for me.

Over an hour later he'd finally had his fill, luckily it was after the driveway had been cleared. With hands and arms still buzz-shaking I returned The Beast to his cozy cave to sleep until the next fluffy blanket of white descends.

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