Thursday, January 11, 2007

Perpetual motion

From the minute I got up this morning, I don't think that I have stopped moving. Work was busier than hell today (which is becoming the new normal, unfortunately) and by the time I got home, I just wanted to collapse onto the couch and rest for awhile. Alas, that was not to be.

We're more than likely going to be, at long last, getting some significant snowfall this weekend. And by significant, I'm talking nearly a foot by the latest forecast. Of course, that's still two days off so the forecast could completely change by then. And I'm not disrespecting the weather people - winter storms in Iowa are notoriously tricky to predict. Just a little nudge and a storm that was going to bury you in 17 inches of snow leaves only a trace in its wake.

But in preparation for this, I finally went out to try to start the snowblower. Honestly, the fact that January 11th is the first day of the winter where we have to worry about the snowblower starting is amazing in and of itself. So I went out the garage and got it all hooked up and dug out the owner's manual (I can never remember from time to time how to start it.) It's an electric start snowblower so you plug it into the wall and it just starts up like magic. Not tonight. Try as I might, the engine would not turn over. Now, if I were my dad, I would be able to figure this out ("oh, all I need to do is change the spark plug/siphon out the gas/whatever") but I'm not him, I'm me and well, I'm not that mechanically inclined. The fortunate aspect of this is that when we bought the snowblower, Heidi had the foresight to buy the protection plan, so whenever anything goes wrong with it, they fix it for free. So I figure, rather than waste any more time on this dumb thing, I'm going out to Sears and having them fix it.

I try to load the snowblower in the trunk of the car, knowing full well that it's never going to fit enough to close the trunk. Well, I have to take the chute off of it (which is a task in and of itself, requiring not one but TWO socket sets to find the right size socket to take the bolts off) to even get it into the trunk and even with the chute off, it's balanced rather precariously. I turn it around and put it in handle first, which provides for a bit more steadiness and balance, but still, it worries me. So I'm looking around the garage for something heavy to use as a counterweight. I pick up the heaviest things in the garage that I can lift - two partly used bags of potting soil - and use them as anchors. I'm ready to go.

I pull out of the driveway and am going down the street toward the mall and suddenly, I hear a KERKLUNK! from the trunk. I look back in a panic, but fortunately, the snowblower is still there. I was going to get out and inspect, but at this point, I'm all "fuck it! If it falls out, it falls out." I drive like an 98 year old all the way to the mall which I'm sure really made the people that were following me happy. But believe it or not, I made it all the way to Sears without spilling the contents of the trunk all over the pavement.

The guy at Sears is very friendly and looks up my service plan and says, yep, they can fix it for free and it shouldn't take too long as they don't get many repairs this time of year. They print out the receipt and say that it'll be back in a couple weeks.

That's right folks. A couple weeks. And it's going to snow like there's no tomorrow in two days. Something about this just doesn't add up.

Now I'm all "well, what the hell do I do now?" Fortunately, I thought enough to go two doors down (couldn't resist that Dolly reference) and ask my neighbor if he would have pity on my soul and allow me to borrow his snowblower in the event that we do get the mother lode of snow that is expected. Being the nice guy that he is, he readily agrees and I'm set for the snow.

So now this drama took a good 2 hours - at this point, it's 6:30PM. I sit down with Anna for about 45 minutes to play and Polly Pocket online games on her computer which was great fun because I am using just about any opportunity these days to improve her reading ability. I think that she CAN do it but at times chooses not to. Playing those games, although she pretty much runs the show, is great fun and we had a great time hooting and hollering over the games.

Suddenly, I hear from the upstairs that I need to come up RIGHT NOW. Heidi proceeds to tell me about a friend of ours whose day had been particularly rotten and she wanted to try to give him a call. Trouble is, this guy lives in London and to use our regular long distance will probably require me to go out and find a second and third job. Seriously - the regular rate is $1.21 per minute and the "economy" rate is $0.88 per minute. So it's like, talk fast!! But thank goodness for Skype which allows you to call around the world for next to nothing over the computer. And Heidi's iMac even has a built in microphone that we still can't find but are trusting it's there as Skype passed the microphone test. We had the number and we're all set to go, right?


Try as we might, we could NOT make the number work. It kept saying that the number did not exist -- as if we were trying to divide by zero or something. Heidi is frantically sending private messages to our friend and trying to figure out Skype while I'm busy trying to get Anna into the tub where she is insisting on washing her own hair thankyouverymuch and no Dad, you're not going to help. And anyone who knows Anna knows that she marches to the beat of her own drum - and that drum beats rather slowly. Everything takes an age with her and while I love her dearly I frequently find myself wishing she would kick it into second gear. Tonight was one of those nights.

Back to trying to call London - Heidi is having NO luck whatsoever with Skype so we decide to bite the bullet and use our regular phone. Which, inexplicably, doesn't work either. I think briefly that maybe he's giving us the wrong number, but certainly he knows his own phone number so who am I to suggest that? ;) I'm grasping at straws, so give me a break! Ultimately, we never did get to talk to him. I mean, it was only 8PM here, but over there it was 2 in the morning and he did have to work the next day.

So now, after getting Anna in bed, it's 9:30PM and I work at 7AM tomorrow, just like today. So I'll be up at 4:45AM tomorrow morning, just like today.

I can't, for the life of me, figure out why I'm tired.

1 comment:

Paul said...

oh my gosh - you have much more patience than i do. I would have totally freaked out and had a coniption fit and then been completely embarrassed that i had behaved like such a spaz ;) sounds fun though! And i want pics of a winter wonderland :)