The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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March 1, 2013

LEVINE: No match for the snow

CLINTON — As I stood watching my pregnant wife kneeling on concrete, fumbling to put gloves on her hands with only a yard lamp lighting the way, I wondered how we got into this situation.

No, I wasn’t wondering how she got pregnant; I know how that happened.

I was thinking about the chain of events that got me in the predicament of watching my wife fume from the ears while trying to fix my mess.

Everything started with a long day at work.

And then my daughter had gymnastics, so I was in charge of cooking, putting me behind on my chore of clearing the snow off the driveway from Wednesday’s added snow.

It wasn’t until after 6 p.m. that I fired up the snow blower, and went about my business, trying to remove snow from the drive. In my defense, I’m not mechanically inclined. In fact, if you asked my parents and brothers, they would be surprised that I actually know how to operate a microwave.

Since I’m a homeowner and I don’t want to be sued by someone slipping on my sidewalk, I ventured outside in the dark to complete my duty.

Not knowing much about snow blowers, I was surprised that it wasn’t going as smooth as usual. I eventually came to the conclusion that heavy, wet snow clogs up the blades and the blower, causing my machine to not work as well.

I was almost done, so I decided to shut down the machine, and just grab the trusty old shovel and finish.

Looking back, that would have been a great idea.

However, instead of putting me through the agony of back pain, my wife came out and offered insight into why I shouldn’t grab the shovel.

She pointed out that my snow blower came equipped with a stick mechanism, giving me a tool to eliminate the snow buildup in the blower and the blades. This was such an astonishing development that I decided to do the neighborly thing, and help out a neighbor with her driveway, since it wasn’t shoveled yet.

I was cruising along through the neighbor’s driveway with my stick in my hand, ready to sift out the clumps of ice forming in the machine. Unfortunately that didn’t happen, and at some point, I dropped the stick.

And I didn’t notice it wasn’t in my hand anymore until I ran over the stick and my snow blower shut off halfway through the job.

Like I said earlier, I don’t know much about machines, but I’m under the assumption that when they shut off out of nowhere, that isn’t a good sign.

I wheeled the snow blower back to my driveway, and with the help of my yard light, I attempted to fix the problem before my wife caught wind of the fact that I wasn’t working and I wasn’t inside.

That didn’t last long.

When she came outside, she didn’t find my situation near as funny as I did. In order to alleviate our issues, we put our heads together, and attempted to piece through a solution. And by “coming together” I mean my wife telling me to “pull here,” “wiggle here,” and “get out of my light here.”

Eventually she decided to grab WD-40, and her “encouraging” and “uplifting” commands worked, helping me lift out the stick that didn’t resemble its previous self from only 30 minutes before.

By the end of the ordeal, the machine still worked, so I chalk that up as a successful day of clearing snow.

On the bright side, I did learn a valuable lesson — Never listen to my wife when she suggests another option to alleviate back pain. Unfortunately for her, that means I can’t heed her advice to stay away from the golf course this summer.

Scott Levine is an award-winning associate editor for the Clinton Herald.

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