By Jerry Zezima
The Stamford Advocate
As a man who has been perpetrating snow jobs for more than half a century, I can say with authority that there is a simple reason why the Northeast has not yet been hit with a blizzard this winter: I had my snow blower tuned up.
Because I have brain freeze when it comes to preparing for the white stuff, I appreciated the reminder I got in the mail recently from Carl’s Equipment and Supply in Patchogue, N.Y., where my parents bought the snow blower for me almost 10 years ago.
On the card was this convincing line: “He who hesitates shovels!”
That’s exactly what I had to do two days before Christmas in 2009, when 2 feet of snow fell on my driveway. When it comes to snow removal, I am a wuss, which stands for “wait until spring starts.” But my younger daughter, Lauren, and her then-fiance (and now husband), Guillaume, had to fly to France for the holiday. Their flight was still on, but their limo driver wimped out, which meant they needed a ride to the airport from Dad’s Livery and Onion Service (“Driving You Crazy Since 1980”).
I tried to use the Little Snow Blower That Couldn’t, but it gasped when it saw the winter wonderland and said, “I think I can’t, I think I can’t.” Then it coughed, wheezed and breathed its last.
So I had to risk myocardial infarction, which is even worse than what it sounds like, by digging out with a plastic shovel only slightly bigger than the spoon I use to eat my morning cereal. Thankfully, my neighbor Ron came over with his snow blower and cleared the rest of the driveway so Lauren and Guillaume could make their flight.
The same thing happened -- minus the airport trip -- the day after Christmas in 2010, when we were hit with Snowmageddon.
After the freak October snowstorm of 2011, which spared my part of Long Island but socked my home state of Connecticut, I decided to get my snow blower fixed before the planet, contrary to evidence of global warming, was gripped by another ice age.
“Climate change could depend on you,” said Dawn, the service manager at Carl’s. “It’s a good thing you brought your snow blower in.”
That’s more than she could say for some other customers, like the guy who stuck his hand in a snow blower after he started it to see if it was working.
“He came back with bloody fingers,” Dawn recalled. “He said, ‘I thought I could do that.’ I said, ‘Duh! No, you can’t.’ Some people just shouldn’t own equipment.”
“Even I’m not that stupid,” I said. “Of course, my snow blower can’t hurt me because it won’t start.”
“We’ll fix that,” Dawn promised.
Sure enough, the following week, my snow blower was running like new.
“We rebuilt the carburetor, put in a new fuel filter and replaced the spark plug,” said Dawn, who showed me the proper way to start my snow blower. “Make sure you put it on choke,” she advised.
“When it wouldn’t start, I wanted to choke it,” I replied.
This time, it started right away.
“You’re good to go,” Dawn said. “This guarantees we won’t get another Snowmageddon. And you can take all the credit.”
I realize I am violating my own rule of meteorological journalism (“Never write about the weather unless it’s for the next day’s paper -- and even then you’re likely to be wrong”), so we could be hit with a blizzard right around the time this column runs. Still, I like to think I have done my part to make this a good winter so far.
And just to make sure we don’t have any floods this summer, I’ll get my lawn mower tuned up.
Copyright 2012 by Jerry Zezima