“The Iceman Cometh”

This year marks the third year in a row that I wanted to lock all the windows and doors, turn the heat up to about 80 degrees, and not come out until spring. This year we had an unusually hot summer, which was followed by an unusually wet fall, which of course, was followed by an unusually cold winter. With winter comes snow. I hate snow. Snow is as unwanted by me as hemorrhoids, abscessed teeth and inflamed testicles. I think you get the point. The day could start out just fine, but when the window shade goes up and it has snowed — or even worse, is still snowing — I turn into a blithering, whimpering baby. I hate being cold, I hate driving in the snow, and I hate shoveling the snow. Don’t get me wrong — I’m not lazy: I love yard work. I’ll shovel dirt, sand, mulch and stuff like that. But snow is different.

First of all, I try to deal with snow in much the same manner that I deal with an unexpected grinding noise coming from under the hood of my truck. I ignore it, go to bed and hope that it’s gone in the morning. Unfortunately it never is. Deep down inside my mind (the same mind that keeps track of my beer bottle collection) I know that I will have to go outside and shovel the snow if I want to get to work, so I can pay the mortgage, so we can live indoors instead of in a paper bag in the woods.

When you are shoveling snow, you don’t look too cool either. I am not really all that interested in looking cool, but at the same time, I do not want to look like a total jackass either. I know that people are watching me because I like to watch other people do stupid things and really embarrass themselves. This is what makes our country great. What other countries have shows like “America’s Funniest Jerks With No Self Pride Making Fools of Themselves On National Television” None, I’m willing to bet. The following events really happened to me during a snowstorm — sort of.

I had to psyche myself up for purposely going out in weather that only idiots and skiers go out in. Next, I had to dress warmly. Experts say to dress in layers, but the only problem with this, is that my wardrobe does not consist of clothes that you can put on top of each other. After the third layer, I find that they get rather tight and constricting. Another problem is that I now had four hundred pounds of clothes on so I could go outside and hopefully not freeze to death in fifteen seconds. With this much clothing on, I tended to walk much like I had an unexpected bowel movement, and my arms were sticking up straight sideways. This did not look cool.

Another difficulty I had due to the fact that my arms were sticking straight up was going through doorways without turning sideways. This resulted in me poking a member of my family (I’m still not sure which one) in an undesirable location. Even though I turned my head, I only got to view the inside of my hood which had long ago decided not to cooperate with me. It also made descending stairs rather difficult. Luckily, I solved this problem by falling down them. It is interesting to note that when you are falling down stairs sideways with your arms sticking straight up, you can do quite a respectable cartwheel. I had to get to the shovel, which always seems to be buried behind piles of wood and rakes and other cellar items. I got the shovel and headed outside. It had just started to sleet.

The first thing that I like to do is shovel a path to the truck and car so I can clean them off. I leaned the shovel on the truck and wiped all the snow from it. I then moved to the car and did the same thing. That was when I went back to get the shovel and realized that I had inadvertently knocked it over, and it was now covered with snow so I could not find it. As I walked around the vehicles trying to figure out how I was going to bend over to get the shovel if I do find it, I found it. Or it found me. It’s not that tripping over the shovel and landing face-down in the snow because I couldn’t get my arms up fast enough hurt, it’s just that I may have looked a little silly to anybody watching me. Not as silly as I looked trying to get up, because I looked — for all practical purposes, like I was trying to make a snow angel — face down.

I managed to get up with the shovel and proceed to hurl the snow out of the driveway, which of course required me to move. But I noticed something strange about the snow. It has developed a hard layer of ice on top of it. Chalk up another one for good ol’ Mother Nature. Now I had to go inside the house again to get the pick ax, hammer and chisel. I started with the hammer and chisel, and began to chip away enough ice so I can get to the powdery, fluffy snow underneath. Of course, the first shovelful that I heaved out of the driveway, blows directly back in my face. The wind has picked up too, I noted, as I went back to chipping the ice. When I reached for the shovel, I came into contact with a five foot snow drift that wasn’t there a half hour ago. My shovel was buried underneath it somewhere. As an added bonus, the snow was starting to get wet, courtesy of the sleet.

At this point I was so frustrated, I dove into the snow drift headfirst, cartoon style and started throwing snow everywhere. I found the shovel, and I did not care that I had no idea where the pick ax, chisel and hammer were anymore. I scooped up several shovels full of snow weighing about 300 pounds apiece, until I finally hit the surface of the driveway. I started digging towards the vague hump in the driveway that was hopefully my truck. I figured it would be a good time to start it so it could warm up while I shoveled the rest of the driveway. I reached for my keys… and realized that they fell out of my pocket while I was goofing around in the snow drift looking for my shovel. I went back to the snow drift and started throwing snow around again looking for my keys.

Between this and the wind, the path that I had spent a half hour shoveling so I could get to the truck was gone. On a hunch, I checked my other pocket and found my keys. “Oh well, it could have happened to anyone,” I say, still trying to convince myself of this. I shoveled a new path to the truck, and opened the door, and all the snow that was on the roof somehow blew off and landed on the seat, so when I sat down I felt really cold at first. Then really wet. Of course when I put the key in the ignition and turned it, it did not start. Instead, it made a sort of stifled laughing sound before it died completely. I tried getting in touch with the all famous automobile association to whom I pay $92.00 a year for and never use, and I got a busy signal because, like me, everyone was having problems with their cars.

My next project was to hook jumper cables to my wife’s car and get the truck started. I opened the hood and connected the cables to something that kind of resembled a battery. I started the truck with no trouble. With this accomplished, I wandered around aimlessly trying to find the house in what had become blizzard conditions, so I could take a shower and hopefully get my body temperature back into the positive numbers again. I figured a hot shower would help, which it did. As I stood in the bedroom, still soaking wet, clad only in a towel, I heard a strange noise. I had no idea where it was coming from. From the bed, a wife-shaped hump of covers suggested that I look out the window and see if it was something outside. I did. It was.

It turned out to be my wife’s horn, which due to the weather and low battery, was sort of moaning. It was apparently going off for no other purpose than to irritate me. This really happened. I threw clothes on and ran out to the car, jerked open the door, and hit the horn button to stop the horn. It didn’t work. I tried jiggling the steering wheel and that did not work either. I opened the hood and tried to locate the horn, and out of the corner of my eye, I saw it dash behind the carburetor. After a while, I realized my wife’s car is fuel injected and therefore has no carburetor. Since I couldn’t tolerate this type of behavior from a horn, I tried to coax it out with a ham sandwich which did not work either, so I started pulling all the fuses out in a crazy effort to stop the horn.

By this time, I had awoken the neighbors, and let’s just say they can be really grumpy at 5:00 in the morning. When I got down to the last fuse, and the horn was still going off merrily, I realized that I would finally be triumphant. I also realized that it was Saturday and I did not have to work today. This point was also brought up by several of my neighbors who also did not have to work today and figured they would sleep late. Oops. I pulled the last fuse and went back into the house. By the time spring rolls around and all the snow has melted, I figure it will be safe to go outside again. They will surely have forgotten about this by then.

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