The What Happens Next Machine

I was given a snowblower and a wood stove late last summer.   The woodstove has been a grand and glorious thing, but it hadn’t snowed enough to need a snowblower up until rather recently.

We tried to use it Saturday and found that it was too heavy to use on a hill.

That didn’t make sense to me.  I know New England girls aren’t supposed to be the delicate flowers that we Virginians with our softer winters are.  But, the idea that I wasn’t strong enough to push a snow blower up a hill and use it didn’t set with what I figure the design parameters of the machine oughta be.  I’m as strong as some men…  And really wasn’t at home to dealing with shoveling a 17″ snowfall all on my lonesome if I could figure out a solution.

So, I called upon a technique hammered into me from before I could read.  It’s called the “What Happens Next Machine“.  You might remember it from your Sesame Street viewing if you’re between 35 and 45.   This is actually a fantastic lesson in theory v. practice, but it’s also a good lesson in tracing the problem.

So,  my snowblower…

Each handle has a lever you squeeze.  The left one controls whether or not the snow is blowing.  The right one controls… Oh. Wow.  It controls the drive mechanism on the wheels.  It is, in fact, a self-propelling machine.  (I kinda figured it had to be since it had a reverse control and all…)

So, using the principles of “What Happens Next”, I traced the cable from the right hand control to the machine.  It’s supposed to be a pull lever, but it’s loose.  Further examination shows that it is not hooked around a wheel that will pull it taut and decrease the friction on the cable when it’s pulled.   Voila!

So I sit down in the snow to fix it.  (My butt is still cold!)  What I don’t own is a toolbox with all the tools I really should have for things like this.  You know, ratchet wrench….   God, it took me forever to unscrew one confounded little bolt and because I was wearing sweats and not snow pants, my butt got wet.  But still, I fixed it and cleared off the driveway — mostly.   Snow blowers aren’t made to go down all the way to the pavement, darn it.  Good thing I have a 13 year old to take care of the rest.

I want a Girl Genius T-shirt, darn it.

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