So I broke down. I hopped in the 'Sploder, fishtailed my way out of the alley and went to Menards.
Every year there is a big winter storm, and every year I wonder why I don't have a snowblower. I know that while I was with Barb it was because she hated powered devices, but the past couple of years I've always been pissed every storm at having to shovel. Well, I was always pissed at shoveling.
This was the year that I was gonna change that.
Foreknowledge of the storm meant that it was unlikely that they would have any snowblowers in stock. The smart folks would have already bought theirs, and they would likely be sold out, or just have expensive models left. I kind of had the "let's leave it up to fate" idea that if they had any left and they were within my budget, I'd get one; if not, I'd be back to shoveling and cursing.
What I hadn't counted on was that foreknowledge of the storm would also cause whoever was ordering the snowblowers at Menards to think "hey, we'd better get a bunch of these in because they're going on sale".
That's right, I found a nice snowblower that because it was on sale was just in my budget. And they were moving fast-- two others went ritht behind me, like walking out the door while I was loading it in the 'sploder.
Got home after a slight detour to get gas, unpacked the beast and did the assembly (which was really quick). Added the gas, and discovered something interesting: this thing has electric start-- like plug in an extension card, push a button, and voila. It also has the standard pull-start, but this was pretty cool.
It's also a two-stage machine, which is awesome. That means it has one set of chomping blades, and a second "slinger" blade that throws the snow. It makes a considerable difference when the snow is deep or wet and heavy.
So yeah, started it up, and it was niiiiice. It was still pretty slow because of the depth of the snow drifts, but so much better on my back and knees than shoveling.
Finished the back, got around front and did everything that I could, including spending some time helping the neighbor folks unbury their cars from the plowdrifts that were locking them in. Probably three hours outside making the snow go away.
It's not something I'm gonna use every day, but it's certainly saved my ass today and I suspect that it will come in handy in the future.