Friday, February 1, 2008

Putting the "ow" in plow!

I have a STEEP driveway. It's the price I pay for my beautiful view, and quiet, and privacy. In life there are trade-offs, and when I bought my home, I thought I knew what I was doing. Last year I spent my first winter here. I hired a plow-guy. It didn't snow a lot last year but he still did a pretty crummy job on my driveway, and the last storm, which was the biggest, the ass-hat didn't show up at all. I was just a little put out, when I got home and had to park in the street and trudge up, not only because I live on a very narrow country road with no "on street" parking, but also because trudging is very low on my list of things I enjoy doing.

In the spring I decided to buy a big ol' truck, which I need for my business anyway, and a plow so I can do it myself, and not be dependent on some creepy half-wit to do it. So, I have been plowing my own driveway this winter, and there has been plenty of snow, and lots of opportunities for me to hone my plowing prowess as it were.

This last storm we had a couple weeks ago which dumped about 9 inches of hard-pack snow, the kind that's great for snowmen and snowball fights delivered a whole new experience to me. I keep a close eye on the weather to try to be sure that my truck and I will be at the top of the driveway in the event of a storm, because going down first is MUCH easier than the other way around. The storm came, I waited it out, and when it seemed like it was over, I went out to make with plowing. I plowed down the left side first, lifted the blade, went back up, repeated on the right side, no problem. Got back up, plowed the top, went back down to clean up better, went back up, nope, not this time. I lost my traction and couldn't get up. I backed down the road a ways to get a better run at it. I gunned it and got most of the way up the incline before I lost traction again, and started sliding backwards down the driveway. I struggled to get the truck into reverse, and pumped the brakes but just kept picking up speed. Wheeeeeeee! I'm gonna die! My butt was clenched so hard I thought my eyes would pop out of my head. I dropped the blade even though there was no snow left to pile up behind it and slow my decent. I knew that the snow bank on the other side of the road would not impede my progress towards the nearest tree, and there was nothing I could do about it. Then, right at the bottom of the driveway, somehow something dug in, and I stopped broadside in the road, my bumper about an inch from the snowbank on the other side. I just sat there collecting myself for a minute, trying to relax my grip on the steering wheel.

I decided to walk up. I wiped out almost immediately and realized I could not keep my footing on the driveway, so I walked up the side in the deep snow. When I got to the house, I put my snowshoes on, got a bin with sand and salt in it, put it on a sled and made my way back down the driveway sanding and salting until I reached the bottom. I threw everything in the back of the truck and braced myself for another attempt.

I made it! *phew* I called my client, and said, I won't be leaving the house today, so I'll see you tomorrow. It was then that I understood why my plow-guy disappeared without a trace, but he still could've called.


Debra Kay said...

I bet you could make a few dollars letting people drive your snowplow (on a flat surface). I'd love to give it a try. Imagine, what a great new come on line..."hey baby, wanna drive my snowplow?"

heartinsanfrancisco said...

I'm glad you and your truck made it.

I lived on top of a mountain in Vermont which froze solid in winter. My car lived at the bottom and my daughter and I slid down on a toboggan every day until it was stolen.

New England winters are special, and yeah, the guy could have called.

Anonymous said...

HAHA that was a great story! I could have done without the butt clenching before my eyes popped out but the line did the job! Hhehheee!! I'm just sitting here cackling away, drinking lemonade and sweating like a pig lifting my two fingers on a keyboard, even with the fan on! Even reading about all your FREEZING snow!!

Wieneke said...

What a story!! How many times a year do you have to do this trick? :-) How many months is there snow?

RED MOJO said...

debra kay, I'll try it!

heartinsanfrancisco, How did you stop at the bottom?

anon, I'm glad my story tickled you!

wieneke, Snowfall varies, but I would say between 2 and 10 times a month.

charlotta-love said...

Why I'm glad to live in Georgia:
1. No snow on my driveway
2. ...well, no snow anywhere.

kj said...

i can vouch for the decline and incline of this driveway. rm is rugged and brave.


Ces said...

Hahaha! Great story. Sounds like you live in the prairie. I heard it is beautiful though. You're right about trade offs. At least you still have your sense of humor. Haha!

Miladysa said...

I was thinking how brave you were, then clenching my backside and laughing at the end!

Great post :]

RED MOJO said...

charlotta-love, 2 things:
1. I envy you
2. don't rub it in!

kj, Testify sister!

ces, A sense of humor at all times, one of my "life rules"

miladysa, I'm glad you liked it, thank you.

citizen of the world said...

That graphic is hysterical. At first, I thought there was a little person (the yellow thing, I guess it's the plow) leaning backwards against the bumper, pushing the truck down the hill.

But I have to say, reading this made me thankful for mild Southern winters.

Dorky Dad said...

OK, I'm going to stop complaining about my driveway now.

Great graphic!

RED MOJO said...

citizen, I guess that does look a little like a person...mild winters are better, and NO winter is best!

Dorky, No need to stop complaining, you're so funny when you do.

Diesel said...

Whoa, I totally had that same driveway growing up. You'd get 3/4 up it and then start sliding back down. Scary.

tsduff said...

Let me remind you again why you want to move back to California.


You had me clenching right along with you as I read your account :D

RED MOJO said...

diesel, Scary is right!

tsduff, No reminding necessary!

Slip said...

Been plowing all my life. Basic science at work here Mojo. Once you remove the nice insulating blanket of snow from the driveway the damn thing will freeze and become slicker then snot on a door knob. Same reason the roads form black ice. Make an investment in a small sander to mount on the back of your rig, well worth it. If the weather stays cold and you get more snow to move after your first plow it does not get nearly so slick.

RED MOJO said...

slip, thanks for the advice. I know sand is helpful. Those little spreaders cost about $1300, not to mention they are probably fairly difficult to get on and off the truck, and I need the back off the truck available for lumber, sheetrock, furniture etc. I'm afraid I'm just going to have to continue to hand sand it. Last year I had 4 barrels stationed up the side, full of salt and sand, and it hardly snowed, this year, I didn't get it done, and viola, my life sucks!