Thursday, April 6, 2017

Queen of Broken Shovels – Part Duex

The editor of sincerely apologizes to Trillian for the late publishing of this post.  But since it snowed yesterday in Maine, she feels somewhat vindicated.

Queen of Spades Broken Shovels – Part Duex

Written 15 March 2017

Our survival from last month’s nor’easter was made possible by a gracious offer to transport a member of the house to a local small engine repair store for snow blower parts. Our survival from this month’s nor’easter named Stella was a bit of different story.

After the previous storm there was only two surviving shovels - even after a passerby plowed the end of the driveway leaving a snow pile two Butterface's deep and the snowblower was repaired. However, those shovels weren’t so handy, except to Benji-Mouse and Frankie, as they were child sized shovels. No amount of shoveling with a quarter sized snow shovel would un-bury us from a typical New England winter storm. Zaphod duly obtained replacements between the storms and with the snowblower repaired we were prepared for whatever spring surprise might await us. Then came Stella.

Safely nestled into our beds for the night, we awaited any school cancelations or delays in the morning. I awoke early and checked my email for an email from the principal. Surely enough, a two-hour delay. The storm wasn’t nearly as powerful as predicted. A forecast of 12 – 18 inches of snow became 5 – 8 inches of heavy wet snow. I rolled over and went back to sleep hitting the snooze alarm on my phone. Zaphod on the other hand took the opportunity to get busy moving snow.

After clearing the lower end of the driveway, just enough so we could get out the snowblower quit. Unbeknownst to me, it quit four times as the auger belt repeatedly needed to be adjusted before catastrophically failing.  As I stumbled downstairs for coffee, Zaphod presented me with the gift of said belt and sent me out to obtain a suitable replacement plus spare. Our snowblower tagged John Deere was actually made by Murray, although identical to either a Toro or Craftsman model. A google search provided the needed information and off I went.

I returned in enough time to drop the littles at school, only to find out the belts were too short. Sent out again, I went to the small engine repair shop and purchased replacements. Turns out these were also just a hair too short and the belt shredded. Zaphod was not amused.

Third time is a charm, right? Uh, no. Just no. Third attempt to an automotive repair chain was closer but no cigar. The right length, but just narrow enough to sit too deep in the pulley that it was too long. Another google search revealed that yet another area department store carried the part and had it in stock. I sent a text to Fenchurch that the part was available. Fenchurch with reward points in hand joined me. Alas, the parts and service department was at yet another location across town. We left without an auger belt, but three pairs of clearance shoes in its’ stead. Well, the reward points expire, right?

Do we go all the way across town to get the part? No, of course not. We go back to the first store, where I had been just eight hours earlier. It wasn’t perfect, but a a belt 0.15 inches too short was well within the 0.5 inch tolerance of the pulley.

Within an hour the driveway was nearly clear, well except the bank at the upper end of the driveway. But before next winter, the now out of round pulley needs replacement.  

Written by Trillian.

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