Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Snowblower and a trip to Saturn

"Now, Cupid don't draw back your bow, Sam Cooke didn't know what I know,
I'll never be your valentine, The sleepwalker in me
and God only knows that I've tried."
-The Wallflowers

Do you have your bread, batteries, eggs and milk? Is your arsenal stocked with weapons of mass destruction so you can fend off thugs and interlopers who impinge upon your stash? They did not plan for the storm. They didn't take the doomsayers seriously. But you did! No category four kill-storm is going to take your life! No effin' way, baby.

Because you know that there will never be a cow milked ever again, or bread levened and baked, or eggs harvested from the warm nests under plump chickens, you are prepared.

Your fridge is stocked with precious Milk and Eggs. Your pantry is full of Bread. You have Beer. You have batteries. You will survive. The other jokers? Tell them to take their complaints to Darwin.

(long time readers saw that whole bit above coming. You all know how I feel about the media frenzy that is storm reporting. I hope that you're all finding me somewhat entertaining this morning).

The category four death storm slipped in quietly sometime after midnight when I went to bed (Damn you Futurama for being funny and keeping me up!) I woke up this morning to Geoff squealing with delight when he saw our school district on the crawler at the bottom of the news screen.

There isn't a ton of snow -- but it is coming down really fast and the flakes are tiny. Which if memory serves me correctly means that this is not the end of things. The end is when the flakes get huge, like your head. The flakes are the ones you like to catch on your tongue and have dance on your eyelashes. These aren't flakes any more than they are water pellets on a mission.

On the news they are saying that a lot of this will get washed away, and then tonight it will ice over and be insanely slippery.

My world will look like a giant glazed doughnut.

We bought a snow blower (I call it a snow thrower, but my family thinks I'm a dingus for calling it that so I will call it snow blower hithertoforth) on Monday night.

After Geoff's class presentation, we went up to Sam's Club, plopped down the credit card and picked up a monstrous beast. It is huge. Far larger than I imagined. The snow eating portion of the machine is as wide as the back of the inside of my Subaru Outback. We know that because we lifted it up into the back of the Outback to bring it home.

It fit in perfectly width wise--but there was one problem. The snow shooter portion of the machine, you know -- the part that blasts the snow to other parts of the neighborhood and thus gets it out of your way... the part that rotates when you crank the doo-hickey so you can shoot the snow hither and yon. Yeah. That part. Well. That part was a fraction of an inch too tall to fit inside the hatchback. So we were faced with a crisis.

Doug tried to remove it. We didn't have any tools. He tried to remove the entire tube apparatus from the body of the beast, but again -- no tools. And, it is quite an intricate piece of machinery. I started to fear that he'd bust it in his efforts... so I suggested that we bring it back inside and leave it overnight.

Good thing I did suggest that because it was 8:26 and the store closed at 8:30. They gladly let us keep it there overnight. And then we got back into the car, feeling slightly defeated.

I found myself missing my pickup truck with a white-hot burning passion. The Quimby Mobile would have easily handled that snow thrower, I mean, snow blower, and maybe three others. It was so mighty. The Subaru may get twice the gas mileage that the truck got, but damn if there aren't times when you just need the mother humpin' behemoth of a pick-up. And I sat there in the parking lot regretting our decision to trade him in. We should have kept him just to have him. Doug said no... why pay for insurance and excise tax and what not. I said ... but we NEEEEEEEEED a truck at least once a month. It would be worth it.

We cut our car payments in half by trading it in... which is good. But it is also bad. Don't get me wrong--I love my Subaru. It kicks major ass. But when I have to transport three dogs and some camping gear -- it isn't going to be fun. And Monday night I longed for the beast in all his glory.

Luckily, My Girl C has a big huge giant pickup truck and was free to give us a hand last night. *Doffs cap to C with great thanks and love.

The snow blower is in my garage now. Waiting. And if the forecasting and prognostication is correct, we may not need it at all in the end. And we may not need it at all between now and December 2007.

But. We have it. It is here. It is in the garage. And it waits to do its thing.

I mentioned that Geoff has a presentation on Monday night. The fourth grade does something called Alien Fair every year. Basically, they break up into teams and research a planet. They then become residents of the planet, and emissaries to prospective tourists in kind of a tourist board sort of presentation. They dress up and try to convince you to come visit their planets. They tell hopeful vacationers what the weather is like on their planet, what the history is, what the geology is all about, and explain what kind of "adaptations" humans may have to use to survive on the planet and enjoy their vacation.

It is really cute, and the kids did a great job. Geoff and two buddies got Saturn, and Geoff designed the costumes. The boys on his team were like "That's perfect... thanks for doing all the work!" and then the moms (well, one boy's mom and I) bought the stuff to make their "adaptations."

They made jet packs and wore cool red sweatshirts that they painted with pictures of Saturn and a big letter S. They wore safety cones on their heads for hats... they were a total riot.

Check it out:

4th Grade Alien Night - Exploration of the Universe
4th Grade Alien Night - Exploration of the Universe
4th Grade Alien Night - Exploration of the Universe

top left - Geoff's jet-pak from the back. Do not imply that I made beer funnels for my boys. Or the adults for after the presentation.

top right - Geoff's teacher dressed up as an alien too. She oversees the Alien Tourism Board and I gotta say, the woman cracks me up.

direct left - Geoff with his Tri-board presentation and his welcoming hand signal to the masses. Nerd.

As we drove home, he broke my heart. He was dead silent and kind of droopy. I asked him if he was tired and drained, because he's had a horrible cold for a few days.

"No. I'm just sad," was his reply. I knew exactly where he was going and could feel why he was sad. I tried to throw him a bone...

"Why are you sad buddy -- Alien Night was a blast. It was so much fun, and you will have so many great memories of tonight," I tried to encourage him.

"I'm sad because it is over," he softly answered. "I waited all year for this. I worked so hard, and looked forward to it so much, and just like that... it is done and over," he sighed and actually I thought he was going to cry. Not cry like a baby or whine like a jerk. But honestly he was feeling so deeply sad about the loss of something being over that he'd shed tears about it. Which is rare for Geoff.

"I wish every day was alien fair. I can't believe it is done and I have nothing to look forward to for the rest of the year."

He's right. There is nothing to look forward to for the rest of the year except the year ending. I had nothing to give him for encouragement.

I had nothing to offer him to salve the sad.

"I can print out some pictures of you in your suit if you like. With your friends. I can put them in little frames and you can have those to look at on your shelf," I offered. "Would that make you feel a little better?"

He nodded. So I will do that for him. At least, it is something.

Anyway -- I need to hit the road. I have hung out here long enough. I don't like leaving the kids solo -- especially when Jess is in bed (you know when you get up at 6:30 and you are 14 you are SO going back to bed, even if you got fully dressed because you are SO smart and think they'll never EVER close school for this stupid storm). But I have a full day's work ahead -- and best get to it.

More later.

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