My college roommate Tim, who retired after a successful banking/investing career, built himself a gorgeous new home in upstate Vermont. The idea was that he and his long-time, newly found lady were going to retire up there. Ski a lot.
Want to make God laugh? Tell him your plans. They both had serious oral surgery that first year.
Tim writes, 'êIn December we had eight feet of snow in a ten day period. Inside the house peering out the windows day after day, I watched huge amounts of snow settle around the house. It was even sliding down from the roof as well as just piling up on the deck. The deck is huge. And there was no place further to push the snow. I needed a snow blower.
'êLet me say a few words about power equipment. I do not like it. It rarely works in the right season; it takes space in the off seasons, and usually calls for replacement parts that can only be obtained from an off-shore country with whom we are probably at war.
'êBut having capitulated to getting a snow blower, I found that all those thrifty Vermonters had bought them all up. Believe it or not, Wal-Mart had shipped a bunch to a store in Florida! (Where are you, Sam, now that the company needs you?) So I bought one over the phone, sight unseen and never tried. The machine was the BMW of snow blowers and was the only one left. They said they would ship it to Vermont. So on a bleak cold day Winston and I drove the sixty miles to Burlington to pick it up.
"It was in a huge carton. (It weighed about the same as a BMW!) Now the problem was how to get the thing on to the deck, where I needed it, when the deck is one hundred feet away with eight feet of snow on the ground. Guess what. You don'êt. Air lifting would have been the right answer. So we went with plan B, which was to drag it through the house.
"Now things begin to get sticky. The house floors are tastefully carpeted with Persian carpets that Winston had been collecting for years. I assured her that the carpets would be fine as I would place cardboard, newspapers, etc. all the way through the house from the front door (small oriental), down the hall (long oriental runner), across the living room (BIG oriental), and out the sliding door to the deck.
"Winston was skeptical but she assented. And I, having unboxed the machine, started to drag it through the house. It was very hard going. I told Winston that if I could just start the machine and get power to the wheels, I could motor it right along its path.
"So without even looking at the manual I fired the thing up (Big Briggs and Stratton engine.) And when I engaged the clutch so that it would move forward, I inadvertently started the action for the blower. Carpet got sucked into it, Winston screamed. I shut the thing down. We patiently extricated the carpet that had fed itself to the machine, but I guess the thing was smart enough to realize that what it had been given to process was definitely not snow. The carpet had been stressed but it was OK. Winston looked knives at me. I finally got it out there to the deck where it did the job impressively. It'ês going to live there, ready and in place to use when I need it.
"At one point in the wrangle with Winston I said, 'Well. Wall-Mart probably has oriental carpets.' She did not think this was funny."