Bill Roper (billroper) wrote,
Bill Roper

Pluses and Minuses

It's the New Year, so I really felt like I should get on the exercycle again this morning, something that I haven't done (between colds and holidays) since getting back from the cruise. I hit the button to start the timer and found that it didn't start.

Ok, fine. Change the batteries. But there are no AA batteries upstairs. So down to the kitchen junk drawer where I find batteries. I put them in the exercycle timer and it still won't start. That's irritating. I just had this brand-new timer installed last year.

Of course, the batteries could be bad. Dig in the desk drawer to find the voltmeter. Check it to make sure that its battery is good. (It was.) Check the new batteries. They're fine. Check the old batteries. They're also fine.

So the timer is mysteriously a corpse. This means a conversation with the Schwinn shop that I'll have later.

In the meantime, I'm listening to the weather report on the headphones. Starting tonight through tomorrow, WBBM is predicting 8-12 inches of snow. Apparently, the protective effect of the new all-wheel-drive car has worn off.

Fortunately, I have a snowblower. Unfortunately, I never drained the last cup or so of gas out of it last spring, so starting it was likely to be chancy. daisy_knotwise and I had discussed the advisability of taking it in for a tuneup in October, but there'd been no time and I had admittedly omitted the key phrase, "Would you please take the snowblower in for a tuneup?", using instead the far less reliable, "We need to take the snowblower in for a tuneup."

(There are some who might argue that taking the beast in for a tuneup is the man's job, but the man does not drive the minivan around town, nor does he have the occasional morning free to get the beast to the shop. Nevertheless, a wise man would be more direct when attempting to offload the responsibility, because having failed to do so, he will be confident -- at least in his own mind -- that he has screwed this up.)

I pull the cord. A lot. Frequently. The snowblower won't start. On the other hand, there's only a bit of gas left, so I decide to try refilling it from the can of gas from last year. Still no go. I use a bad word. I really want this snowblower to start now so that I can have some level of confidence that it's going to work when I need it, which -- according to WBBM -- may be as early as tomorrow morning.

Well, one of the reasons that I got this snowblower was the electric starter. It's time to find out if it will work. I find -- against all odds! -- the power cord. Rather than push my luck by looking for an extension cord just then, I decide to haul the snowblower onto the porch and plug it into the outlet there.

It didn't start. Let's try that again. And again. And on the fifth try, it started with a cloud of white smoke. I let it run for several minutes -- no doubt delighting the neighbors who were probably trying to figure out who was running a snowblower at 8 AM when there was no snow. But this seemed to blast out most of the carbon, and it was running pretty clean when I shut it down.

I went upstairs to wash my hands and announce to Gretchen that:

a) the snowblower had started
b) if I were ever to say something this indirect on the subject of the snowblower again, please assume that I am asking you to take the snowblower to the shop -- or, at least, ask me if that's what I mean. :)

This announcement might have been more effective if I hadn't interrupted her in the shower. But I digress.

Work, by contrast, was relatively calm, despite the boss and the new QE director being in from Stamford to visit. Doug, the guy who runs our programming group, was supposed to fly to Stamford tomorrow to make a presentation -- we'll see if he makes it out (or back!) given the weather forecast.

I ducked out of work and met Gretchen for dinner, then headed home for a hour-long conference call about which I'll say more later.

Gretchen made cocoa later in the evening and we sat in the living room, enjoying the lights on our lovely Christmas tree which will have to be coming down shortly.

On the other hand, if we've got 12 inches of snow, they'll be in no hurry to take it away. We'll see what happens.
Tags: anecdote, home, musings, work

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