Bryan Paul Sullo

The Right Tool for the Job

In A Funny Thing Happened, Life in General on 3 January 2014 at 12:32 pm

Does your family get on your case for hoarding saving useless junk? Is your standard response, “It might come in handy one day.”? Well, you’re right!

With all the excitement of having twins in July, I forgot to police the walkways for foreign objects this fall. Living in New England, that’s an important annual chore. It means the difference between a successful snow-blowing session and one that ends with a doormat wrapped around the auger and wedged into the impeller. Today was an example of the latter.

You’d think, with the ease that this can happen, that someone would design some sort of release mechanism that allows you to remove foreign objects easily. But, I digress. A box-end wrench, a ratchet set, a hammer, and a nail-set later, I had the shear bolts out of the axle, but, with the pressure of the rubber door mat, I couldn’t get the augers to spin. I needed a lever—something long and narrow, but strong at the same time, that I could wedge into the auger to force it to turn. Wooden dowels, PVC pipes, aluminum cylinders: I had them all, but each would have bent or broken before budging the auger.

Scanning the cellar, I spied a stationary clay-pigeon-throwing apparatus that had been sitting in the same spot for about three years. It’s broken, and I was either going to fix it, or salvage it for parts. Realizing it contained the exact part I needed, I decided it was time to salvage. Thirty minutes later, I had worked the auger around and coaxed out the doormat. Hooray for hoarding!

There’s something to be said for having the right tool for the job—even when it wasn’t meant to be a tool. There’s probably more to be said, though, about proper planning, and getting things done while you have the chance. I’d like to say I’m not going to make this mistake next year. I’d like to say this is the first time this has happened. Maybe ingenuity is simply a way to compensate for having a thick head.

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