Justin Haynes, of Precision Sharpening and Repair Service, works on repairing a Snapper snowblower that had a run-in with a pole.

Photo by Tom Ross

Justin Haynes, of Precision Sharpening and Repair Service, works on repairing a Snapper snowblower that had a run-in with a pole.

Tom Ross: Reunited, and it feels so good

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Tom Ross

Tom Ross' column appears in Steamboat Today. Contact him at 970-871-4205 or tross@SteamboatToday.com.

Find more columns by Tom here.

— I’m pleased to announce that my snowblower and I are back together again after a lengthy trial separation. And once again, our relationship is in the hands of outdoor power tool relationship counselor Jim Pavlik.

I took my 17-year-old workhorse into Precision Sharpening and Repair Service bright and early Monday morning to jump-start our relationship and find out why the darn thing won’t turn over. So I was relieved to hear Sandy Kebodeaux say the waiting list is only about two weeks long and rapidly receding now that Pavlik and Justin Haynes are putting in overtime to catch up with the holiday backlog.

The combination of abundant November snow (it’s 40 inches deep on the west summit of Rabbit Ears Pass) and the natural tendency of Yampa Valleghenians to put things off has kept Pavlik and his sidekicks plenty busy. And I’ll be pushing snow with a scoop for a few more storms.

“It’s been wild,” Pavlik said between french fries. “I like a lunch I can eat with one hand so I can turn a wrench with the other. It’s tough when people procrastinate, but this is a valley full of procrastinators.”

There aren’t a lot of places in Northwest Colorado to get one’s snowblower repaired, and it’s an essential service. Jim Hansen, one of the new owners of the Steamboat Sears store along with Kevin Sankey, said High Desert Outdoor Power in Craig comes to Steamboat once a week Thursdays to fix snowblowers on site at Sears. There already was a small fleet of machines waiting for this week’s house call in the back room at Sears.

It’s my own fault that my snowblower isn’t working. I broke its heart.

I walked out on my faithful machine in July 2008 when I moved into a townhome with a homeowners association that promised to cover snow removal for a modest fee. For the rest of my life, I was going to shovel snow only when I was in the mood.

Well, the joke’s on me. I’m back in my single-family home, and the machine I counted on for so long is acting like a jilted lover. It refuses to start. It won’t even cough.

I thought my tenants would help my snowblower get over me, but I’ve since learned that 25-year-old dudes from below the Mason-Dixon Line aren’t familiar with our snow removal customs.

Or as they might say, “If you own a four-wheel-drive vehicle, why would you waste an hour walking behind a snowblower, when you could be sleeping?”

For the past two winters, my tenants have just driven over the top of the snow.

Which makes me wonder, “What would happen if I pretended there wasn’t any snow in the driveway for the rest of the winter?”

Nah, I can’t go there.

— To reach Tom Ross, call 871-4205 or e-mail tross@steamboatpilot.com

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