I fought the snow, and the snow won

There I stood, looking up at a white mountain of snow that seemed to reach the sky. The wind whipped a fine spray from the summit as though it were Everest.

I was awestruck by its size and beauty - but wished it wasn't in the middle of my driveway.

The day had begun with me inside the garage, trying to open the door. For about half an hour, in sub-zero temperatures, I chipped away at the ice between the bottom of the door and the pavement that had sealed it shut.

When the door finally opened to reveal the spectacular winter vista, my first thought was how beautiful it all was. It was like that scene in "The Wizard of Oz" where Dorothy's world turns from black and white to color - except in reverse. The world had been transformed into a glittering white wonderland.

After I stood there a few minutes admiring the view of nature in all its frozen splendor, I decided I'd better start my snowblower.

Like my garage doors, the snowblower wouldn't budge at first: It was frozen solid to the garage floor. It took 10 minutes of heaving it this way and that - like a team of dogs trying to break the sled runners loose - before I was able to budge it and drag it over to the open doorway.

Then - you guessed it - the thing wouldn't start.

When you're shoveling snow, a snowblower seems like a great idea. Then you spend $1,800 for one - only to discover that you expend about the same amount of energy getting one to start as you would shoveling 20 feet of driveway.

I told my reluctant snowblower that its mother was an Edsel, its father, a Pinto. And that did the trick because the snowblower coughed loudly into action.

I was so excited that I shoved it out into the snow, where it began throwing a huge white plume of snow over my head.

Unfortunately, I had forgotten to point the chute in the right direction, and a torrent of snow poured deep into my garage. I'm certain I heard a chuckle in the noise coming from the snowblower engine.

When I grabbed the chute to point it in another direction, it swung around and blasted a jet of freezing snow into my face, filling my eyes and nose before pouring down my neck. I opened my mouth to scream and swallowed a couple of pounds of snow before snapping my mouth shut.

I smacked the chute away from me and wiped the snow off my face. It actually took a couple of seconds to pry my eyes open.

At last the machine seemed to have gotten its revenge and began going in the direction I wanted, clearing a neat pathway through the snow on my driveway.

In defense of the snowblower, I have to say that when it was up and running and doing its thing, it did a good job. Well, it did until it reached the barricade of snow left by the town's snowplow at the end of my driveway.

Back and forth I pushed the snowblower - carefully coaxing it forward toward the main road about an inch at a time - as it shot a high arc of snow over my head. Then the wind picked up and began blowing snow back into the path I had cleared.

Before long, I disappeared into the middle of a "snowblower blizzard" that deposited more snow behind and on top of me than I was able to clear.

Then I heard a distant rumble. The sound reached a crescendo, and I saw the amber flashing light of the town plow as it began another sweep up my road.

It barreled forward with unstoppable force, throwing a tsunami of snow out in front of it. All I could do was stand there and stare as it came closer and closer. The beast roared past, and in a microsecond, my snowblower and I were completely engulfed in a tidal wave of snow. And I don't mean temporarily: I mean we were both buried.

I spat snow from my mouth, waved my arms, and yelled "Avalaaaanche" at the top of my lungs. As the snowplow roared away, I know I heard its driver let out a wild, maniacal laugh.

I began digging upward from my silent, snowy tomb. After a few minutes, I broke through into daylight. I then clawed my way - one hand at a time - out of the newly formed snowbank.

I knew what I had to do: I trudged back to my garage and retrieved the snow shovel - to dig out my snowblower.

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