When I was a little girl my grandfather used to tell me, “The men? They go out and do the work. The women? They stay home and have the babies.” He was from a different time after all; a time where in all fairness, it was often true that women did not enter the workforce. Regardless of the fact that in addition to having children most of his six daughters were at some point gainfully employed, the suggestion that I was destined without choice to do no more than stay home and make more Italian babies just absolutely burned me up. By the time I was a teenager it shaped me, fueled me, baited me to declare myself a feminist and shout out to anyone who would listen that I could take on any job I wanted, for there was no such thing as a “man’s profession”.
I still believe that, and yet now that I am a married thirty-something with a family, I’ll be the first to admit to a degree of double standard in my home. There are certain outside jobs that I deem my husband’s responsibility. I am fortunate that he is willing to take on these jobs, because otherwise our grass would be very long, our foliage unkempt, and our driveway unplowed and walkways impassible.
He has spent a lot time outside this winter while I have remained indoors dry and warm with the kids, watching him from the windows.
Yes, it’s been pretty easy for me, until today.
Today’s storm was tricky. I was able to bring the kids to school and carry on with my usual work from home shift. My husband went into the office and worked his full day. There came a point in the afternoon where I realized that I was not getting out of my driveway to pick up my young without plowing assistance. The stark realization that followed was the understanding that the only assistance I would obtain was going to come from my own hands.
So I ventured out there all bundled up and called my husband for a quick how-to on the snowblower. He helped me get it started and all seemed to be going well.
Well, that was after I actually got the damn thing out of the garage. I kept pushing it and it wouldn’t move. It turns out that there’s a whole lever thing that my husband might have mentioned but for whatever reason I did not grasp at first.
Our neighbor was outside at the time. Instead of helping me he had a nice little chuckle at my expense.
I just want to say that it was a total accident when I blew the snow into his already plowed driveway.
He went inside after that.
He should have stuck around, because he missed the part where I almost hit the van when my coat got stuck on the make-it-go lever. The damn thing kept moving and in my panic I slipped and fell. Good times.
So I ran the thing until it stalled and was too afraid to start it up again, and was proud of myself thinking I had done such a great job. I didn’t plow the whole driveway but I did enough to give us a place to park and moved enough snow that we could get out onto the street. Yes, I was proud of myself until later this evening when my husband went out to finish the rest of the driveway and came back inside with this:
That would be the string that is supposed to be attached to the pull-thingy that you yank on to start the motor.
You see? This is why I don’t touch the power equipment. It’s not even a woman thing; it’s a Maria thing. Yes, it is safe to say that my plowing days are over. I’m not sure he’d let me touch it again if I wanted to.