January 6, 2005

The Whovel vs. The Widowmaker

After the first two "magical" winters of my time in New England, snow got old. Once it sent my sled into a tree and me to the emergency room on New Year's Eve. Another time it sent my car into a ditch where it remained "parked" for a week. And every year, without fail, it sent me either to the poorhouse by paying the outrageous "plow-out " charges or to the chiropractor for a "seasonal adjustment." And I was one of the "lucky" men.

In New England, the first large snowfall of the winter is also known as "The Widowmaker" since the first determined mass suburban snow-shoveling of the season never fails to reveal which husbands have been hiding heart disease from themselves. Those are the "unlucky" men.

Now, however, American innovation has come forward and invented a gadget which, it seems, will go a long way towards enabling husbands to survive that otherwise fatal aftermath of the first snow -- The Whovel. Here's a picture of this modern marvel, this slap up the side of the head that says "Why didn't I think of that?"

whovel.jpg

But to really understand the brilliance of this invention, the sheer humanity of it, you have to know two things.

1) You have to have shoveled enough snow to know what an immense pain in the butt it really is.
2) You have to see it in action. Which you can: The Whovel Demo.

If you live in the snow-shoveling region, and you want to go on living, you have to get a Whovel. If not, you have to do what I did. Move.

Posted by Vanderleun at January 6, 2005 6:34 PM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

Very cool.

Yet I shan't be surrendering my snowblower anytime soon :-)

Posted by: Harvey at January 6, 2005 9:19 PM

About 20' of my driveway is situated between my neighbor's house and mine, making the jab n' toss method of snow removal impossible. I have to "snowplow" this area to either the street end or the backyard end which adds an hour to 3" of snowfall.

I came up with a brilliant way to clear the snow. I buy a sheet of heavy mil black tarp. When the snow starts to fall I lay out the 10' x 30' sheet on the driveway. As it gets 2-3" on it, I drag it out to the back, dump the snow and put the tarp back on the driveway. It takes all of 45 seconds.

2 problems: snow on plastic has a co-efficient of friction of like 0.00000001 which is very treacherous. Second problem is that if there is any freezing rain (like Cincinnati got on 12/22 on top of the 12" of snow), the tarp effectively becomes a permanent part of the driveway until the first thaw, at which time there is also 12 pounds of dog poop.

But, effectively applied, it's cheap and it works fast.

Posted by: JohnO at January 7, 2005 5:47 AM

Ever since my son bought me a 6 hp Sears Craftman self-propelled snow blower, 5 forward speeds and two in reverse, I've actually looked forward to my beloved New England Northeasters.

Posted by: nobody important at January 7, 2005 8:00 AM