What's A Burned Thumb To A Manly Man? At Least The Snowblower's Oil Is Changed

Men are weekend warriors.

We are always engaged in a dubious battle with some chore, some project, some piece of homeowner machinery. This brings me to the oil-drain plug on the snowblower, which I have managed to strip beyond recognition.

So a one-hour job, changing the oil, becomes a Saturday.

This is, unfortunately, not unusual. Once a weekend warrior gets involved in a man vs. machine conflict it becomes an all-consuming death match.

In an effort to loosen the bolt, I first try every tool in the weekend-warrior arsenal, each weapon making the problem worse. At some point I introduce the hammer. Whenever you see a man hitting a piece of machinery with a hammer, it is a sure sign things are not going well.

It becomes apparent that a second opinion is needed, so I go to the hardware store. The guys at the hardware store know everything. Google is good; the guys at the hardware store are better.

I buy some tools, which makes me feel extra manly. Generally speaking, any task that requires the purchase of a new tool is a good thing. The tools do not help. The bolt is too far gone for conventional means.

At some point it occurs to me that car people must know how to deal with stripped bolts: Their knuckles depend on it. So I go to the automotive store, where I explain the problem. The guy behind the counter has the answer.

"What you want to do," he says, "is weld a good nut to the stripped bolt." Then, as an afterthought, he asks, "You do have a welder at home, right?"

Now I may look like many things, but a guy who owns a welder is not one of them. I can see the man behind the counter is disappointed.

"How about a torch?" he asks. "Get your torch and heat it up." He explains something about heat and expanding and contracting, but I don't really grasp the concept. I don't do torches, either.

Instead, I go home and hold a lighter to the bolt. I burn my thumb. On the plus side, the lighter does not cause the adjacent gas tank to explode.

I'm in the process of turning the snowblower upside down to see if the oil will drain through the fill tube, when I notice there is a second drain plug on the other side of the engine block.

Huh.

Six hours, two new tools, one burned thumb and a lot of really bad words later, the oil in the snowblower is changed.

Chalk up yet another weekend-warrior victory.

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