By Anessa V. Cohen

So the first week of 2014 brought with it our first snowstorm of the year–and I hope the last one of the year. You never know; with wishful thinking, sometimes it pans out.

Every year, at the beginning of the winter season, I remind you all about preparing for that great snowfall by getting your snow shovels, machines, and salt ready so you won’t get caught on the day of all that snow with nothing to use to get rid of it other than some spoons from your kitchen.

Well, this year I almost got caught–hoisted by my own petard! The day of the storm, I pulled out my trusty snow-blowing machine with all the fancy switches–only one year old, purchased after Sandy ate my old one. I filled it with gas and oil, but it refused to start when I tried to test it.

There I was on the day after New Year’s when all the repair places seemed to be closed or on vacation, with a basically new snowblower that I could not start and a snowstorm due to drift in that evening.

By late afternoon, after trying to call any place that might be able to look at my machine, I had resigned myself to either using the old trusty snow shovel for the snow, or even paying someone to clear my driveway and steps. How ridiculous I felt with that huge new snowblower taking up a large portion of the front of my garage where I had readied it for the coming snow.

As I was getting desperate, I called the company that built the snowblower to see if the people there could give me any ideas to get this monster in my garage going so I could be assured of its working for the snowstorm.

I got the guy from technical assistance on the phone, and the first question he asked me was whether I had removed all the old gasoline from the machine after I finished using it last season. I told him that last season it was new and I had only used it one time, and I would not have even thought of emptying it out. His answer to me was that now I had gunked up the carburetor and needed to empty the gasoline out, spray in carburetor cleaner, and then put in fresh gasoline.

I could not believe what he told me! Has anyone ever seen a “freshness date” on gasoline like you would see in the supermarket on food items? I could understand he wanted to make sure there was clean gasoline in the snowblower, but fresh gasoline? Rather than antagonize him further, since he was the only human I had been able to find who was even remotely willing to assist me, and realizing that the news kept repeating “heavy snowfall by 9 p.m.,” I sucked in my breath and said, “Okay, can you walk me through the process of cleaning out the carburetor on my snowblower?”

So I will share his instructions with the rest of you and only hope that if you ever have to do this, it will be in warm weather when you are preparing for winter, not in 15-degree weather when it is ready to snow at any minute!

He told me to sit on the ground (just what I wanted to do in the freezing cold!) take off the bolts holding the cover of the carburetor, and stick a hose in to siphon out the gas (or just let it pour out if you want to do it bohemian style). He then said that if the red gauge stick is gunked up, remove it (too many details) and then spray the carburetor cleaner inside. Clean it all out, and then put the red stick back in (I wondered if I would get a certificate for all this when I was done, like taking a course) and then replace the cover and the two gold bolts, and then add gasoline and try starting it again.

Now I don’t know about you, but I was not excited about going through all of this without a guarantee that when I was finished it would definitely work. So now that I wrote down all the instructions, I needed to sit down and ponder whether I was ready to attempt this on such a cold day.

I was still thinking about this at 6 p.m. so we called a tzaddik–Shimon S. I told him that we were having some difficulty getting the snowblower going, and he said, “Let me grab something to eat and then I will be right over.”

Shimon came over, tried out the machine, discounted what the technician from the manufacturer said about having to clean out the carburetor, and opened up the gasoline line a little, then started the snowblower as if it was brand new and starting for the first time. Completely amazed, I asked him, “What was the problem?”

“A little air in the line, that is all!” he answered. And that is how my snowblower became ready to go an hour before the storm!

Now I asked him, “How much do I owe you?” and his answer was, “Just make a berachah for a refuah sheleimah for my sister, Amaliah bat Juliet.”

So please have her name in mind! v

Anessa Cohen lives in Cedarhurst and is a licensed real-estate broker and a licensed N.Y.S. mortgage originator with over 20 years of experience, offering full-service residential, commercial, and management real-estate services (Anessa V Cohen Realty) and mortgaging services (First Meridian Mortgage) in the Five Towns and throughout the tri-state area. She can be reached at 516-569-5007 or via her website, Readers are encouraged to send questions or comments to

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