Until 2003, I lived in a part of Norway that gets about 7 ft of snow every year, so after a brief period of sweaty and aching mornings I invested in a small snow-blower. Then I moved to a place about 20 ft above sea level, where snowfalls are few and far between. But my little snow blower has brought unexpected benefits.
The first winter here was bare and cold until late January, when I woke up one morning to about a foot of snow. It was before seven in the morning and the office beckoned, so I dressed warmly and got to it.
I was a little worried, though. My next-door neighbor, with whom I share the driveway, is unofficial Norwegian champion sleeper and likes to delay the vertical part of life as long as possible. I wondered how he would react to the noise from the snow-blower at a time he considered to be just after bedtime. But I had to get to work, so I pulled the cord and started.
Half an hour later I was done, garaged my little machine (which is more like a motorized broom than a real snow-blower, except in the noise-making department) and got inside for a brief thaw-out and the day’s first coffee.
Then the doorbell rang. I prepared for the worst and nervously opened the door. There stood my neighbor, in slippers and morning coat and with his hair in all directions.
He had woke up, seen the snow and resigned himself to having to get up and do something about it when he heard me start the engine. He didn’t know I had a snow blower, and explained with an ecstatic expression that little snow-blower with a missing muffler was "the most beautiful sound he had ever heard."
Whereupon he handed me a bottle of Cognac and returned to bed.
PS: We have since formalized the arrangement. I blow the driveway, and he buys one bottle of wine per snowfall, which we consume with a delightful dinner sometime in April.