My older sister Mary and I live in different cities. That hasn’t stopped us from being close. We talk at least every other day, usually when she or I are walking our dogs. It’s the perfect time to catch up. The talks have also revealed a side of Mary that I had never in all our years of chats seen. The calmest woman I know, who is usually talking me down from a flaming mountain, has a flashpoint: Leaf blowers.

She hates them with a burning red-hot passion. She doesn’t just hate them. She loathes them. She detests them. She thinks they are an abomination. The other day we were talking and she was using the walk to train her new rescue dog, Aggie, how to heel. Suddenly, she started swearing.

“I crossed the street to avoid a #$$#$*! leaf blower and now he is blowing dirt right at us from across the street,” she raged. “He is scaring Aggie!”

Leaf blower use, my friends, is why we should be grateful we live in Northeast Ohio. Apparently in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., they use leaf blowers to blow leaves, dirt and pebbles, snow and any acorn, twig, stick or wayward nut (my sister excluded) that dares land on their pristine sidewalks, lawns and driveways.

Here I thought they were just a nuisance in the fall. She is dealing with them 12 months a year. It got me thinking. What DO people use their leaf blowers for other than blowing leaves into a pile on the tree lawn, which I’m pretty sure is what 99% of sane Ohioans do. I googled it.

My mind is officially blown (pun sort of intended). I found a list of 27 uses of — some I sincerely hope were tongue-in-cheek — in a blog on the website www.leafblowerguide.com. I must share, but I will add the warning of “Do not try these at home, children.”

Some are pretty straightforward, the No. 1 use of clearing large amounts of leaves, as well as Nos. 10 and 11, clearing grass clippings, pine needles and acorns. The others are frankly scary. Here we go:

Cleaning rain gutters. Maybe if the contents are perfectly dry. My experience is that stuff is usually gooey. Are you blowing it into your next door neighbors yard, btw?

Dusting. Yep. Dusting what? Lawn furniture? Grandma’s collection of Hummels?

Removing “shallow snow.” Man up. Shallow snow here in Cleveland is just allowed to melt. What, are you yearning to see your pockmarked cement driveway?

Clearing puddles. Did the puddle do something to offend you?

Chasing out rodents. Chasing them out of what? Your basement? Your yard? If you see Mickey Mouse, is he sticking around long enough for you to grab your leaf blower?

Drying surfaces. My guess is that a towel would be more efficient. However, the thought of surprising my husband by using a leaf blower on him as he steps out of the shower is … intriguing.

OK, I’m running out of column space and the other suggestions are so wacky I’ll just list them: building a foam machine; building a hoverboard; maintaining your astroturf; cleaning gravel pathways; providing air to your backyard forge; firefighting (doesn’t fire feed on oxygen?); cleaning your PC (Oh. My. God.); unclogging your dryer vent (maybe); clearing your roof shingles … and picking them up three blocks away; as a prop for funny pictures or videos; powering yourself on roller skates; experimenting with fluid dynamics (Oh, I do that every weekend); combatting tear gas; building a ping pong ball cannon; fighting mosquitoes; improving your batting skills; and running wires by attaching cork to the end of the wire and using the blower to blow the wire to the end of a pipe.

And here all I ever did was blow leaves to the curb lawn. I’m so … boring.

Contact this reporter at editor@westlifenews.com or 440-871-5797.

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