Wintery Adventures

I mock the weather guess, err, forecasters at every available opportunity. I chuckled heartily yesterday as they called for a potentially deep blanket of soft white snow. “A dusting”, I thought, “nothing more.” As I slept last night, however, Old Man Winter saw fit to give the weather types their due while simultaneously handing me a steaming, bitter bowl of comeuppance. Which is how I found myself standing before my garage door this afternoon, snow shovel in hand, wrapped like an Eskimo, cursing the holes in my tennis shoes. Yes, sure, I should buy some winter footwear, but how often is this business really necessary? Snow boots are expensive to be sitting in your closet 362 days a year!

Anyway, as I labored about my task, snowflakes swirling mockingly about my head, my mind drifted, as it often does in the course of repetitive physical activity. In the midst of the mental wandering, I came upon a monumental discovery: shoveling snow is a task born directly of Hell itself.

Sure, it seems like a good idea. You wake up and find your driveway covered in a contemptible blanket of icy whiteness that you just know is going to get packed down by the tire paths of numerous car trips and will survive somehow until early summer. Something must be done, immediately, before your once-accursed minivan has a change to punch down the snow into a streak of long term ice, glistening at you every morning and conspiring to drop you flat on your ass with every perilous trip to the mailbox.

Beyond that, although you suspect that your neighbors are harboring a crew of illegally obtained oompa-loompas, are leaving hundred dollar bills and notes with nothing but an address in the driver’s seats of municipal snow plows, or somehow obtained a visit from the little known Driveway Defrost Fairy, every other nearby driveway is somehow completely clear of snow by 8:30 am. You can’t be the only knob on your street with a driveway that requires a GPS to locate on approach and chained snow tires to traverse.

The worst part of shoveling snow is that the task increases in difficulty several orders of magnitude as you progress. Of course it starts off easily enough, with the soft powder near the garage that your mighty shovel brushes away with little effort, like a hot knife through butter. As you tire, though, you begin to reach more troublesome spots, like the cracks in the concrete that catch and hold the blade of the shovel, driving the handle straight into your, um, generous, mid-section as you keep going forward. The sidewalk, too, causes much consternation. By the time you reach it, you’ve trained your mind to stop only at the grassy edge of the driveway, so you never realize you’re on the sidewalk until you find yourself a good 3-feet outside of the designated rectangle of clearance. You mutter exotic curses and consider how lucky you are not to have kept going until you reached the next street over, or China.

Eventually, you reach the street, only to find the last vicious trick of shoveling snow: the devilish “road snow”. No one knows what this crap is, but it is neither the same material nor state of matter as the stuff in your driveway. It’s icy, it’s slushy, it weighs 6 tons per shovel, and your muscles, nearly exhausted, are just not up to moving it. It’s got to go, though, never mind the fact that you can’t feel your toes any longer or that you’re sweating through your Guinness sweatshirt because you packed on more layers of fleece than any of Mary’s little lambs. No, no, the “road snow” must go, or you’ll be punishing your decidedly unmanly little fuel-friendly pre-middle-aged crisis import with a twice daily trip though a snow/slush/ice bank the equivalent height of a two-year old (it may look good in commercials, but it isn’t great for the longevity of the car). So, thanks Mr. City Plow Driver, I’m sorry I didn’t know about the hundred dollar bill tradition, but yes, by all means, please deposit the entire street’s worth of packed icy snow right in front of my house.

The best part is that after you clear that s*!t the first time, the plow will come back, just to make sure you have to drag your tired bones outside to clear it all again.

Finally, the biggest reason that shoveling snow is a task born directly of Hell itself? My snow shovel. The damned thing is the worst snow shovel in all of Christendom. I keep waiting for it to break, but of course, it doesn’t, it hangs on, clinging spitefully to some measure of utility, apparently knowing that I’m too cheap to buy another one just yet.

I hear we’re getting more snow tonight. They don’t know what they’re talking about thought. Bah, a dusting, nothing more. :p

pud’n