For those of you who don’t live around here, my part of the world got hammered by a major winter storm Sunday night. I’m not talking “Super-storm Sandy” levels of bad, but locally, the official total was 12” of snow. Yesterday morning, not much of anything was moving, and anyone who had any sense was staying inside. Late in the morning, I started digging myself out. That means clearing an 18” wide, 50’ long sidewalk just to get to the car parking area. Then I had to dig out the area around my vehicle, followed by excavating a way through the ‘berm’ of snow left by the Street Department’s plow as it cleared the alley. Once that was done, it was time to tackle the front walk so the postal delivery service could have access to my mail box. A wider, if shorter, sidewalk, but the same Street Department that plowed the alley had been blasting through most of the night to keep the main road in front of my house open, with an attending level of snow thrown up onto the surrounding area including, yes, my front sidewalk.
It wasn’t quite one of the ‘Labors of Hercules’, but it was no small task. And I will admit, it’s been a while since I faced a snowfall of this scale. That said, I soon had to face a simple fact:
I’ve become an old fat-ass.
I was forced to stop every few minutes to straighten up and give myself a chance to rest. Even in the cold and windy weather, I soon started to sweat. Before I had finished shoveling around my house, my insulated gloves were damp. Then I got a call from a shop that I’ve done some snow shoveling for asking me to clear their sidewalk/entrance.
Upon arriving, I soon found one fortunate occurrence: the same winds that had piled snow up in unfortunate places around my house had scoured most of the snow off the sidewalks around their building. The down side was that that same snowplows that had wreaked havoc on my front sidewalk had blocked the entrances to their sidewalk with a nearly-waist-high mound of compressed snow, a mass with the consistency of semi-set concrete. Worse, while the snow had been blown mostly away, it hadn’t cleared away enough to avoid leaving a skim of semi-melted snow that had frozen overnight. Looking over this, I drew up a quick-and-dirty plan of attack: blast a hole through the Street Department’s leavings, then clear the sidewalk…then make it as ‘pretty’ as possible.
An hour plus after starting, I had the job done. It wasn’t as pretty as I could have hoped for, and I didn’t do one of the usual things I do for the store owner: dig them a path from street-side parking through the ‘berm’ to their door. In my defense, the side street where the store owner usually parks had yet to be fully plowed, and even this morning when I went to collect my pay, it was still a royal mess, so to do more would have taken something like a Bobcat or a similar piece of equipment.
And every part of me is letting me know I did a lot of work. My back is telling me it wants to leave me for another, more ‘understanding’ man that won’t make similar demands on it. The muscles in my arms, especially my lower left arm, are screaming at me as I type this, letting me know they too are far from happy with me. And the gloves I wore yesterday? I think if I tried, I might just be able to get water out of them if I could squeeze them hard enough. Worse, as I type this, the sky is cloudy, and I am not terribly sure it might not decide to snow some more. I do hope it doesn’t. Local TV stations said we not only broke the record for most snowfall on that date, but that we also have broken the record for the snowiest November on record, going back as far as local records go.
So if the Weather Gods are listening, please don’t send us any more snow! I’m not sure my body could take any more shoveling just right now.