This blog is a little nostalgic because my days of snow shoveling have come to an end. (Which may become a cause of celebration for my family.)
Confession: I am a snow shoveling Nazi who insists on a spotlessly shoveled driveway and walks. What made me that way?
During the terrible winters of 1977 and 1978, I was in middle school and had a paper route. My route was one on foot, and I appreciated those who shoveled their walks so much that I resolved to have well shoveled walks the rest of my life. For those who have to make deliveries in the snow, those shoveled walks give them respite. We live in an urban neighborhood that still has sidewalks – though more people seem to saunter down the middle of the street than use a real sidewalk.
So I embraced the perfectly shoveled walk with the zeal of Martha Stewart and grace of Clark Griswold. My children have grown up with the obsessively snow-shoveling mama who was adept at the fine art and science of a well-cleaned walk. The only winters I didn’t shovel were when I was pregnant and one year post op after surgery.
When I shoveled snow, I felt like Momzilla Versus the Snow Mound. And I always won at the end of the movie.
Until now. What makes a driveway well shoveled?
- Shovel early and often. If you shovel snow throughout a storm, there is less to shovel at one time. It can be easier to manage when it’s not in huge drifts. There have been times in my life I’ve been known to shovel at midnight, at 3 a.m., and again at 5 a.m. Part of it was to not only make the shoveling easier but also to make sure we always had the cleanest walks shoveled first in the neighborhood.
- A good shovel is worth its weight. I pushed snow more than I threw it. This reduced the effort but worked effectively.
- Shovel to the ground. Don’t leave a little at the base. Get it to the sidewwalk or concrete. If you do this, your walks will also melt faster as soon as the temperature gets close to 32 degrees.
- Shovel the walk, the whole walk, and nothing but the walk. When you shovel your walk, if you make the effort to do the whole walk instead of a shovel wide path, you decrease the likelihood of drifting.
- Clear cars completely. Make sure not only cars are cleared but the paths to get to them are as well. What’s the point in shoveling a driveway if people have to climb over snow to get into the car?
- Dress warmly and stay dry. Nuff said – let common sense prevail. Layers are a very good thing.
- Two can shovel faster than one. As soon as my kids could walk, they had toddler sized shovels to “help.” Granted, their early help was more play than work – but it built a habit I hope continues.
- Finish with hot chocolate. Make sure you have marshmallows too.
So now I’m recovering from a heart attack and have been told there is no longer a snow shovel in my future. Under 50, and I’m already a has been shoveler.
With this storm, my kids shoveled for me. I gritted my teeth and said nothing as they chose to sleep in. No shoveling before dawn. But they did go out and do it. They shoveled the whole walk and did a good job. Perhaps something that I taught them will steak.
Part of me suspects a snow blower may one day be in my future. When I told a friend of mine this, he commented if I bought one it might now snow for 10 years. To which I observed that it would then be an excellent preventative investment.
What I will miss most of my snow shoveling was savoring the silence of a snowstorm, as the flakes muffled sound and for a few moments, I felt like the world was at my footsteps, waiting for me to rush at it with my shovel.