Saturday, February 9, 2013

The Joys of Homeownership: Clearing a Path

"Getting an inch of snow is like winning ten cents in the lottery." -Bill Watterson

With great property comes
great responsibility
Everyone says I should get a snowblower. Every time it snows, neighbors drive by and see me shoveling my never-ending sidewalk. They stop. They roll down the window and say, "It's time." My mother even bought me a sizable gift card for Lowe's last Christmas, specifically to put towards a snowblower. I have yet to spend it. Even My Director and I say we should get one. Then it snows like it just did and there we are, digging. Spring comes, and it seems we survived another winter without one. So why bother?

My hesitation begins with what I perceive as a storage problem.  I don't like a cluttered garage and even the smallest of snowblowers take up a decent amount of space. There is also the issue of pride. Yes, pride. For I feel no man my age, who is in fine physical condition if I do say so myself, is above shoveling his walkway. No matter how much snow is out there. This is my land, and I am its caretaker. Granted, my walkway goes to the corner and then halfway to the next block since I live on a corner property. Still, I see it as my exercise for the day. (Note to self: Don't ever buy a corner property again. Oh, but the big backyard is so nice. NO. Don't. Do. It.)

There was a winter where it seemed to snow every week. Sometimes twice a week. That's when the snowblower talk started. I was physically exhausted and getting sick from all of the shoveling and sweating. We've had a couple of mild winters since. So I felt the snowblower was an unnecessary luxury. Then this ridiculously-named storm came along, dumping a foot-plus of snow on our frontier of a property. And there I was, shoveling away. First, clearing a little path so Luna could pee. Then expanding it so the neighbors could walk. I even break through that crusty, plowed, caked-in snow and ice that the town piles up on the corner, just to provide a walkway for people crossing the street. I'm a hell of a neighbor, eh?
Step 1: Luna's gotta go
Step 2: Do my neighborly duty 
Step 2.5: Be a REALLY good neighbor
and clear the corner
It was then I spotted someone at the other corner, shoveling towards me. Someone our neighbor in the corner lot behind ours hired to shovel his sidewalk. (I also refuse to pay someone to do something I am perfectly capable of doing myself.) This was a young, strapping lad of 20 years or less. Game on, son. I challenged myself to finish before him, without any shortcuts. I will have you know that I beat that lad by a good five minutes. I still have it. Not bad at all for an old man.
Just when I think I'm done,
I turn the corner.

As I sit here typing, a cup of hot cocoa cools on the counter next me. My completed work is visible through the front window, the glistening scene of a freshly-cleared driveway and sidewalk providing a sense of accomplishment. My muscles relaxed after a hot shower. I must admit My Director helped me in the end. Once it was time to dig out the driveway itself. She cleared three shovels full, spotted our next-door neighbor, and struck up a conversation for 15 fifteen minutes. Only to return and declare, "This is hard."

Yes, it is. It is hard, fulfilling work. Work that leaves my fingers the only parts of my body that can move right now. A sense of accomplishment, but also a sense of the inevitable.

I need a snowblower. We're going to get one this time. really, we are. Once they go on sale this spring.

The winter that started the snowblower conversation was one for the record books. I wrote about that HERE.


  1. My snowblower started to break on me today. All the belts were getting twisted and the thing that actually spins and eats up the snow kept dally off it's track. I'm getting a new one. Anything over three inches and that thing comes out. I'm lazy.

    1. It's not laziness...for a storm like this, it's necessary. (sigh.)

  2. That gift card is probably expired.

    WIth a big snow, only a big expensive snow blower with a drive chain is any good, and when time comes to use it they may not always start. (Usem or losem). THose cheap little blowers are slower and more work than shoveling.

    I'm on your side...shovels take up no room...But then they shovel for me now that I am in a townhouse.

    1. The gift card lost some value but is fine. And you can't put a price on a tidy garage.

  3. Hahaha... I'm feel your pain on having a corner lot. Never again. NEVER. Sometimes a snow blower would be nice, but the simplicity of a man and a shovel and uninterupted thoughts is priceless, to say nothing of a well kept and organized garage.

    Fortunately, Mini Me is now of shoveling age and it's time to pass the shoveling torch onto him, if not only for me having a clean driveway... but it also teaches him how to earn extra coin for his ITunes and Xbox Live points.


  4. I live with the "snow sargent". He has us out there shoveling every two inches or so... and by we I mean he and the boys... I do eventually go out, but only after he's too fed up to argue with me.

    We got about 18-20 inches this time, and because the heavy wet snow was cleared early on it wasn't a big deal. We then shoveled our friend's house, her dad's house, my sister's, and went to the PO to shovel out my truck for Monday. *sigh* We too should get a snow blower.

    Right after we get some sort of alternate heat source. 32 hours with no power made for a VERY cold night with temps around 7 degrees.

    There are people in town going on night two with no power... makes me have a whole new appreciation for the victims of Sandy.

    And hey, this about the kind of neighbor you could be if you had a snow blower! You'd be the neighborhood hero!!!

  5. You are doing really a very hectic job infect guys dealing with snow must have extra patience to deal with it! I live in sunny place I love to have snowfall to see snowfall but here it doesn't so! Last year I went to hill point hardly 100 miles away from here just to saw snow fall :) but got struck for a whole day just because of land sliding! My
    Dad forbidden me to go but i didn't listened! afterward I thought i should listen to him!





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