11 thoughts from shoveling

I often blog in my head while I’m doing physical labor. My very best blog post ever came from doing the laundry. Here are my deep thoughts from this morning’s dig out.

My house, today
My house, today

1. I’ve always loved my neighbors, but this winter has made me extra grateful
Adam is laid low by the stomach bug that knocked me out. He’s no longer actively ill, but in the weak phase. Also, we don’t own a snowblower. Also also, I promised to take care of a neighbor’s house while they were gone. This means I’m like extra duper screwed, right? Wrong. I have the key to the neighbor’s snowblower (the folks who are gone have the best one on the block). I flagged over another neighbor to help me, and he spent two hours doing the snow blower work while I did the shoveling work at both houses. We’ll be potlucking at at yet another neighbors house tonight. Friends are awesome. I love friends. I haven’t seen my friends who live half a mile away in WAY TOO LONG. But neighbors who are friends are such a gift in blizzard conditions!

2. What would it take to actually make our little New England civilization stop working?
A la Hurricane Sandy, at what point does our society cease to function? Or does it shut down in dribs and drabs? Already there are plans for some Boston streets to be one way until April 1st. At what point does normal life stop? Are we already there?

3. Seriously, April 1st?
March is supposed to be colder than normal. The 10 day forecast only gets above freezing once (35 degrees). There are two more precipitation events in that forecast, adding up to 5 – 10 inches of snow. I don’t know when life will go back to normal, but six weeks seems like a good guess. It will probably be a lot longer until you can no longer find snow anywhere.

That fence below is a 7 foot fence. That snow bank is more than 12 feet tall. Granted, that's where we blow the snow, but still...
That fence below is a 7 foot fence. That snow bank is more than 12 feet tall. Granted, that’s where we blow the snow, but still…

4. With great power comes great responsibility
A common thought as I shovel snow is that winter is a crappy time to be a feminist. See, I’m physically perfectly capable of shoveling snow. I don’t believe in a gendered division of labor. Do you see where this is going? What it means is that I, as a feminist, can’t tell my husband that snow is his job because he’s a man. This is a crying shame on days like this.

5. Thank goodness we got a new roof
I’m guessing that our old roof wouldn’t have held up to this. Lots of people have lots of leaks. Our pitched roof is dropping the snow all by itself, no problem. The insulation looks great too, as the only melting is sun melt on the Southern exposure.

This is all sun melt. Our roof has many fewer icicles than most of our neighbors.
This is all sun melt. Our roof has many fewer icicles than most of our neighbors.

6. I blow dried my hair this morning.
I almost never do that. The few times I’ve tried it was to make my hair look good, a goal that I’ve never really been successful in accomplishing. It looked great this morning. Then I pulled a wool hat on top of it. The point was that going out in 13 degree weather with a high wind warning for two hours of shoveling with a wet head. I should try less hard, and maybe the whole hair drying thing will work.

7. I seriously wonder when I’ll make it into the office
Tuesday? Tuesday only? Will there be parking when I get to Fort Point? What’s the best combination of not spending stupid time on the road and stupid money on parking, while still spending time with my colleagues. I can’t work from home until April 1st, and might go insane if I tried.

Josh is rocking the roof rake
Josh is rocking the roof rake

8. The children’s brains are currently oozing out there ears
They’ve never played this many video games in their life. I’ve lost all will to parent. Judging by how many of their friends are online, making Minecraft traps with them, I’m not alone.

9. But at least they won’t miss school?
That’s the upside of this all happening over Feb break week, right? No chance of snow days this week, nuh uh! And hopefully by the time next week rolls around, we’re now longer in the icy clutches of Snowmageddon. (10 day forecast says it snows 5 – 8 inches Sunday night. I hate you 10 day forecast!) I feel really badly for the teachers whose success is judged by the standardized tests these children will be taking in a few weeks. They’ve missed so much instructional time, and I have to say that I think my kids study skills and core skills have backslid in the last three weeks. Totally not fair to their excellent teachers!

Our front walk way has a fault line. Considering teaching the children avalanche safety.
Our front walk way has a fault line. Considering teaching the children avalanche safety.

10. Let’s see who’s laughing this summer
I’ve gotten plenty of comments from Northwesterners who point out that Boston currently has more snow than Snoqualmie Pass. The entire US is suffering from a changing climate. (BTW – any time we want to collectively start acting on this problem is good for me. Count me in.) But given a choice between extra violent winters, extra precipitation and more extreme weather, and drought and loss of ground water… I’ll take the nasty blizzards. The entire West is going to bake this summer, with no snowpack to feed the rivers. Florida is losing it’s potable ground water. We may live in Snowmageddon country, and this may be our new normal, but at least we have water.

11. We’ll get through this
The spring will come. There was a year in medieval history when summer never came. That’s not our situation. They may be delayed, but we’ll have snowdrops and crocuses and lilacs and camping trips this summer. We’ll look back on this as an epic memory, but we will some day see grass again!

Happier (warmer) times!

Follow ups

Well, my fellow New Englanders, I did my best. I figured writing about the impending snow storm would make it, in the spirit of New England storms, become a non-event. Last night, as the hour for its arrival passed with a few errant snowflakes, I hoped.

It was not to be. Now, I try really hard not to complain about snow in New England in winter. (Or 100 degrees with 90% humidity in summer.) At least, no more than the standard complaints. But really. This is unacceptable. My husband I each put over two hours in shovelling our driveway out again. We had to carry snow across the street from the first shovelsful. It would’ve been a significant snowfall if it was the first of the year — maybe a little over a foot. But coming on top of existing berms, it was brutal. And you know, I consider that in the modern life, there are very tasks jobs where my gender matters. Hardly any really. But when the snow piles are 5 feet high, it turns out upper body strength is at a premium. I simply could not get the snow high enough for most of the locations, so I had to walk a long, long way carrying heavy snow to clear it.

I did, however, sneak in 5 minutes of pictures to show just how bad it was today. I was hoping to get all artistic and try out camera settings etc, but there was just Too. Much. Snow. As it was, I made it to work at the crack of 11 this morning. The only saving grace was that everyone else has to deal with the same snow.

Also, Grey has been successfully signed up for Kindergarten. It was rather anticlimactic. The woman at the front desk seemed very surprised that I’d actually read the web site, filled out the appropriate paperwork and had the needed documents already copied. Hopefully she favorably remembers me forever from now. Or at least for the, er, 7 years she and I will be BFFs.

(Takes a look at her camera memory card.) Hey, there are some other arty pictures here too, with me trying to figure out my camera. Fun! (OK, I admit it. I’m not feeling too hot. I have the uneasy sense that this blog post doesn’t have any coherence. That’s a classic combination for a picture post!)

Perry the Platypus wears a hat.
Perry the Platypus wears a hat.
Date night. I won this round on behalf of the Allies.
This is the capability that made me really want a new camera. You can't do this with a point-and-shoot. At least not mine.
We played a game called Arimaa. My husband won. Then he spent a week reading up on strategy.
I love this chess set.
They spent hours with this "house" they built
It's so hard to take pictures of lots of snow.
It's so hard to take pictures of lots of snow.
Where would you put this snow?
Where would you put this snow?
Snow shoveling is a neighborhood activity. We were all out today, and the kids played while we shoveled.
Snow shoveling is a neighborhood activity. We were all out today, and the kids played while we shoveled.
Where we do put the snow. Those are stairs, if you can't tell.
Where we do put the snow. Those are stairs, if you can't tell.

Here are all the pictures