We made it through the night. I can’t say as much for the fir trees in our front yard. I also can’t say as much for my in-laws who woke-up without power and are going to bed tonight still without it. I’ve spent two big chunks of my day outside digging out from this bleached-white shit-storm. Every conceivable part of my doughy middle-aged body is aching from the effort. I thought that by starting my shoveling last night I would have streamlined the labor somewhat. And I am sure that in-theory, I did accomplish that. But it was hard to feel the difference. There was just so much snow. I am sorry that there is no more creative or articulate way to phrase that. It was just a lot of snow.
Along with my strategy of shoveling early and often, I had mentally broken down what the purpose of each shoveling expedition should achieve. Last night’s purpose was to get a head-start and soften the target. This morning’s goal was to get most of the snow up off my walk and from around our cars. This afternoon’s goal was to shovel-up the last six inches or so that had fallen since the morning run, and clean off the cars. And it would have worked too, except for one small problem: I ran out of places to put the shoveled snow.
The morning’s excavation had used-up most of what passes for my postage-stamp size lawn. There are now seven-foot tall snow bunkers protecting the front of my house. Once it became clear that I couldn’t pile the snow any higher I was forced to engage in the following practice:
- Take a shovel-full of snow.
- Carefully balance it as I walked about twenty-yards to an open patch of land without completely wrecking my back and dump the snow before the burning in my arms became too intense and I dropped the snow on the very sidewalk I had just tried so hard to clear.
This became more of a problem the longer I was out there. The piles of snow got higher and higher and the distance I had to traverse to deposit the snow got longer and longer. I started getting sloppy. Whereas in the morning I didn’t consider an area complete until there was clean pavement, by this evening I was content to move on if the remaining layer of snow was thin enough that I might get lucky and get rid of the remnant with a generous sprinkling of rock salt.
Cleaning off the cars was just depressing because it was the only time that I dealt with the total snowfall of the blizzard in one place. My first mistake was to think I could just knock the snow off the cars and then shovel it off the ground. Areas I had spent an hour clearing in the morning were suddenly up to my kneecaps with snow. I realized too late that I had made more work for myself. In the end, I cleared the cars enough so that the windshields can probably be defrosted if we ever have to go somewhere before spring time, and the amount of snow flying off the hood, roof and trunk shouldn’t be too obnoxious. I’m not proud of that. It’s just the way it is.
And now I am just depleted. I can’t even muster the energy to go down to the basement refrigerator and retrieve a beer.
I’ve been reading about the massive snowball fight that took place in Dupont Circle today. And I am going to admit it. I’m bitter. Ten years ago… okay, fifteen years ago, I totally would have been there. And afterward, I totally would have gotten plastered at Fox & Hounds, as I am sure plenty of them did (if they weren’t already). Instead, I spent the better part of my day digging out my home in the outer-burbs and am now too tired to even retrieve a single beer. And I’m grouchy about feeling bitter — yes, there’s a lot of responsibility that comes along with the mortgage and the small kids and the enormous commute, but the upsides are obviously so much more substantial than participation in some GenY flashmob. Well, maybe not the commute part. Still, there’s something so adult about being more exhausted from this snowpocalypse than enthralled by it.
Snowdays as a kid were a break from routine. They were literally, freaks of nature that upended the order of things, canceled school, allowed you to spend hours having fun while you were cold and wet building snow forts, and dreaming about repelling a Soviet invasion from across the Bering Strait (Red Dawn made a big impression on me at the age of 12). Now, they’re a way to ruin my weekend, and if work is canceled next week it will just make the rest of my time at the office exponentially more stressful.
Being a grownup kinda sucks sometimes.