February 21st, 2005


Monday in the Snow

So yesterday it snowed. All day. It was quite pretty, actually, and I would have enjoyed it if it weren't in my way. It was fine when I went out to breakfast, less than an inch collected on the ground. I parked my car safely in the garage and watched it continue and continue to snow.

The problem was that last night was Team Elan's last sunday-night practice before nationals next week. A few friends and I had been planning on going to watch the practice, cheer them on, then all go out to dinner after. I'd really been looking forward to the evening, but the snow kept getting worse.

It had hit three inches by around 4pm, and J and I were on the phone together trying to decide if it was worth leaving our houses to watch practice. I looked out of my window and said to her, "Oh look, there's my neighbor from across the street, snowblowing everyone's sidewalks. Do my driveway, do my driveway!" I tried to project my voice into his thoughts without success. I couldn't even tell where my driveway had been; my whole lawn was just an expanse of white.

We decided to wait another hour before we made our final decision. "Maybe the sun will come out," I said hopefully. I even put on my boots and walked through the blizzard a couple of blocks over to where I could see the freeway. The freeway actually was moving along pretty well, so it must be fairly clear. But by the time I got back to my house, my black down coat was white with snow.

I returned to the dry warmth of my house and resumed my watch out the window. An hour later, the sun had not come out. My footprints were quickly being obliterated, and the driveway looked worse. It was a perfect day to hibernate indoors, I thought grumpily...why did it have to happen on a day I wanted to go out?

I wasn't worried so much about driving up I-75 (well I was somewhat concerned, but it hadn't looked too bad), but I knew I'd first need to shovel my darn driveway. Worse yet, since it was still snowing, I knew I'd also have to brush off my car when practice ended, then again after dinner, drive back through snow and darkness, then shovel all over again in the morning. Somehow, kneeling on my warm couch with my cats, watching the fluffy flurries outside, none of that seemed very appealing.

J called to say she wasn't going, and I told her I didn't blame her. She has a longer drive than I do. "I'm... probably not going either," I told her indecisively. I fretted over it for a little while longer, then finally admitted to myself that I wasn't leaving the house. It just isn't worth driving in such bad weather conditions, not when you don't have to be anywhere.

I spent the rest of the night alternating between peacefully getting stuff done around the house, and glaring annoyedly at the still-accumulating snow. I was trying to decide if I should go out and shovel. On one hand, it was still snowing, so I'd probably have to shovel again in the morning anyway. On other hand, it would make each bout of shoveling easier. Eventually I decided that as long as I was hibernating, I might as well be thorough and enjoy it. I could worry about the darn snow in the morning.

When I woke up this morning, finally the snow had stopped. Hooray! There sure was a lot of it in my driveway though, and it looked deep and wet. Sigh. After some dithering about the house, I threw on jeans, a sweatshirt, boots, gloves, and a coat. My fears were realized when I went outside: it had warmed up enough that the snow was very wet and heavy.

When I was a kid, we called this "packing snow". It was the best kind of snow, because it sticks together really well. Great for building snowmen, forts, ammunition, etc. I spent some time wishing that my stupid company had given us Presidents Day off, so I could build a nice snowman instead of having to muscle it all off my driveway.

As I started shoveling, my mind amused itself by considering just calling in sick. "It's not that I'm too sick to work," I explained in my imagination, "It's just that I'm too sick to dig myself out of my driveway." At the end of my driveway, the city's snowplow had left a huge mound of boulders, some that were bigger than my torso. I took many breaks, as all the lifting and throwing left me very dizzy and weak-legged. I'm still only partly-recovered from last week's illness. When I'd only cleared half of the end of my driveway, feeling exhausted, I thought even more seriously about giving up and skipping work. But I just kept breathing, kept letting myself rest as needed, and finally the end was cleared.

Then I just had the rest of my long driveway to do. Aaagh!

But with time the whole mess was done. (Well, except that I did my usual cheat and only did tiretracks up by my garage.) By then I'd stripped off my coat and gloves, and I was drenched in sweat. I went inside and collapsed on the couch for about 15 minutes. My cats looked at me in puzzlement. "What on earth did you do that for," I could sense them asking. "When it's warm and dry and comfy in here. Oh, but could you top off our food bowl when you get up? Thanksverymuch."

Eventually I got dressed and came to work, albeit quite late. At least I got here. Because wow, that was a lot of work! At least I got my exercise in for the day. Darn february. I wish spring would come.