Monday, December 22, 2008

Texture is everything

OK, maybe quantity is important, too.

I'm talking about snow here, kids. Get yer minds outta the gutter!

You saw the post of Quinn's most UN-excellent adventure to go pee last night. Poor thing couldn't squat, because no matter what she did, her feet never hit anything solid and the snow was ALWAYS snug up against her undercarriage. Think about that for a moment, will you? Brrr!

The snow last night was wet and sticky - great for snowballs and snowmen and forts and stuff like that. Except it was pitch black, cold as hell and blowing a gale, so we opted not to make snow sculptures in our yard. Well, after the snow stopped falling and the clouds cleared, the temperature dropped. All of that wet, sticky snow turned solid. The wind had compacted it quite solidly in several places in the yard, including under the bumper and whole driver's side of my truck. The kitchen door opened only because L went out there last night and shoveled a wee little space on the steps to allow that to happen.

The upshot of all this verbiage? That shit was heavy. I mean seriously heavy. But dry, so it didn't stick to the shovel, like wet snow will do. That'll jerk your arm right out of the socket when you're trying to fling snow and it won't let go of the shovel at the end of your arm's arc. I hate that.

But what did happen was the snow was frozen and compacted, sort of like a cross between flour and frozen cool-whip. I could cut great square cubes of snow with my shovel - so great in fact that I could barely lift them. I ended up chopping squares, then scooping the top half of the square off before going back for the bottom half. That's a lot of chopping and scooping and tossing, let me tell you.

And the day just got longer and longer as it went. Shovel out the truck, get it unstuck (LOVE 4WD!) head out and do one lady's walk and path for the oil man. Go to next account, shovel wide path up front, extra wide to allow access for emergency personnel if necessary (they're seniors, so I fuss and fret over them) In through the house to the garage and the little snow blower. That. just. won't. start.

No matter what we do. Push this, pull that, push the little squirty button a bunch, spray starter stuff in there, nada. Well, I told the gent, I've shoveled bigger and worse. He did not look convinced, but it's true. When I was a kid and there was a snow day, I shoveled. And we had a looooong driveway.

The only way to do something like this is one row at a time, one scoop at a time and just keep going.

I set to work. The driveway is probably 18 feet wide by 40 or 50 feet long. It was filled with that self-same dense-packed stuff I described above. To a depth ranging from about 12 inches to about 30 inches (wind had made drifts as well). There was an absolutely obscene mound of snow and crap at the mouth of the driveway left by the town plow truck. Fortunately, I begged a favor from a guy I knew in the next parking lot. His truck had a plow, so he came and knocked it back a bit for me. Still, it was a long haul. After three hours, I was nearly all-in.

But they had a friend who needed help getting her car shoveled out, so I went there and helped her. Turns out she had another friend who needed HER car shoveled out, so I went over to the other parking lot. Then I remembered that I was supposed to bring the snow blower to the garage, I went back to the other place, picked it up (literally - it's not that big) and dropped it off.

By the time I hit the bank to deposit all of my riches it was already getting dark. I got home to find that I had absconded with all the good shovels this morning, so I still had to dig out L's car for us to take to Massachusetts in the morning.

As they say in Minnesota, Uf-da!

I am some freakin' sore tonight. My back hurts from the backs of my knees all the way up and over and down again to my chin. Damn. My face is windburned, although I did keep lip balm on, so I am not bleeding as well. I think I will probably not be able to move tomorrow. A four-hour-and-a-bit ride in the Crown Vic will be a wonderful thing - that car rides like my couch, but more comfortable.

Posting may be spotty due to the sneak-around factor at my aunt's house for the next few days, so please bear with me. I'll be behind the gym with the pilfered smokes. Winston reds.

P.S. I'll try to get a picture of the yards I shoveled before we leave town tomorrow and post them here if I can. You gotta see this stuff!


dolphyngyrl said...

I'll meet you behind the gym. I'll bring the flask.


Queenie said...

I'll be there too. Try not to trip over me. I'll be having sex.

Robin said...

Winstons? Never. Marlboro Reds for me please.

Drive safe my friend, and happy holidays.

PS My mom found my blog! (Details later)

j said...

Wait, when did you guys get a crown vic? You could live in that thing if you had too! Take a dozen of your friends wherever they need to go!

Merry Christmas!!

MRMacrum said...

Excellent post from someone who knows her snow. I hate the heavy stuff also. Thankfully we did not get the same snow you folks on the coast got. But it was almost as bad. Windpacked and in some places the drifts were 4 feet high.

Stubby our three legged mutt won't pee in the yard if "her undercarriage" touches snow before her feet touch earth. I will take her out after that first plow goes by and she takes care of business in the road. That's before I clear the drive of course. Once I have the drive cleared, either by hand or hopefully by machine, Stubb is all set.

You should get one of those "poor man's Sno Blowers. You know, the big scoop push ones. I have worn out quite a few of them. They work well once you figure out a system.

CaroleMcDonnell said...

Wow!!! Woman, you actually shovel snow? You are sooo goood!

Anonymous said...

You have the smokes, I'll have stiff drinks. I'm at the in-laws until Friday. Rural Iowa. Frozen tundra. Sigh...