We had an AWFUL winter! I even wrote a snow-shoveling tutorial, which you can read here:
Due to a polar vortex, we have been subjected to frequent snowfalls, alternated with tooth-squeakingly cold temperatures. For the benefit of my friends in “warmer” parts of the planet which will undoubtedly soon experience a drastic change in climate, I volunteer these handy tips for efficient snow management.
One must determine, based on contradictory shamanic predictions, whether or not to shovel while the snow is still falling. If 12 inches are predicted, is it better to wait until it stops, and risk getting a heart attack from the extreme weight of each shovelful? Or should one get a head start on it and shovel at 6 inches, only to turn around and see all your labor completely eradicated by the freshly fallen layer? Why bother shoveling anyway? It will probably melt in a few months. Well, where I live, one can be fined for not shoveling. Snow gets much harder to scrape off the sidewalks once it has been trampled by pesky neighbors and postal carriers bearing junk mail and unpaid bills. And if someone slips on your dangerous walkways, you risk being sued and dragged through the courts for the rest of your life. So shovel.
You must be sufficiently dressed to withstand frostbite, as well as overheating. The secret is LAYERING. Start with 2 pairs thick socks under tall, tire-tread soled boots. Cover your socks with plastic bags if your boots leak. 2 or 3 pairs of gloves are necessary to avoid numbing of the fingers. Layer thermal underwear, sweater, your warmest waterproof coat, and a wide woolen scarf. Do not wear white or you may get hit by a car. With all these layers, it may be a challenge to remain mobile. This is good practice in case one becomes homeless. But of course, then one need not shovel.
Decorative headgear, such as a Peruvian ski-mask with a large-brimmed floppy hat and rhinestone jewelry, amuses passers-by. Fasten all decorations securely to the hat, and do not use feathers since they are too easily dislodged by stiff gusts of frigid air. Keep some tissues or antique flowered hankies in your pocket because your nose will drip.
Begin by loudly singing inappropriate summery songs. Start shoveling at the front door where your shovel has been conveniently hidden out of view, since shovels are easily stolen. Ours once was. Keep a spare just in case.
Most people admire our spacious front porch. But when it’s full of snow, one can easily be convinced that smaller is better. Shovel the entire porch in a criss-crossed pattern, throwing the snow on to the garden. Be sure to bend your knees when lifting the shovel. Steps should be shoveled and then swept, and probably salted. Estimate the exact location of your sidewalk by memory. Shovel in a wavy pattern just to amuse yourself. If your neighbors are out of town, shovel their sidewalk too, since pedestrians will track snow that belongs to someone else on to your property.
Say hello to every passer-by just to disarm them. Due to exertion, you will eventually need to remove a few of you layers of clothing. When you become snow-blind, just close your eyes for a few minutes until the positive/negative optical effects fade. Think about what a great workout you’re getting ABSOLUTELY
abs, biceps, back, lungs, knees, and many other parts you were never aware of.
Continue shoveling along the side of your house and back to the garbage cans. By this time, the front very possibly will have filled in again, so you can start over. Take a breath for just a moment and look around at this winter wonderland. The streets are a slippery obstacle course of filthy mounds and ridges alternated with pot-holes. Driving is treacherous. Mountains of accumulated snow punctuate each intersection. You may consider the possibility that the temperature will never again rise over 10 degrees, the snow will never melt but continue to accumulate until the entire house is buried, and your garden will never grow back. Don’t think about it. Congratulate yourself on a job well done. Go back into your cozy little house and dump the snow out of your boots, peel off the layers, lie on the floor and curl into the fetal position for a while. Don’t listen to the radio announcer predicting twenty inches for tomorrow. If the doorbell rings, and an eager teenager offers to shovel your snow for $5.00, don’t cry.