My heart sank as I peeked out into the pre-dawn morning. Snow, a foot or more of it! It hung thick and heavy on the trees, weighing down the evergreens. It lay thick on the road, on the driveway, on Tank. It obscured the shovelled path to the front porch. I glanced at the shoulder high snow banks along the end of the drive, and knew that my day would be dedicated to trying to move that snow, and the heavy mass that would be thrown across the driveway by the plough, up those small mountains.
“Small bits,” Attila advised me as we chatted, “just do small bits at a time, and take care of yourself.”
All thoughts of attending Yoga class in the morning were scuppered. By 8:00 a.m. only two enterprising neighbours managed to get their vehicles out of their driveways and down the road.
There was nothing for it but to postpone my shower until after the challenge, eat a hearty bowl of oatmeal, dress warmly, and head out to meet the white menace! As I was eating my breakfast the sun came out, and my cell phone began to beep, it needed to be charged, requiring a slight delay in the snow removal project. The cell phone is a required piece of safety equipment when working alone outdoors in the cold. If I needed emergency assistance, it would ensure that I could get it in a timely manner. I don’t expect I will ever need emergency assistance, but I feel better with a safety net.
I began my shovelling chore around 8:30 a.m. and at 12:30 p.m. I “hung up my shovel”. It was a very tough slog I can tell you. The plough had deposited snow shoulder deep at one end of the driveway, which sloped down to waist deep at the other end of the driveway. That snow was packed, and heavy. To make matters more challenging, I could not manage to lift the heavy snow over my head to get it up and onto the snow banks on either side of the driveway. This necessitated filling the shovel with a small load of snow, walking down the road with it to a location where the snow bank was only chest high, launching the load over the top of the snow bank, then trudging back up the road to the driveway for another small load of snow. It is little wonder it took me four hours to shovel a smallish driveway! I did take one 30 minute break in the middle of the job, managing some dry clothes, as the first set were soaked through with sweat. I would not complain if that were the last snow storm of the season! There is probably more coming though!
When I was nearly through, a neighbour came over to chat. He was in the midst of dealing with his own white wonder. We both felt the absence of our wonderful neighbour with the snowblower! I think that if I ever have a snowblower here at the little house in the city, I will be thinking about my neighbours, and helping them out to the best of my ability. For now, with my little shovel, I can barely take care of myself!
After coming back into the house I drank a tall glass of water, took an extra pain killer, and puttered on the computer. The temptation was to go to sleep, but I did not want to do that, as I have read of so many seniors who shovelled heavy snow, then fell asleep afterward in their easy chair, and passed away. No sir, I stayed awake! If I was going to have any sort of event, I wanted to be awake to address it immediately! However, I think I am fairly safe. I am getting a lot more exercise these days, yoga, walking about in the stores, shovelling snow every week, puttering around the house. Shovelling snow isn’t the huge increase in activity that it would have been last winter, when I could not get out at all. I am still cautious though, because I am not as young as I used to be.
A new phrase for me: “trust fund hipsters”.
I read this phrase in a comment about about an article describing a very affluent family living in a “designer/upscale” tiny home, where no expense had been spared to create a cozy, beautiful small living space. The home is featured in an article as an alternative to a “McMansion”. A commentor points out that most people living in tiny homes are low income, and do not have the finances or free-time to exact the structural and aesthetic designs that make a small home worthy of a magazine feature. And then there is the reality, in Canada at least, that the majority of people live in apartments, the majority. The “MacMansion” is not the norm, not the common denominator in housing for our citizens, it represents the attainments of the privileged few.
Most of us were never in the market for a “McMansion” in the first place. The small home is not a innovative design decision, it is a necessity, based on the real possibilities for the majority. Even small structural renovations cost money, and lots of it. When people have to hold down several low paying jobs, and attempt DIY at the same time, there are serious limits as to what can be reasonably accomplished.
I am disheartened by ads that show skinny model body types only, and I am disheartened by articles that display primarily high end designer homes, that require unusual affluence to attain. What I mean by unusual affluence is affluence that represents a significant deviation from the mean annual income of families… ALL families, not just the ones who have jobs, or meet some other statistical threshold for inclusion. Like guns, statistics can be used in many ways.
I do enjoy articles about the majority, the 80%, and how they are managing to live happy, healthy, fulfilling lives while acknowledging the lack of opportunities, and the rainbow of misery that exists in the world. These are the interesting people as far as I am concerned.
The 20% are not like the rest of us in a spiritual or ethical sense. By taking an unhealthy interest in their attainments, their dramas, their lives, I suspect that we are anthropomorphizing psychopaths. The media and the culture humanizes them in an unrealistic way.
Greed is a disease.
Life is a mystery… and a joy.
Date: 5:00 AM EST Wednesday 25 February 2015
Condition: Not observed
Pressure: 100.2 kPa
Wind: SSW 23 gust 33 km/h
Wind Chill: -14
Date: 5:48 AM EST Wednesday 25 February 2015
Condition: Light Snow
Pressure: 100.4 kPa
Visibility: 10 km
Wind: W 15 gust 30 km/h
Wind Chill: -21
“Living apart and at peace with myself, I came to realize more vividly the meaning of the doctrine of acceptance. To refrain from giving advice, to refrain from meddling in the affairs of others, to refrain, even though the motives be the highest, from tampering with another’s way of life – so simple, yet so difficult for an active spirit. Hands off!”
1891 – 1980
Maggie, snow is busting out all over. In my southern world, we’re supposed to get up to a foot of the stuff tonight, although I think those predictions are a bit of an exaggeration. It’s unusual for us–especially this late in the year. The good news is that we all get to stay home and wait for it to go away!
Good on you for being diligent about keeping that cell phone with you and charged. It really could make all the difference.
Wendy, a foot of snow is a lot of snow, particularly when you have to shovel it. Today I was feeling great sympathy for Attila, who shovels snow almost every single day! And unlike me, he has to work at least eight hours a day on top of that, and chop and tote firewood. I have it so much easier here, with only occasional shovelling to be done, a thermostat, and free time. Winter!!!
Maggie, I spent enough time on the business end of a snow shovel as a kid to determine that I really didn’t want to do that anymore–and moved 500 miles south. Significant snow is one of those things which only bothers us once every decade or so and then we all just stay indoors and wait for it to go away. The current forecast calls for a high of 58F (14C) on Monday, so, unlike you, we can actually get away with that strategy. 🙂
As you can well imagine, we here in Massachusetts have one main topic of conversation these days — the snow! We have had our first week without a snowstorm since Jan. 19th. Since Jan. 19th, which was when the first of the 4 big snowstorms hit is, we have now gone over the 100 inches mark and are heading for an all-time-recorded-record in this area of a little over 107 inches for a winter. But… that’s for “a winter” which consists of more linear time than we have had snow… We had nothing until Jan. 19th. It’s only Feb. 26th now. So that’s only about 5 weeks and in THAT short time period we have almost surpassed the all-time-recorded record for the most snow in an entire winter. Who knows what March (and yes even April!) will bring?
We are truly sick of it. I personally haven’t shoveled more than a little on the deck, but Paul has HAD it with winter this year. No work for him as his boat is sitting in a salt-water harbor amongst the ice! When a harbor is iced over, and it’s salt water, you KNOW you are dealing with cold severe weather. Even if he wanted to, he couldn’t get out to work.
Luckily for him, I stocked up on some great reading material over the summer for him and he’s been just eating up those books, one after the other, learning more and more about our beloved England. So there’s that… a benefit!
P.S. If you go here, http://dovegreyreader.typepad.com/dovegreyreader_scribbles/2015/02/wolf-hall.html you will see where I am finding all those great books about England for Paul. The author, Lynne, among other things, is a book reviewer in England and her site has a wonderful collection of books she’s read, and reviewed (her reviews are linked to the books on the left column) other books are linked on the right column.
I have actually had to refrain from even visiting her site lately just to save money because I cannot go looking thru her books without buying something! Paul asked me where I find all these great books, and I told him about her site…. and I went there to show him… then I was there! And I ended up buying 2 more! I’m weak as water!!!
>>”I am disheartened by ads that show skinny model body types only, and I am disheartened by articles that display primarily high end designer homes, that require unusual affluence to attain. What I mean by unusual affluence is affluence that represents a significant deviation from the mean annual income of families… ALL families, not just the ones who have jobs, or meet some other statistical threshold for inclusion. Like guns, statistics can be used in many ways.”
As the saying goes, “There are lies, damned lies, and statistics.” Statistics can be used to support anything you want, as long as you manipulate your hypothesis correctly.
>>”I do enjoy articles about the majority, the 80%, and how they are managing to live happy, healthy, fulfilling lives while acknowledging the lack of opportunities, and the rainbow of misery that exists in the world. These are the interesting people as far as I am concerned.”
Fortunately, they’re the majority of the people you meet, both IRL and online. The others show their spots relatively quickly and can be avoided, for the most part.
>>”The 20% are not like the rest of us in a spiritual or ethical sense. By taking an unhealthy interest in their attainments, their dramas, their lives, I suspect that we are anthropomorphizing psychopaths. The media and the culture humanizes them in an unrealistic way.”
Now that’s an interesting statement, “anthropomorphizing psychopaths”. Except by definition psychopaths are human. Perhaps not humane or ethical (heaven knows) but at least part of the human species. Heh, well yeah. That’s about as low a connection as you can find, isn’t it.
Yes, I think I see the difference that you’re aiming for. There’s human in the physical, biological sense and then there’s human in the greater sense. Those who embody the best of the breed, so to speak.
>>”Greed is a disease.
“Life is a mystery… and a joy.”
I wish I could teach this to some of the people on the edges of my life. Especially the part about life being a mystery and a joy. I feel so sorry for those who just feel that life is slogging along day by day (until your days finally end) and that the only thing worthwhile is grasping for every toy you can get. There’s so much more to life than that, so many infinitely wonderful things.
Wendy, I guess that is why we have so many “snow birds” in Canada, people who spend their winters in Florida, or Arizona!
Interesting that you mention that Paul has HAD it with winter Bex, because when I chatted with Attila this morning he was at the end of his patience with the snow and the cold and the wind… I tried to make him laugh, worked on it for fifteen minutes and finally got a guffaw out of him. I hope the warmer weather arrives soon! As for snow, I also hope that most of it has already arrived! One year we got most of our snow in March, that was AWFUL, and it taught me not to anticipate spring until April, at the earliest. No spring thoughts before April!
Great site for books Bex! We don’t buy books, have to borrow them. BUT it is great when you know what titles you want to read before attempting to find them in the library systems.
I enjoy the work that describes the “ordinary” people’s experiences through the ages. A lot of the productions with Ruth Goodman and her cohorts are lovely because they focus on the day to day lives of the majority of the humans living in different periods in England.
I agree Teri, there is so much more. If you measure personal wealth in that way, we are wealthy!