Life in a Massachusetts winter 2011

Today was yet another a snow day, but nary a flake fell. Yesterday wasn’t a snow day and I got caught in a major blizzard on my way home from a wee ski trip to Loon ‘Mountain’. I hyphenate mountain because it’s really just a bump. An enjoyable, friendly and pretty unpopulated bump none-the-less. (Stay tuned on the skiing front – I’m going to blog about balance and perturbations soon.)

Early this morning I shoveled the snow out my drive from yesterday’s storm. Because today was a snow day I had all day to do it. I had visual (not audible) connection with four of my neighbours doing the same. My neighbours and I don’t talk much. Not sure why. We were all industriously out there for more than an hour.  Best part was that none of them used a blower. I love the quiet.

The white snow was okay to shovel. What is galling is the amount of brown snow that the various town ploughs funnel from the roads down our driveways. The brown that is pushed through is the heavy stuff. It takes muscle to shift it. And then there’s the mailman. He can’t get anywhere near the mail box because there’s four feet of town-pushed brown in the way. I’ve propped up a temporary flip top rubbish bin with a sign in Sharpie saying ‘winter mailbox’. It is stuck on a pile of town brown in front of where the regular box lies buried. I hope you get the gist.

During this same day we got sleet, or freezing rain, or liquid ice, as I worked from home.  Later that afternoon I went out again. Things had turned dodgily slippery. A thick crust of ice had to be lifted before proceeding down a narrow canyon of a walkway just to get to my car. The car was encrusted (and still is). I laboriously cleared the ice and brown snow from my entrance and silently acknowledged the same neighbours who again seemed to be in industrious synchronicity with myself. Another hour passed.

My wife thinks I’m a skinflint for not paying for a plough. I counter that I enjoy the exercise, the quiet, the ‘man taking care of the estate’ etc. That was fine in winters past. The problem this year is the volume. I’m running out of places to put each dose of new stuff. Currently, it involves walking a shovel-full to a point less high than the rest and tossing it. Very good exercise but I’m wondering where it will end.

I’m an addict to ‘Survivor’ (bikinis and bodies – a recipe for a successful series). I’m reminded of Survivor China with James the grave-digger. He had the best body. As I shovel away, not willing to spend a penny on a professional, I’m thinking that there will be some personal physical benefits. Quads, abdominals, obliques, paraspinals, multifidi and biceps brachii are all getting their calling. James, watch out.

Sitting inside  writing this blog, I have been accompanied by a constant plinking and plunking of watery ice melt. Melt is falling into dishes and buckets positioned inside and below our bay window. This is the sound of a melting ice dam in Massachusetts but could be just another day in the Amazon.