Snow is like a woman. It captivates you with its beauty, but is actually powerful and dangerous. We had a foot of the white fluffy goodness drop on us here in Delaware. My children cheer with delight as school is canceled for a day. My wife opens every shade in the house to see pristine carpet that has transformed our lawn and woods into a winter wonderland. Wonderland is a good name for it because I wonder what is so special about it. I wonder how many businesses will shut down. I wonder how treacherous are the roads. Most of all, I wonder how long will it take me to dig us out of this mess.
As a rule, I’m not afraid of hard work. However, I recognize that I am about to embark on an all-day project that will be physically demanding and in a day or two their will be no evidence that I did anything. Not a high motivation task, but it must be done. My wife insists I should eat breakfast first to fuel my impending exertion…she hands me an ice-cold smoothie. I guess the theory is that an equilibrium can be achieved between my inside and my outside producing a level of comfort. I’m not hopeful. My in-house weather guru informs me that it is 5 degrees Fahrenheit, but with the wind feels like 15 below zero so I better bundle up. A half can of Crisco later with the help of all able-bodied family members I manage to squeeze into enough gear to ward off a polar vortex. Sure I look like the Michelin man and walk like Al Gore, but I should be warm. Twenty seconds after leaving the warm cocoon of my home and my cell phone starts ringing. I would try to ignore it, but I cleverly pushed my earbuds deep into my ear canals before pulling on a balaclava and a hood to thoroughly seal out the blowing snow. The result is I now have what sounds like an elementary school band rehearsing inside my head. I scramble to unearth my phone from the many layers of insulation I am wearing and succeed just in time for the call to go to voice mail. Now that my hermetically sealed thermal barrier has been compromised and one glove is off and slowly filling with snow I must tell someone, “No. I can’t meet with you in an hour. I have a few tons of snow to rearrange.”
Clothing reapplied, I decide the snow blower is my best bet. My first pass suggests that throwing snow in this wind may not be a wise choice. I’m not always a wise guy so I continue blasting snow into the air which swirls around before half of it settles back down to where it just left and the other half clings to me. I continue this process until the blower runs out of gas and a nice thick layer of ice has encased my body. I decide I need to shift to the shovel. With shoveling you are always faced with that dreaded tightrope of keeping out the cold without overheating and having a heart attack. I just plunge ahead and assume my ice coating will keep out the cold and prevent me from overheating at the same time. Soon I have melted off my ice covering and am starting to sweat through my clothes. My balaclava is soaked and I can’t tell if it is snow or snot – both are present in abundance. I finally remove the majority of the vile stuff off the driveway and sidewalks. I’m soaked to the bone with snow and sweat. My snot has frozen into some disgusting icicle and my heart has barely resisted the urge to give up on me. I put away all the gear and triumphantly step back in the house as the sun begins to set only to hear my wife say “can you shovel a path in the back yard for the dog to use when he goes out?”