I’ve now lived in Boston for 6 years and even survived the winter of 2010-2011 when we had a snowfall total of 82 inches (that’s 3 inches shy of Shaq at 7’1”). And I shoveled every damn inch myself off my deck, walkways and driveway. So I thought I was well prepared for last Friday when Blizzard Nemo was heading our way. That morning before work, I started to prepare by pulling out the extra snow shovel from the garage along with the special foam “rake” for the car, and a big bag of salt. By the time I got home, it had already started snowing and there were a few inches on the ground. I shoveled the snow off the deck, jumped in the hot tub with a large glass of wine, and mentally prepared for what was to come. After closing up the hot tub and securing things to the deck (high winds were expected,) I carefully placed the snow shovel just outside the door that leads onto the deck. This way, when I get up in the morning, I just have to reach outside, grab the shovel and start shoveling my way out…little trick I learned over the years of shoveling snow.
I waited until a few more inches fell and then headed out the front door to shovel my walkways and the driveway. The snow was really coming down hard now. Once this task was completed, I again carefully placed this second shovel just outside my front door so that I could also grab it in the morning and start shoveling my way out. I popped in a movie, grabbed another large glass of wine, and felt very happy with the preparations I had made for Nemo. Bring it on!
I woke up the next morning not knowing exactly how much snow we ended up with. The weather forecasts haven’t been too accurate lately. When I looked outside the bedroom window it was like a winter wonderland. The forecasts had been correct. Such a feeling of peace and quiet surrounded the whole neighborhood. The dogs had to go to the bathroom, so we went to the door that leads out on the deck, I opened it and froze. The storm door that opens out was blocked by at least 2 feet of snow. That thing wasn’t budging. And sitting right next to it, with the handle just peeking out, was my shovel. I ran to the front door. I opened it and found the same thing…the storm door was blocked by a small wall of snow and the handle of that shovel peeking out. Uh oh! Luckily I have a third door in the basement that opens under the deck. I ran down there with the dogs, and luckily we were able to exit the house. Phew, my worries were over.
Once the dogs did their business, we went back inside. After a few hours of enjoying being snowed in, I put my snow gear on and headed out the basement to walk around front and retrieve my shovel to start the digging out process. That’s when I realized I had forgot the 6 foot high fence that surrounds my whole back yard with one gate that swings open. Which was currently blocked from moving by walls of snow on each side. So I turned, and started to climb the stairs to the deck to retrieve that shovel. Much of the snow must have blown off of my roof onto the deck because as soon as I took one step on to it, I sank all the way down to my hips. I couldn’t possibly make it the whole way across to the shovel that I could see teasing me at the other end. OH SHIT! We were trapped! What if one of the dogs gets sick….can I fling it over the fence and then fling myself over as well? But I can’t even get the car out of the driveway!
I went back inside the house, made myself a calming cuppa tea, and thought about the mess we were in. Finally, with no other options I could think of, I grabbed a frying pan from the kitchen and headed outside to dig out the wall of snow from around the gate. My first piece of luck – the gate door swings in, not out…or else I’d have had to climb over the fence. Once I got the snow cleared and the fence gate open, I make my way to the front door, retrieved the shovel, and I began the hours and hours of shoveling (with many breaks for hot chocolate and later Sam Adams) that was needed to open the exit ways from my house. And since the snow was so high, I had to spend quite a bit of time tramping down the snow in the back yard so the dogs could play. After their first face plant into 2+ feet of snow, they were hesitant to venture anywhere I hadn’t already been.
So, the lesson I learned the hard way from Nemo…..you can never have too many snow shovels and make sure one is always stored inside the house in case you get snowed in! Oh, and frying pans make bad snow shovels!!