Yesterday we hired someone to shovel our driveway and sidewalks. Last night we started a SmartyPig goal to pay for hiring him six times next winter.
I also turned on the Christmas lights because I need the extra brightness to get me through the thought of EVEN MORE SHOVELING.
The Hot New Workout for Homeowners is Snow Raking
Whatever part of me thought winter would be an aerobically slow month for me was a silly silly part.
I bought a snow rake last month after being advised by my father-in-law we needed one ASAP, but we hadn’t yet used it.
Well, we’ve got a pretty good ice dam built up in the gutters.
There’s not much to be done about it now, but I wanted to get out and prevent any further build-up. I broke out (and assembled) the snow rake.
I spent half an hour snow raking half the roof. Husband gets the rest tonight - I’m too short and weak to reach the back.
It’s 7 degrees outside today and I was very, very happy for my carefully-planned winter get-up: my long Columbia coat, a conscript hat and Dots gloves (which insure I can continue to Twitter without removing my gloves).
The 10-day forecast doesn’t give me hope that our ice cam will be melting soon. Oh, January.
A New Snowblower
Last week, fed up with shoveling snow, I attempted an experiment - the results of which I’d like to share with you.
In case you were wondering, it’s totally possible to use a leaf blower to clear snow from a driveway. It’s particularly useful for prying packed snow off of sidewalks. This is the one we have. It’s nice and powerful and has adjustable speed.
Due to a tech snafu, I have only one photo: but see the snow fly?
Honestly, leafblowing was perfectly suitable except that I felt like a total neighborhood freak - which is a label I’m okay with, but I want to edge there slowly.
Still, if I’m feeling up to being judged I have a new tool for packed snow removal.
The Protocol for Shoveling Your Neighbors’ Walk
I met one of the neighbors while we were both shoveling recently, and this led me to wonder about how we should handle shoveling for our neighbors, who are all 65+. That night, Scott and I talked over the protocol on when you shovel others’ sidewalks. Nerdy, I know, but it’s the kind of thing that is often an unspoken code between neighbors which must be delicately handled.
I didn’t take a photo of my neighbor when I met him because that would have been weird. So here’s an artist’s rendering instead. Less weird.
In an ideal situation, I’d like to be able to shovel everyone’s walks, every time. What can I say? I’m a nice person with a soft spot for old people. But that’s just not realistic.
There’s also difficulty in setting a precedent on how early you’ll shovel a walk. And if you clear the snow from your neighbor’s sidewalks too late, it could look like a passive-aggresive hint.
And so, Scott and I set these rules for ourselves.
1. Shovel the walk for your neighbors when you’d like to! But be aware that:
2. This could force you to have conversations with the neighbors. Hypothetical situation: you’ve shoveled very often and are now going out of town. What if it snows while you’re gone? One doesn’t want to seem rude when the shoveling service suddenly stops coming. So this requires face time.
3. The Biggie. When do you shovel the walk? The answer is: When you’re going to shovel for them, always shovel the neighbors’ at the same time you do your own. This way a late-shovel-job won’t seem like a passive-aggressive hint that, hey buddy, way to go at not clearing a path.
I know. This is all too complicated. It’s what happens when you’d like to have friendly relations in the neighborhood without ever having to talk to anyone.
But I know we’re not the only ones. Anyone else? Have you worked out an unspoken code with your neighbors?