We live in a neighbourhood that is a mix of elderly people, middle-aged people and young families. It’s a lovely old neighbourhood with big mature trees and wide streets. When the neighbourhood was built all of the houses were on septic, so we are blessed with larger than average lots. Double lots mean that there is plenty of room for a double laneway, and most houses have them. Our house has a double laneway, which means that we get our fair share of snow in the winter.
We are in the minority in the neighbourhood, in that we choose to shovel ourselves. This choice is partly for the environment, partly to be frugal, and partly for the exercise. I know that there are all sorts of health risks associated with shovelling, but we are careful and reckless like that. Historically we have taken turns with the shovelling. Keeping track of this between snowfalls is hard to remember, so we assign winters. That means that if it is your turn to shovel, it is your turn for the entire winter. You don’t forget who’s turn it is in the fall if you had to shovel the entire preceding winter. Remember the winter of 2007-2008 where we got 400 billion centimeters of snow? That was my winter, and you can bet that I remembered the following year.
Today, I REALLY regretted that we decided on this approach.
The snow that fell last night and then got rained on ALL day today is REALLY heavy. Even though it is Willy’s year to shovel, I felt bad sitting on the chesterfield while it got wetter and wetter. I finally guilted myself into going out and grabbed the shovel. It was tough to move and took much longer than a regular clear. As I shovelled and shovelled, the neighbour’s Mr. Plow came by to do their laneway. In the three minutes that it took, I hoped that he would do mine too, out of the kindness of his heart. He didn’t and I kept going.
He passed by three more times, knowing that the plows were in my ‘hood, waiting to clear the dump for my neighbour. Each time I hoped a little bit more, and each time he drove by. I knew he didn’t have to help me, and that I should finish the job, even though I wanted to go inside and let Willy finish when he got home, it being his year to shovel after all. He didn’t and I kept going until it was done.
I went to gather the assortment of shovels from the end of the laneway and noticed the plow heading towards me. Perfect timing. Even though it’s Willy’s year to shovel and I was tired, I couldn’t leave it. So I watched as he collected all of that snow from in front of my neighbour’s house and in front of mine, then dumped it at the bottom of my drive. The driver gave me the “I’m sorry shrug” and I started clearing it. Mr. Plow came by, his work, and headed up the street away from me. With my last hope dashed, I kept going. It was then that I heard the now familiar rumble coming back towards me. I looked up to see the blade of his truck poised to clear the mess. I stepped back and in one sweep it was on the lawn. He backed up and said “that should help” and drove away as I quickly thanked him! His nice gesture made me forget that I wasn’t supposed to be shoveling today, and kinda glad I did!