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Shoveling (#998)

Topics/tags: Autobiographical

It snowed Wednesday night. Thursday I was out of town. It snowed more on Thursday night. And then again on Friday morning. So when I got home from work on Friday, I started to shovel. Now, I’m not the only one in the family who shovels. Michelle often shovels, And when the boys were home, they would often help out, too. But Friday night it seemed to be my turn.

I don’t know about other people, but when I shovel, I break the job up into sections. First, there are sections that must be shoveled. There’s the side deck. There’s the sidewalk from the side deck to the sidewalk that runs in front of the house [1]. Let’s call the latter sidewalk the front sidewalk [2]. There’s the portion of the front sidewalk that runs from the side sidewalk to the neighbors’ to the south. There’s the remainder of the side sidewalk that runs from the front sidewalk to the street. There’s the portion of the front sidewalk that runs from the side sidewalk to the walk to the front of the house. Hmmm … that also feels like it should be a front sidewalk. We’ll call that the front walk. There’s the portion of the front sidewalk that runs from the front walk to the neighbors’ to the north. There’s the portion of the front walk that runs from the house to the front sidewalk. And there’s the walk from the porch to the garage. If I count correctly, there are eight sections. So each time I complete a section, I can say to myself I completed another 12.5%. I realize that’s not quite true, since the sections aren’t all the same size. But it’s a close enough approximation that I feel like I’m making progress.

That’s the shoveling I did on Friday afternoon. This morning, I shoveled some of the remaining sections. What was left? The sidewalk on the south side of the garage, which leads to the alley. That’s the way I normally walk to work, so I like it cleared. There’s a pad between the garage and the alley. I count that as two sections, one in front of my half of the garage and one in front of Michelle’s half of the garage. Why do I count it as two sections? Because each takes at least as long to shovel as the other sections. It doesn’t help that they’ve usually plowed a bunch of alley snow on top of our snow.

Should I call it a garage? I’m pretty sure it started life as a carriage house. Somewhere in the house, there’s even a picture of it immediately after the June 17 Cyclone. Did you know that there were sunken greenhouses in the plot immediately to our south?

Back to the count of optional sections. There’s also a part of the front walk [3] that runs from the front sidewalk to the street. We haven’t shoveled that part for the past few storms, which makes me less inclined to shovel it right now. I’ll get to it eventually.

When the children are at home, we usually have a car parked in a space north of the house. It’s not always one of their cars; at times, I park in that space and they park in the garage. In any case, we need to shovel a path to that space, which puts us up to five sections beyond the initial eight and then from the space to the alley, which we’ll call one more section even though it’s probably more work than any of the other sections. Thankfully, I didn’t have to do those for this storm.

Do other people break up their shoveling into sections, too, or is that just one of the way too many ways in which my brain fails to follow the norm?

[1] Why isn’t that a front walk? I’m not sure.

[2] Not front-side walk.

[3] Remember that?

Version 1.0 of 2020-01-25.