Thursday, December 27, 2012

Shoveling Out

A winter storm brought a heavy wet blanket of snow six inches deep. My first official act of the day was to step out on the deck, shove some snow aside to uncover the birdseed, and put a fresh supply out. The birds (and squirrels) were probably not grateful for my snow clearing--I don't want to give anthropomorphic traits to them--but they did take advantage of my "thoughtfulness". Even now I can see them zooming past my window on their trip to the deck for another helping.

Feeling like my body was made of half frozen slush, I began to shuffle around my routine while thinking about how the snow was going to affect my day and others. My second official act was to call my parents. We both agreed that it would work if we arrived there later. (It is a two-hour drive to their house and we were scheduled to spend an overnight visiting.) I knew we'd need to shovel out not just our driveway and sidewalk, but also a path to the basement sliding doors, since this was John and Leslie's moving day. Most of their wedding gifts, piled high in the basement, were going to need to be extracted by the movers through those sliding doors. After dressing and breakfasting, we created a route through the white wilderness, but first I had other people to consider.

Next my thoughts went to Bob and Becca, who were blazing their way through the winter storm from Michigan to New York City to catch their flight to Russia to see Laura. I tried calling my sister Janis first, to see if they stopped there for the night and if they had gotten back on the road again. No answer. Then I overcame my reluctance to seem to be (and actually was) a worried mother and called them directly using their cell phone numbers. They were in Pennsylvania, had spent the night with Janis, got up at 4 a.m., shoveled out, and had some rough patches on the road. Now their coast was clear, and although it was going to be tight, they thought they would make it. I sighed in relief.

By this time Jack had the snow blower going. He had bought it a year and a half ago, and the winter was so mild last year, it was never used. This was virgin territory for that clunking, roaring, red behemoth--but it did its job well. Meanwhile I was shoveling snow off the van so it would be ready for our trip. While my back was turned, Jack blew some snow on me, plastering my back with heavy slush. I gave him a look that he somehow interpreted as "so cute". I was amused, but I had not intended to show it.

Now we were almost ready to pack up for our trip. The phone rang. It was Pat. He needed a car to get to the doctor, since he had been sick with a fever for several days. We arranged to drive both cars over to his apartment and leave one with him on our way out of town.

We were shoveled out. Janis was shoveled out. Bob and Becca were shoving through. John and Leslie were shoving forward. We could shove Pat out the door to the doctor. It was time to shove on.

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