Don't Rush Me
Rush into action.
One man prepares for snow
February 02, 2011 - "Please sir, keep your negative views to yourself and move to a climate more suitable to your liking."
-- David Belch
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After I was shellacked for reporting on the trials and tribulations of shoveling snow this past December (I logged every step during my snow shoveling exploits for one day and found that I had shoveled nearly 1.3 miles worth of the white, fluffy stuff), I vowed to the world via that social networking behemoth, Facebook, that I would never write about shoveling snow again.
Nannie-nannie-poo-poo, if you don't like it, sue me.
When I heard the news that between Monday and Wednesday we could get over a foot of snow, I went into action. See, I knew kids growing up who were Boy Scouts and their motto was to be prepared. While I never was a scout (for some reason my parents thought their only son would be better served taking -- no snickering -- tap-dancing lessons) I hung around them enough to hijack their credo of preparedness for myself.
When I shovel snow (or rake leaves) I kinda go into combat mode. To keep my brain from atrophying during the tedious exercise of shoveling (or raking), I make what I am doing personal. War. Whilst the repetitive motion occurs physically, in my mind I hear the tin can sounding voice-overs from the 1940s Movietone News.
"Invading hordes of snow and ice have moved across the Rushland border last night. President Rush ordered his generals to eradicate and repel the invaders. Leading the charge is this country's bravest hero, General DP Rush."
It's me against the snow. The snow is the enemy and must be moved. It's kind of fun to shovel or rake knowing the fate of the Free World rests on your shoulders.
So, this past Sunday I heard the news of the upcoming snow invasion and went out to prepare. Already this winter I had shoveled snowbanks around my driveway. The banks of snow were from waist to chest high. First, I knocked those down. If the big snow coming was wet and heavy, I reasoned, it would be easier to throw if I didn't have to lift it high off the ground.
When that task was completed, I surveyed my work. The heaping mounds of snow had moved about three or four feet away from the drive. As a skilled, militaristic tactician I thought of the impending siege. The enemy, snow, could come in from the north, but more likely blow across from the northwest.
Fortifications were needed.
I spent the next few hours building up a series of what I called "snow breaks" throughout my yard, west of the drive. You can call them snow banks. My neighbors will call 'em, I am sure, eyesores. Each successive snow break is about two to three feet tall. They are designed (engineered in my head) to cut down on drifting snow. It is my theory that blowing snow will have to fill in against the snow breaks first, then in between the snow banks, thus leaving less snow to drift on the driveway.
If necessity is the Mother of Invention, laziness is its father. The less snow I have to shovel the better.
I spent much of Sunday afternoon readying for the war and was satisfied with the work. Trench warfare is never pretty and I bet my neighbors are pretty aghast at the warzone that is my front and backyards. But I was ready, I slept well that night.
When I got to work on Monday I went to the National Weather Service website to read storm updates. And, here is what I learned: "Wind chill values as low as -2. Blustery, with a east northeast wind between 18 and 28 mph, with gusts as high as 36 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New snow accumulation of 6 to 10 inches possible."
Did you read that carefully?
NORTHEAST wind . . . my fortifications were set to repel hordes of snow coming from the northWEST.
Battles, nay, wars have been won or lost based on intelligence gathered before and during any conflict. My intel was wrong. My strategy flawed. I can hear the Movietone voicer-over guy now.
"Invading hordes of snow and ice have moved across the Rushland border last night and overrun the entire hemisphere. All is lost. Hug your children, kiss your wives, gather your provisions and head for the hills. General DP Rush has failed."
Don is Assistant Publisher for Sherman Publications, Inc. He has worked for the company since 1985. He has won numerous awards for column, editorial and feature writing as well as for photography. He has two, sons Shamus and Sean and resides in the area. To read archived copies of his columns, click on his name, just under his picture up top . . . He can be e-mailed at: firstname.lastname@example.org