Friday, January 4, 2013

Past Deadline: The Great Goop Storm of 2012

Here’s this week’s “Past Deadline,” published in The Perth Courier on Jan. 3/13. Does shovelling count as exercise for my New Year’s resolutions?
The Great Goop Storm of 2012
“Snow. The final frontier. These are the voyages of the shoveller Stephanie. Her continuing mission: to uncover old, existing pavement, to seek out various porches and sweep off satellite dishes, to boldly go where she always goes after it snows….”
I’ve said it before – I don’t mind winter, even though I am not an avid winter sports person (“avid” and “sports” seldom go together in a sentence for me). I live in a part of Canada where winter is winter and I’ve come to expect snow. It brightens up the place and makes it pretty in the dark months.
The shovelling part can kinda stink, though.
As I write this, snow is gently falling on what undoubtedly would have been a snow day if the kids were in school. It is the second biggish winter storm, but the snow is about 500 times lighter than the first one.
Y’all remember the first storm before Christmas? The one that featured all manner of goop falling from the sky?
That was heavy stuff!
I loved how the first layer was freezing rain and water with a top layer of very wet snow. As you dug down to scoop up a small shovel-full (because a big scoop would either a. weigh 245 pounds and hurt your back or b. break the shovel), you were greeted with that layer of sticky watery goop at the bottom that actually stuck to the shovel.
Clearing porches and driveways and sidewalks (oh my!) was no easy feat. My shoulders ached for a good two days. (Thank you, ibuprofen.)
Foliage also needed rescue. Cedar hedges that withstood the Great Ice Storm of 1998 fell victim to the Great Goop Storm of 2012.
In a typical winter, we shake the snow off the cedar hedge that surrounds my in-laws’ backyard once or twice as it builds up, but this storm required urgent action. Boychild and I went out, armed with rakes, and clawed huge chunks of frozen goop off the hedge.
After that, my hands ached for about four days. Jeepers, it stinks getting older!
My other favourite part of that particular winter event was the next day. The town plows came through in the night and the temperature started to drop, so the next task was to remove the frozen ice boulders from the end of the driveway.
I felt as if I were working in the Silver Queen Mine – chopping away at icy rocks and hauling them off a bit at a time. Black powder might have been more effective.
Despite the achiness of the occasion, I’m still happy to see snow instead of freezing rain. I worry that as our climate changes, we’ll see less of this brightness and more freezing rain and darkness. Given my history of falling and busting my butt on indoor stairs, I’d rather not take chances with icy ones.
Another reason I prefer snow is because it’s easier to get the kids outside. It has been awesome lately for fort building – those chunks of snow make great blocks.
I am also trying to groom (mostly unsuccessfully at the moment) a pair of assistant snow shovellers. Seems they were much keener to shovel when they were younger, but I haven’t given up. Boychild tried to help with the Great Goop, but it was pretty heavy and he didn’t last long. (I felt his pain.)
I wonder how I will feel about snow in a decade or so when the assistant shovellers are grown and I’m that much older and achier?
Hopefully I will still view it as that frontier to be explored. Best to live in the moment I think….

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