Saturday, February 9, 2013

Sustainable Saturday - Shoveling Nemo

(Thank you, everyone who commented on my post yesterday.  So far, my mother in law is OK and with power.)

Here on the East Coast of the United States, a winter storm quickly formed and dumped varying amounts of snow, sometimes in near-blizzard conditions, between yesterday and early this morning.  The Weather Channel named it "Nemo". Portland, Maine got over 29 inches.  We, at our house near Johnson City, New York, got about 5.5 inches.  In the lower Hudson Valley where my mother in law lives, totals varied from about 15 to 21 inches.

When I got home from work last night, the snow was already coating sidewalks and plants.  The look of snow on plants was unusual, almost like foam- this photo does not do it justice.
By 10pm, the neighborhood looked like a winter fairyland, as the snow (the streaks in the photo below) continued to fall.  (This picture, by the way, was taken without flash.)

In the broad daylight of Saturday morning, everything was coated with heavy snow.  Not an ideal snow for someone with a bad back (me) to shovel.
My spouse was exhausted from two hard days of work, and wasn't up to shoveling yet. So, after a walk around the neighborhood, I took a soft broom and started to clean off our car. (Fortunately, we don't have a public sidewalk, but we do have two walks that cross our front yard.)  And, needless to say, the plow had thrown snow up, blocking our driveway.  We weren't going to go anywhere until I got the job done.  Fortunately, neither one of us had to work today.

A couple of minutes into the job, with my back to our street, I heard a man's voice.

"Excuse me, ma'm", a middle aged man said.  "I clean off sidewalks and driveways.  Would you like me to clean your sidewalks and driveway?  I'll even finish cleaning off your car."

He quoted me a price of $20.  We don't have a large front yard, but, that shoveling would have not had a positive impact on my bad back.  We don't own a snow blower, a common machine around here.  Never have.  My spouse didn't want to spend the money at first, but after a couple of evil glares from me, gave in.

We had the money and gave him the job.  I was glad to see that he used a shovel rather than a snow blower - and he was good at it.  The job was soon done and it was done well.  It would have taken me a long time.

A snow blower may not be "sustainable" but it can be worth it for a couple of 60 year old people.  But better yet was giving employment to a middle-aged man.  I don't know if he was rich or poor.  Maybe he was out of work and earning money this way.  Or perhaps he is a contractor in the summer.  I didn't ask, and he didn't tell.

We used to get a lot (80 inches or more) of snow here each winter.  Last winter, we got (at the airport, which gets more than we do) about 27 inches.  We lived here in the record snowfall year, 134 inches, 1995-96. 

Hopefully the "snow drought" continues, and we don't have to think about getting a snow blower in our late middle age.

Were you impacted by Nemo?

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a well spent $20! You'd spend more than that at the chiropractor!


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