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The Sleepy Eye Herald Dispatch - Sleepy Eye, MN
  • Shoveling is hard work

  • I now have a new reason to look forward to getting old...
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  • I now have a new reason to look forward to getting old...
     
    First and foremost, I want to retire somewhere south that doesn’t ever get snow... EVER.
     
    Secondly, if that’s not an option (which it likely won’t be since my 401K says I can retire when I’m 93), then I’ll allow Hubby to buy a snowblower.
     
    I have resisted buying a snow blower out of respect for our checkbook balance. More than that, if it wasn’t for shoveling, I would get absolutely no exercise in the winter.
     
    Shoveling snow is one of those mindless activities that I am exceedingly suited for. It teaches me patience, humility and eventually, a little about chiropractics.
     
    In the meantime Hubby has been on a shoveling hiatus since he injured his knee last spring and the injury reared its ugly head again about a month ago. I’d accuse him of faking it to get out of shoveling if his knee didn’t look like something out of a horror movie minus the blood.
     
    That leaves the shoveling up to me.
     
    Monday morning I awoke to a thick blanket of snow. Aside from creating a colossal mess in my driveway and on my car I refused to be intimidated.
     
    I started out this latest winter storm with good intentions. Inspired by the example set by my snow blowing neighbors, I was determined not to let snow pile up on my driveway.
     
    I decided lunch time would be a good time to shovel. I was still semi-fresh from only a half-day of work under my belt. I started on the top part of my driveway closest to the garage where my car had been parked over night. I figured it would be a good warm up.
     
    Midway through my efforts snot was pouring from both nostrils and I was beginning to sweat. I apologize to my neighbors or any passer-byers who witnessed my farmer blow to clear my sinuses.
     
    I paused to assess my progress. Despite the wheezing and my heart pounding in my chest, half the driveway looked decent and I still had 30 minutes of my lunch break left.
     
    By the time I completed the task over three-quarters of my lunch hour had passed. I was sweaty and thirsty, my hair was damp and I needed to change out of my wet work clothes. On the plus side, my hands and feet had stayed remarkably warm.
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    Walking back to the house I felt slightly lightheaded and wobbled a little bit. I felt my pulse and was pleased that I had hit my exercise target heart rate.
     
    I returned to work 15 minutes late and could barely lift my arms up to the keyboard. I wondered how I was going to possibly make it another four hours without a nap.
     
    On Tuesday morning when I awoke to find more snow I sprang out the door, shovel in hand.
     
    This time, however, I only managed to scoop the steps and the first quarter of the driveway before I chucked the shovel back in the garage and climbed into my car, sore and tired.
     
    It was 8 a.m.
     
    For two days I have fought the good fight, but I give up.
    I’m not alone in my surrender. I’ve noticed neighbors have stopped shoveling and just put their house up for sale.
     
    Now every time I come home it is the same panicked drive up the little hill to the garage. Then there is that critical moment where I have to choose being stuck or crashing into the garage.
     
    The past snowfalls this winter I’ve simply compressed the snow with my car until I have carved out a shape that seems recollective of my driveway.
     
    With periods of melting and refreezing the driveway turned into a death trap that only the courageous would have dared take a chance on.
     
    In the end, it always boils down to doing the work and somehow finding a way to clear the driveway.
     
    Despite texts on Tuesday telling my friends and family I was moving south, I’m hopeful spring is just around the corner.
     
    Ah, to be young again.
     

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