To Shovel or Not to Shovel – That is the Question

Is it really necessary to shovel your driveway? Or do you just do it out of habit, or because that’s what your parents did when you were a kid? Or out of guilt, because your neighbor is out shovelling his as soon as the last flake falls? Think about it for a minute.

Now I’m not talking about up north where they measure snowfall in feet rather than inches. Those folks need attached garages, heating coils in outdoor steps, two or three sturdy snow shovels, and a snowplow blade mounted on at least one of their four-wheel-drive vehicles. They also need snowmobiles, cross-country skis, and other things I simply refuse to own. If I ever move away from Kentucky the only white stuff that should be outside my door is sand.

I’m talking about people who live in the suburbs of metropolitan areas, who have less than an acre of land, have concrete or asphalt driveways, and whose kids don’t go to school if ten inches of snow falls overnight. You don’t really need to shovel. That’s right, you don’t. Now if you have a sidewalk, then yes, you are legally obligated to shovel the sidewalk and the area through your driveway that could be considered sidewalk. And there may be some neighborhood associations – the ones that don’t allow basketball hoops or inflatable holiday decorations and send you nasty letters if you leave your garage door open too long – that require shoveling. But it was your choice to buy a house there. Read the fine print next time. The rest of us can just park near the end of the driveway when snow is predicted, shovel away the mound the plow left at the end of the driveway while the car warms up (no 4WD needed), brush off the snow on the roof, hood, and trunk with one of those 3-foot scraper/brush thingies they sell everywhere in the winter, then back out and drive away. If you don’t live right on a snow emergency route your street’s probably not been plowed at all, and if it has it’s certainly not been shoveled clean. So why should you do that to your driveway?

I grew up in the country. A driveway might be a mile long. They were all gravel. About every third person had a pickup with a snow-plow attachment in case of deep drifts. But mostly all it took was somebody driving up and down the driveway a time or two and it was perfectly fine. I married a city boy, one of four brothers. He thought shovelling was essential until he met me. Now he just shakes his head as he watches our neighbors shovel themselves into exhaustion. The guy next door is a bit out of control, though. He precision-shovels his entire driveway, all the way to the garage near the rear of his yard. Then his shovels the front walk, the back walk, and his large deck. I happen to know he signed the petition circulating last week to put in sidewalks – I think he just wants more to shovel!

I watch the neighborhood shovelers for another reason. Back when I worked as a nurse in the Coronary Care Unit the first decent snowfall of the year meant one thing: lots of elderly men coming in with heart attacks from shoveling their driveways. Really? Is it that important for you to be able to see the surface of your driveway? You just drive on it, maybe park on it. It’s not a piece of art, the snow’s not going to hurt it in any way. I worry more about clearing a path for my dogs to get outside without slipping than I do the driveway. We make sure our walkway is clear enough for the mailman, but we don’t really shovel, because it’s brick and river rock.

Have I changed your mind about shovelling? Shocked you to the very core of your driveway-maintenance beliefs? Or just reinforced what you’ve always known? Write a comment, send a pic!


Binge-Watching Netflix in the Snow


— 1 —

With storm fronts moving in and out, temps dropping, and snow falling my neck is keeping me from being very productive. So I figured if I couldn’t be productive maybe it would make me feel better to watch someone else achieve something! I started by watching¬†enough House Hunters International to make me realize that I will never have enough money to live in a house or apartment in any foreign country with indoor plumbing – even if I win the lottery. So I binge-watched Flea Market Flip and Rehab Addict (LOVE that one) and convinced myself that with just junk people put out for trash day I could build and furnish my own dream home. Of course that was before I tried to unload the dishwasher and had to stop halfway through to take a pain pill and lie down with an ice pack. Maybe I should try Hoarders next.

— 2 —

¬†We are a nerd family, so Leonard Nemoy’s passing hit us hard. My son was especially annoyed when soon after the gold/white or blue/black dress took over social media. I think his exact quote was, “Who gives a damn about that ugly dress? Spock died!”

— 3 —

John and I are also huge fans of The Walking Dead and its after-show with Chris Hardwick, Talking Dead. My goal this season is to have one of my tweets featured on the #deadbuzz segment of the show. Talking Dead lets all the fans sort of re-enter their normal lives gradually after the intensity of an hour of The Walking Dead. You can’t just watch a show like that and go to bed. Sadly, other shows have begun trying after-shows as well. Downton Abbey, for example. Don’t get me wrong, I love Downton, but what is there to say that’s different from one week to the next? “That was a real zinger from Maggie Smith, wasn’t it?” “Wow, Mary is such a bitch.” We could argue whether killing off Isis was the right or wrong thing to do, but I will always stand firmly on the side of not killing off TV show dogs no matter what their names are.

— 4 —

I do have a couple of snow-storm tips garnered from Facebook this week. This one is for small dogs: lay out a tarp before it snows (or before it gets too deep), then pull it back so your dog can go potty without sinking their entire back end into the snow.
small dog

— 5 —

I loved this contraption. It would be perfect for areas that get several feet of snow and have very real worries about roofs collapsing from the weight.

— 6 —

Anyone else watching Better Call Saul, the Breaking Bad off-shoot? My whole family likes it so far, which is great because my husband didn’t like Breaking Bad. He said it was too dark for him. And he doesn’t understand our love of The Walking Dead, either. But he always has the History Channel.

— 7 —

Lest you think I have done absolutely nothing while I’ve been snowed in I have used my time with a captive audience, everyone on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, reading blogs, and catching up on their email. My Nerium sales are soaring, which is great since April will be here soon, and along with it our very own “Microsoft Moment”! A product is being released early in April from the top research institution in the world. It’s been twenty-seven years and ten patents in the making, but it’s going to be the biggest thing direct marketing has ever seen. It will rock the foundations of skincare and anti-aging, and I’m SO excited that I’ve already got my seat on the rocket ship. I’m ready for something wonderful :D

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For the first time in forever I’m linking up to Mama Kat’s Writers’ Workshop. The prompt I’ve selected is to write a post inspired by the word shattered. Of course now I’ll have that Rolling Stones song running through my head all day long, so you might as well suffer along with me:

Anyway, early in our marriage Michael bought a used 1985 Chrysler Le Baron convertible. White exterior, dark red interior. It was beautiful . . . for about the first twenty-four hours we owned it. After that it was a money-pit, a complete lemon. It was just a few years later that Michael drove it to the junkyard with someone following him, parts falling off along the way like during The Blues Brothers movie.

But at one point while we were still enjoying it we had the canopy replaced because of a tear. Aaron was just a toddler, and he and I were home on a Saturday while Michael had my car at work. I thought we’d put the top down and go to the zoo, our usual Saturday destination. But as I put the top down the glass in the rear window shattered. I’ll never forget that sound. I brought Aaron and our zoo supplies back inside, because obviously I’d be spending the day picking up tiny pieces of glass that might harm my baby. I called to get an estimate on replacing the glass, and the auto glass shop quoted me $600, which was very close to the price we’d just paid to replace the entire canopy!

I laid down on the sofa, curled up, and cried. I was overwhelmed at how quickly a sunny, happy Saturday had turned into a financial disaster (or what I considered a financial disaster at that time!). Aaron, sweet boy that he always was, brought me his favorite stuffed toy, Melvin the teddy bear, and told me I could hold him until I felt better. How sweet is that? Amazingly, he’s grown up to be an equally compassionate adult. He makes me so proud!

I called Michael at work and told him the bad news so he wouldn’t come home to a nasty surprise, and he called the very same auto glass shop I’d called earlier and asked for an estimate. For him? $400. That’s the reason I don’t ever take one of our cars to be repaired. Maybe it was just a fluke, but $200 was a whole heck of a lot of money to us back then and I’m still distrustful of repair-work quotes given to women. Maybe someday I’ll get past it. Perhaps when I can find a female mechanic?

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Anything worth doing can be done in jammies!