Saturday, January 9, 2010

Just Shoveling the - um - Snow

When I was pregnant with Lea, Tom and I were newlyweds renting a home in South Jersey. I was on bed rest due to pre-eclampsia. I was bored. It was a lonely winter. Friends and family called or stopped in when they could, but their lives were going on. We lived a couple miles down an old country road. We were isolated. When Tom left for work every morning, I would start counting the hours until he'd return. When he did come home, of course, he had to cook and do laundry and clean - he didn't really have the time or energy to socialize with me. Plus, as I may have mentioned, I was isolated and starved for human contact. Many of my attempts at interaction began with, "Today on Ricki Lake..." Yep. It was a lonely winter.

During that winter, we were hit with a big snow storm - the likes of which South Jersey hadn't seen in decades, if John Bathke, local anchorman extraordinaire, was to be believed. Tom was at work while Days of Our Lives was continually being interrupted with reports of the incoming inclement weather. I was secretly pleased. Not, you know, that m'stories were being interrupted - that part sucked - but that it looked like we were going to be snowed in.

I envisioned a long weekend curled up next to my honey - drinking hot chocolate, talking, maybe playing some cards - candles lit in case of a power outage, blankets wrapped around us to fend off the cold - it would be romantic. I entertained this fantasy while I watched the first tentative flakes begin to fall. There was no wind, so they fell straight down, sparkling as they landed and stuck to the already cold ground. It was beautiful. I couldn't wait for Tom to get home and share it with me. This was going to be great - a last shot at being a couple before the baby arrived.

By the time he got home, a few inches had already accumulated. He did not seem to be as excited about the prospect of being snowed in as I was. He threw together a quick dinner, then immediately donned snow gear and headed out with a spade - because we didn't have a snow shovel. (This was the first winter either of us had lived anywhere but in an apartment where snow removal was part of the contract - it hadn't occurred to us.)

We had a long circular gravel driveway.

The snow continued to fall as he shoveled. As the sun set, he came in the house and collapsed, prone on the floor, exhausted. The snow continued to fall. It was the weekend, so I figured the romantic portion of the snowstorm would begin the next day. I was mistaken. The next morning, he got up, had a cup of coffee, and headed straight back outside with the shovel. He would come in for breaks from time to time - to thaw his fingers or to grab something warm to eat or drink - then he'd head right back outside. The snow was relentless, but so was my man. He was gonna beat this mutha.

The next day I begged him to let it be. He was sore and tired and grumpy. But he went right back out in it. Part of his reasoning was that he was going to need to get out Monday morning for work and that would be much easier if he kept up with it.

"Much harder if you break your back."



Monday morning, of course, our little country road still hadn't been plowed. Our driveway was clear, but it was as far as he was gonna get. This was before the days when telecommuting was an option, so he was left with no choice but to call in, explain his situation, and let them know that he'd be there as soon as the plow hit our street.

It could've been a lovely weekend.

It was not.

That was fourteen years ago. Things change. Things stay the same.

We're under a couple few inches of snow now. Tom worked from home the last two days. The kids have been home from school. Once again, it was a perfectly lovely snow - white and fluffy and sparkling. Removing even a flake of it didn't occur to one of the four of us. Because we were huddled together under blankets around the fire drinking hot chocolate and playing cards? Hardly. Everyone is doing their own thing in the four corners of the house. It's the only way we can stay off of each others nerves. Plus, our fireplace has been out of commission for two years. People are particularly staying clear of me, because when the sky matches the landscape, and both are white, I tend to turn into the Wicked Bitch of the Midwest.

Shoveling seems futile.

Everything seems futile.

Most of my neighbors seem to be in agreement.

Most, but not one. She was shoveling when I went to bed last night at 10:30 and she was shoveling when I woke up this morning at 6:00. When the whole neighborhood is quiet - as it tends to be at those two times - it is extraordinarily loud and annoying; her diligence a judgment on our laziness. Last night I told Tom it sounded like someone playing drums - no - someone LEARNING to play drums. She is working my last nerve and I'm about to set my Flying Monkeys loose on her. I don't know where she thinks she's going anyway - our street has not been plowed.

Now would it kill somebody to bring me some damn hot chocolate?

I'm working on another novel this winter, and I thought I'd share a representative exerpt:

All work and no play makes Tammy a dull girl.

Something like seventy days till Spring. I can do this...


Unknown said...

Ahh male ego can't live with it, can't kill em for it. LIke you I live in the country only our driveway is long and downhill and not one ya shovel. It is alsonot one you get up very well if it snows. Teh bhavior in this house is much the same now. Each child has their thing and I am on the puter while hubby watches TV through closed eyelids

Formerly known as Frau said...

Don't shovel just wait for the sun to come May! That's what I'm doing!!Have a wonderful weekend.

Allison said...

We're so lucky that our neighbor has a snow plow and plows our sidewalks and walkways for us. Unfortunately we have no driveway. Although from reading this post, I can't help but think that his wife must be feeling like you do and wishing that he would just come inside and forget about it.

I so relate to the wicked bitch's been a hell of time here over the last week of being practically snowed in!

Unknown said...

I have to confess, this is my first winter being retired and not having to cope with the snow. The kids are all grown up and gone, and there's just hubby and me. If we feel like sleeping in on a snowy day, we do. If we want to curl up in our recliners and watch TV. we do. It's wonderful to not HAVE to go to work or anywhere!

Mike said...

Red rum Red Rum!!!

hahaha! clever little reference. You must be surprised that a guy who has only read 20 books in his entire life got that!

I would love to be snowed in, as long as I had no other human contact!

Linda said...

Posts like this with the four letter word scare me...SNOW! We are planning on moving to Colorado this year and I'm hoping I can cope with snow issues. I'm a CA girl who wants to experience life somewhere else, and most places have snow!

I can assure you, my husband's first purchase will be a snow blower!

BONNIE K said...

I also love the idea of being snowed in. Last year my son was a pizza delivery guy and one Friday all the schools were closed. He wasn't scheduled to work, but they called and asked him to work cause all these kids staying home from school were ordering pizza. That amused me.

Joanna Jenkins said...

A spade???? Toms seriously shoveled snow with a spade! Having shoveled mountains of snow in my day, I will be laughing at that one all day long. I can't even imagine that :-)

Hang in there Tammy.

Sandy said...

OMG you are so funny! Yeah,'s so pretty to watch fall and such a bitch to clear. Paul and I have an unspoken agreement. I cook and he clears the snow. Although I do shovel the deck so Lucy can get out to pee.

I'd like to reserve a first edition of that book and would you please inscribe it?

Melissa B. said...

We were just talking about this tonight. We figure 6 weeks and then we'll start to see robins again. Ya think?

Allyson said...

First of all, I cannot even imagine trying to SPADE a circular driveway. I mean that is dedication. Wow. Secondly, I had the exact same problem with our neighbor across the street, except in the summertime. He's the groundskeeper for a golf course. Do you know how annoying that is? Who mows their grass at 7 am?
May I suggest buying a snow blower? Our friends in Chicago have one and while I didn't actually use it, the husband made it look TERRIBLY easy. Here's to snowfall and hot chocolate (with or without Bailey's, whatever) and being home with the family...even if they are in 4 corners of the house - at least it's all in the same house!

Macey said...

All work and no play...YIKES! You're The Shining in the midwest!!
We are lucky enough to not have that much snow...ever. KNOCK ON WOOD, cuz now we'll have a blizzard. Blech. Sequins. You need sequins. Shiny. Pretty. Not white or gray or blue. I'm gonna get on this right away.

Becky said...

I wish everyone would go to different corners of the house, because they ALL are getting on my damn nerves.

2 snow days, 2 weekend days, right after a 2 hour delay and Christmas break. 4 kids, and EVERYONE needs Mom for everything.

No...I'm not bitter.

I wish I could enjoy the snow too, but right now it's just giving them ammo.

Kelley @ magneto bold too said...


People who can reference films obscurely are my favourite kinda people.

Funny how you (and all the other northern hemisphere types) are blogging about the weather cause we have the exact opposite problem here. TOO DAMN HOT!

Anonymous said...

The sun was shining here yesterday and I tried to soak up as much as I could. It's so hard!! Hang in there.

Claudya Martinez said...

Someone bring this woman a hot chocolate!

MaryRC said...

i read this on my BB and couldnt comment. i am blogger banned while my hubs is home late thursday thru 7 pm on sunday. im not ignoring you, im just in fam-cram prison..

anywhoo, sounds like tom may have had alot of demons to shovel out there.. or maybe his secret superhero identity is "the shoveler" mystery men

Tracie said...

I have a neighbor that will be outside with his snowblower in the middle of a snowstorm. Lather, rinse, repeat every other damn hour. He's out there till about 10 pm. And he's retired. So he doesn't have to be out in it. Drives me crazy.

70 more days? We can do this. Right?