As the week progressed last week, talk of a major snowstorm heading our way heated up, which led me to wonder, wait, didn’t I move to the beach, where the joke is that it NEVER snows?!?
But I digress.
Whether or not a storm happens, when one is predicted, it’s important for any handy homeowner girl to get prepared. I knew the storm was to hit over the weekend (initial predictions were for it to start at 4pm on Friday and go through 7pm on Saturday), so Thursday night I headed to the grocery store.
I probably should have gone Wednesday, because everyone had snow fever and was buying groceries like they’d be locked in their homes for the next month! I did manage to get everything I needed and get out of there without ramming anyone with my cart and I was glad to have all my staples in case I got snowed in.
But how else could I prepare?
First, I had to make sure I had the essential snow management items – I put my shovel outside by the front door, so I wouldn’t have to be trying to open the shed door against a foot of snow on Saturday morning. I also put my salt back in the front closet temporarily to fight any post-storm ice. When I was in for the night on Friday, I made sure to park my car further back on my driveway (it made shoveling easier the last time) and put all of my windshield wipers up – this keeps them from freezing to the windshield and maybe tearing when scraping the car off. I knew where all my relevant clothing was, from long underwear and ski socks to my hat, gloves, coat and boots.
Friday afternoon, I also made sure to run all of my errands. I have been taking a ceramics class on Saturday afternoons (which was cancelled), and I like to head to Target afterwards and pick up a Starbucks frappuccino. Okay, so it’s not a blizzard necessity, but I grabbed one anyway, so that I wouldn’t feel slighted about missing it. Then, I headed to Lowe’s for some paint for the guest room. I’d finally decided on a color, and thought it might be a good idea to have an indoor project planned for the weekend while I was stuck inside. It was funny to see people racing me to the door of Lowe’s because they thought I was there for a shovel – and the only one they had left was a metal one more for digging than shoveling!
I also made sure to hit the ATM so I had enough cash – it seems like a silly thing to make sure of because it’s not like I’d be ordering a pizza or anything, but I felt in case we were really slammed and I needed to call someone to plow me out, it would be good to be able to pay him. I just wanted to be prepared.
Something else I should have gotten was logs for the fire – there were a number of power outages with this storm, so it would have been good to have the ability to light a fire if my power went out. But I didn’t think of that until I was already at home. After I’d already driven the 20 minutes back to the main spot for shopping. Twice.
Snuggled up at home with the pup, we awaited the storm. At 4pm, nothing. Same thing until 9, when the first flakes started to fall. It didn’t seem to be sticking much at first, so I thought, watch, the weathermen have gotten this wrong. But by 11, we had two inches already and I wasn’t feeling so good about having to go to bed without being able to take shoveling a few inches at a time.
I got up at 9 to a winter wonderland. While we at the shore were fortunate to not get that much snow (I haven’t seen the overall totals, but I think it’s about 18 inches, maybe a bit more), we had a foot of snow on the ground when I got up. I prayed that my neighbors with a snowblower would take pity on me, but I bundled up and got started. The snow was heavy, sitting on a layer of slushy ice, and it was brutal shoveling. Because it was so heavy, I took my time with shoveling. I started by making a path for the pup on the deck and a little bit of the yard so that he wouldn’t be overwhelmed by white (he still was a little – he has stubby legs). Then I shoveled off my front stoop and sidewalk. Because of the way my car was parked, and my neighbor’s cars, the front of my driveway was like a wind tunnel – there were deep drifts, but some of the snow was fairly low. So I managed that and brushing off my car before I needed to take a break.
Shoveling is a hard thing to do, and more of a serious workout than some people realize, so I made sure to drink a lot of water and some juice to keep my energy up and keep from getting overheated. Taking a couple of breaks helped too, though I couldn’t let my muscles stiffen up too much, or I wouldn’t have gotten back out there! After about a half hour, I headed out again and managed to shovel a good part of the rest of my driveway. The main issue after a while was running out of places to put the snow as I shoveled it, so I ended up building these huge piles of snow, which was exhausting. I would take short breaks outside to push some of the lighter snow along the cleared parts towards a larger pile and then pile it on top. It made the shoveling more manageable.
I took another break and knew at that point that if I didn’t finish up the driveway, I’d never be able to get it all done. I live on a cul de sac, so when the plows went through, they didn’t get very close to the edge of the street. That meant that I had about seven feet in front of my driveway that I also needed to shovel, in case there was an emergency. And not only was this the snow that had fallen, but mixed into it was the heavier, icy snow that the plow had turned up. It was fairly brutal, but I finally managed it and knew I was done for. I figured any shoveling after that would be easier, as long as I kept an eye on how much was falling and kept on top of it.
I decided to nix the painting project for the weekend because I was so exhausted, and ended up watching some tv and drinking hot chocolate. When I went out for another round of shoveling around 4 (I’d finished the first set of shoveling around 1), I had just cleared the sidewalk when my neighbor came out to say that they’d be happy to use the snowblower to finish digging me out. I wanted to ask where they’d been all morning while I was shoveling, but I appreciated being able to stop for the day. I did clear off my car one more time and gratefully went back inside to relax again. We were very lucky not to lose power here, and once my neighbor plowed me out this morning, the driveway and sidewalk snow melted under the sun (though it’s only 28 degrees). The trees are also melting, though they looked very beautiful and mysterious yesterday covered in snow. According to the snowfall totals I’ve seen, we ended up with about 18 inches of snow.
I’m also feeling every muscle in my body today from the shoveling, so while I started on my guest room, I’ve decided to take my time with it and paint next weekend. Although, because I’ve cleared everything out but the bed and dresser, and it’s sitting in the hallway and my office, we’ll see how long that lasts…