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I can't believe I shoveled...

...the whole thing.

Only those who have been to Toad Woods will truly understand the magnitude of tonight's Adventures in Shoveling. I shoveled the driveway for the first time since moving here 4 years ago. The entire driveway, not just the concrete apron in front of the garage that Plow Guy can't easily clear. The whole 275-foot curving up the hill length of the driveway! Wide enough for batwrangler to drive down, which she did a little over an hour ago.

After dropping somewhere between 7 and 8 new inches of beautiful powdery fluff, it stopped snowing here at Toad Woods right around 11pm. It's the kind of snow that's a breeze to shovel when there are 2-3 inches on the ground. Especially if you have a back-saving, bent-handle pusher shovel. But by the time you get 8 inches of the stuff, there's not much pushing to be done. It's all scoop, lift, 'n toss.

I'd been out to shovel the first 3.5 inches concrete apron in front of my garage this afternoon, then again this evening to clear the next 2.5 inches. The last 1-2 inches took next to no effort at all. That's my standard approach to shoveling -- I try to clear it off every 2-4 inches.

Plow Guy usually waits until it stops snowing. Sometimes he comes at night; usually he comes in the morning. But tonight batwrangler was driving in late, staying overnight on her way to Manhattan. Hmmmm. I could have called plow guy to check on his schedule, and to see if they could plow the driveway tonight. I didn't want to do that, for a variety of small reasons. None of them were all that compelling, but put together, well, they came down on the "don't call" side of the equation.

I didn't set out to shovel the entire driveway. I told batwrangler that I would shovel out a parking space at the top of the drive, and a path down it. I did that shortly before midnight. Then I Just. Kept. Shoveling.

Man, Plow Guy is going to be surprised! There's still plenty of work for him, widening, grading the edges, neatening everything up and pushing the snow further out of the way. There's even a bit of plowing at the top and bottom.

I paid attention to exertion levels and stopped 1.75 hours into the exercise for a welcome rest and bottle of water. The "move more" routine that I've been following since last April sure has made a difference in my endurance! I didn't decide I was actually going to finish the whole thing until the last 70 feet, and even that was touch and go.

You can take the girl homeowner out of Minnesota, but you can't take the Minnesota out of the girl.

The whole job took 3 hours, working at a relaxed but steady pace and including two short breaks. The timing worked out well. I finished, came indoors, made two cups of Vosges Aztec Cocoa (with 1% milk rather than the whole milk and cream mixture their recipe calls for), and was just two paragraphs into this post when a car pulled into the normal guest parking space on the near side of the garage. That answered that -- guess I shoveled wide enough! (Hey, it's dark out here. The driveway curves. Finding the edges under all that snow is tricky.)

11,706 steps. It's the first time I've tallied over 10,000 in a day without leaving Toad Woods, and over 8,000 of them involved the full body workout of shoveling. Yes, I feel it. Upper arm strength has never been something I could speak of in any terms other than "lacking."

I anticipate a long soak in a tub of Lush goodness in my near future. Not tonight; I'd fall asleep in it. But tomorrow, oh, yeah....



( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 23rd, 2008 02:38 pm (UTC)
I am totally impressed! I, on the other hand, have been sitting in my comfy chair listening to a new Richard Thompson CD, thinking about how I really have to get out there sometime soon to shovel. Real soon now. Really....
Feb. 23rd, 2008 02:53 pm (UTC)
If you ever come to Chicago while we're here we should tour the wonderful chocolate options! I love having so many to choose from and Vosges is based here and my first love.:)
Feb. 23rd, 2008 03:07 pm (UTC)
Sounds good! I usually get to Chicago at least once a year; it's likely I wander over the next time I drive to my Dad's house in Battle Creek, MI. That will be sometime between mid-March and Memorial Day. (He turns 85 on May 23rd! If I don't make it to Michigan before then, I'll be there then. But I hope to make it before.....

I'm a sucker for Vosges caramel marshmallows, but Marie Belle is my chocolatier of choice.

There are 3 of New York's top 10 chocolate shops within a 3-4 block area of Soho -- Kee's Chocolates, Marie Belle, and Vosges. I learned about them thanks to tammylc's description of her first visit to Kee's a couple of years ago.
Feb. 23rd, 2008 04:49 pm (UTC)
What's wrong with sleeping in a bathtub? The thing about drowning if you fall asleep is an urban myth. I've taken dozens of pleasant naps in baths. The worst is if you sleep until the water's cold. Hah!
Feb. 23rd, 2008 04:51 pm (UTC)
Okay, I'm impressed, and I shoveled for over an hour this morning. The walks, and the driveways. And the neighbor's sidewalk, because she's in the hospital. Big, lazy flakes started drifting down as I was halfway through their walk. Sarah and I went out for doughnuts, and her whole family was there, shoveling. Had I but known that they could actually wield a shovel! Up to now, they've mostly just used their energy praying for meltage.

At least this isn't the heavy, wet-blanket snow we had last time, though it still had a disconcerting tendency to cling tenaciously to the shovel. So far, I've shoveled it twice in two days.

Anyway. Impressed. You rest now.
Feb. 23rd, 2008 05:28 pm (UTC)
Spray your shovel with Pam to keep the snow from sticking.

K. [PS: nice work, Geri!]
Feb. 23rd, 2008 05:35 pm (UTC)
I might have to buy some for the purpose.

My other great use for Pam was to lubricate the gerbils' treadmill so it didn't squeak constantly. Since it was non-toxic, I didn't feel like I was poisoning them (they gnawed on it when they weren't running -- actually, one would gnaw while the other ran, ofttimes).
Feb. 23rd, 2008 05:12 pm (UTC)
You are mighty!

Feb. 23rd, 2008 06:17 pm (UTC)
What she said. Holy moses! It makes me tired and sore just to read about it.
Feb. 23rd, 2008 06:45 pm (UTC)
Wow! I'm impressed. And here I was just about to go outside and mow the yard. It may not be wise for me to mention that right now it is a bright, sunny day, the sky a perfect powder-blue, with a slight breeze putting just a hint of coolness in the 64-degree air...

I wonder if the ribs will be defrosted enough for grilling by tonight. Should be.
Feb. 23rd, 2008 10:54 pm (UTC)
Great job (and I've seen your driveway!).

We're due to have a major melt tomorrow, so I've ignored the snow/ice that's accumulated since yesterday morning. We've only got about an inch or so. So I just shoveled the end of the driveway, to get rid of the stuff the snowplow pushed in.
Feb. 23rd, 2008 11:24 pm (UTC)
Wow.... I live in Manitoba, and as you know people move from there to Minnepolis for the warm weather and long summers, so when I say Wow, I really mean it. I have become so lazy that doing our piddlely suburban drive way with a similar tool leaves me pooped.
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )


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