It has been a long winter. It has been a cold winter. It has been a snowy winter. It has been a long, cold, snowy winter . . . and, I am getting tired of shoveling snow. Our area of Montana is on course for the snowiest winter since 1978 . . . and, I would estimate that we have had close to seventy inches of snow so far this winter. That is a lot of snow . . . nearly six foot of snow. I have not seen the yard since the end of October because the snow is piled up everywhere . . . I am running out of places to put the snow because the piles are getting so big I cannot throw the snow over them. The dogs—mini Dachshunds—haven’t taken care of business without someone plowing them a path in the yard. The dogs and I miss the yard. According to the groundhog, the Farmer’s Almanac, and the calendar . . . we have about six weeks more of winter. That means six more weeks of shoveling.
Now, I want people to understand . . . I enjoy shoveling snow. There is something fun about shoveling snow . . . I don’t know what it is, but I enjoy shoveling the snow . . . at least most of the time. I know . . . I am weird. Shoveling snow is one of the few tasks in my life that seems to fulfill that need for instant gratification . . . I can see the reward of my hard work when I survey clean a clean sidewalk and driveway. I can see the pile of snow I created . . . in fact, this year I can see just about every flake that I have shoveled this year. When I said it has been cold, it has been very cold. The point is, shoveling snow is one of the few tasks in my life that I get to see the results of what I have done immediately. That is a good feeling. Every day as I attempt to back out of the drive by looking over the mountains of snow, I pray to God that there is nothing on the other side that I am backing into . . . but, there is also a sense of pride in knowing that I created those mountains of snow. Me and my shovel.
Lately though, I have come to hate my snow shovel. Actually, I don’t have a snow shovel . . . I have a seed scoop. A seed scoop is an aluminum shovel used to scoop seed. It is light weight and slides well through snow. Plus, snow doesn’t freeze onto it. I like it much better than a normal snow shovel. Yet, even if it was not a seed scoop, I am losing my interest in it. Actually, I am getting tired of forcing it into hard labor every two to three days to scoop snow. Our love affair is fading quickly . . . I am tired of shoveling snow. I am sure that I am not the only one . . . I am sure that there are a lot of other Montanans who would join me in this lament of hating to shovel snow. It really is not my shovel’s fault, but it is taking the blame. We go through it every year and it always bounces back for another go round the next winter.
I noticed this affair was going south about two weeks ago. In the past I couldn’t wait to get up in the morning to start moving that snow with my trusty scoop . . . but now, well I wait . . . I do other things like pray to God that the sun will come out and melt all of that snow before I have to shovel it. If you are not a patient person, solar snow removal is not for you. Where I used to get right to the shoveling, I now put it off. I let the snow lie for a while . . . settle in . . . pile up . . . drift up. Shoot! I have even driven off to work without even giving the ol’ shovel a glance. I am tired of shoveling!
But someone has to do it. With nearly six weeks of winter yet to go . . . probably more for those of us in Montana . . . I am beginning to feel hopeless. It is no fun being hopeless . . . drives one to watch old reruns of Oprah and Doctor Phil on the “O” Network. It is darn near depressing. I don’t even think one of those Seasonal Affective Disorder lamps would help . . . even though I noticed that the house plants have perked up since we moved them near the lamps in the living room. I’m starting to eat Little Debbies by the box load while my shovel sits in the corner of the garage beckoning me to come . . .
Then, just today, I saw a post on Facebook that gave me hope. The post was titled “The Most Wanted Man Toy of the Year!” No, it was not the 50th anniversary of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition . . . but that wouldn’t help. Besides it arrives in my mailbox a couple of weeks too late to help with this feeling. No, it was a video of the coolest toy I have ever laid eyes on . . . a motorized remote control snow plow. I was mesmerized as I watch the little mighty mite clear the snow off the sidewalk. It was a thing of beauty witnessing it just plow through the snow just like the big boys that do the highways. Back and forth, back and forth . . . until the sidewalk was clear. It was the coolest thing since sliced bread. Plus, as amazing as the little snow plow was, the coolest thing about it was that I could sit in the house and run it. No long underwear . . . no boots . . . no heavy coat . . . no ear muffs . . . no gloves. I could sit in the living room, glance out the picture window, lift my beer, and plow my walk. In my mind, life could not get any better than that. It gave me hope . . . it gave me purpose . . .
. . . and, the wife just laughed. At first, the shovel got jealous . . . then it laughed. “Where do you think you live?” they both mockingly asked, “Atlanta?” As I said, it has been a long, cold, snowy winter here in Montana. We have had nearly six feet of snow already fall . . . the piles are at least three to four feet tall all around the sidewalk and driveway . . . there is nowhere else to put the snow . . . so, where in the world in this little mighty mite going to put snow that is several feet above its toyish cab? They were right . . . it was a pipe dream. The wife told me to just go out and buy a real snow plow. Gone was the sitting in the living room, drinking a beer, and remotely controlling a snow plow from the comfort and warmth of the house. Reality sucks.
The shovel and I have been working on our relationship since reality set in. We have made a tentative reconciliation . . . it is happy while I still feel depressed . . . especially when I saw the weather forecast for the next week . . . snow four out of the next six days . . . cold . . . and then, more snow. Yeah, reality sucks . . . but, anyone who wants to donate to my snow plow fund . . . well, just let me know. I see it as a sort of mental health sort of issue thing . . . summer can’t get here soon enough!