My first real winter in New England decided to smack me in the face this weekend with the worst blizzard in years. Being most recently from LA, I was really not ready for this. My wife and I thought we’d covered all the contingencies. We bought water and food early, in case power went out and the roads were closed. We charged up all our devices beforehand. I bought a heftier broom/scraper stick to clear off our cars (a lesson learned from a previous snowfall not nearly as heavy). With these preparations in mind, we sat back to watch the blizzard.
It was very impressive. Wind scattered snow around in sheets. You could watch the sidewalk disappear if you stood there for more than ten minutes. We kept track of the snowfall by the rising wall of snow on our patio door, which thankfully was on the wrong side of the building to get the full brunt of the storm. Morning came with some residual wind and three feet of snow in places. Saturday I decided that I should be proactive and clear off our cars before the snow melted and froze into ice sheets.
Why would I need a snow shovel, I had thought. I live in an apartment that does a remarkably good job keeping the road and the parking lots scraped (even during the height of the night of the blizzard there were still folks out with snowblowers and shovels clearing the sidewalks). Surely with my scraper/broom it’d be a cinch.
There was a wall of snow almost five feet high and three feet deep behind my car, and it stretched what must have been a hundred yards down the parking lot. I hadn’t realized that when the bulldozers and scraper trucks clear the road, the snow has to go somewhere. My car was buried.
So, with no other recourse, I set out on foot this morning to Home Depot to acquire a snow shovel. It wasn’t a long walk, but terrain was slushy and I was sweating under my heavy coat. An old man in a beret passed me while crossing Providence Highway. I stepped in a few uncomfortable puddles. But finally, I got safely to Home Depot.
They were out of shovels. D’oh!
So, I thought. What can I do now? I bought a 5 gallon paint bucket, with the idea that I could just scoop the snow away. So I walked back to the apartment, bucket in hand. Temporarily (and only mildly) snow-blind, I rested a bit at home, then went out again to tackle the snowbank.
I cleared the snow in front of my car with no problem and managed to free my windshield and hood from the snow, but as I started in on the snowbank I gave up. I was barely making a dent.
In the end I paid a group of three guys $30 (the sign on the complex door said “WILL Clean Cars off and shovel out for $30 a peice. [sic]“) and they finished the job in 10 minutes.
I think the best lesson I can take from all this is that I am not really fit to live in New England.