January 28th, 2004

Letting It Snow

The forecast had suggested it would rain yesterday evening and into the night. The snow started this morning around 8 or 9 a.m. and while it has slowed at sunset, I think it continues. Roland got the snowblower out, a much-repaired behemoth from 1973 (at least it is not older than me), and tried to teach me how to use it. But I hate vibration. On those rare occasions in the past when I mowed the lawn, I always used a push mower because the gasoline ones made my arms burn for a day and a half after using one. Even weed whackers bug me. It told him he could blow snow, and I would shovel. As the day wore on, I decided I would not, in fact, be going to the Y today, and some time after making that decision, I decided to try shoveling the driveway.

Just like the machines at the gym, hiking, and swimming, snow shoveling is an activity that takes some practice before one becomes efficient enough to really burn through the calories doing it. It also helps if it is good and cold out, so the snow is dry, light and fluffy. Sticky wet snow sucks. It is heavy and exhausting.

There was more on the ground (even after the snow blower took off a layer earlier in the day) than there had been on previous outings. But the usual push/plow rather than lift/toss continued to work with some modifications. It is a longish driveway, but after a while I developed a curving sweep that cleared a swath halfway across the drive. I worked my way up to the street and then back down the other side. The patch in front of the garage is wider and trickier, because the mounds to each side have become tall enough over the last month that pushing is not enough. One does have to periodically toss loads over the hump.

After spending about an hour clearing the drive, I took a look around at my surface and noticed that enough had fallen in that hour to coat everything lightly in white again. Discouraging, but I left it alone. My forearms were almost as fried as the last rock gym outing at Mill City in Dracut, when I kept trying to hang from the ceiling of the bouldering cave. It then occurred to me to find out what people think the calorie consumption of snow shoveling is.

I no longer feel guilty about missing my trip to the Y today.
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