Shoveling. So. Much. Shoveling.
That’s the main takeaway from The Second Day After Snowzilla, otherwise known as Monday. Everything was still mostly closed to give road crews time to clear the streets, but the company that our HOA hired to do just that struggled to complete the job. After watching the snowplow give up halfway up our street on Sunday night as I mentioned before, we were a little disheartened. But to our surprise, later that night, the contractor brought back a tenacious little Bobcat to take care of the rest of our street. This went on throughout the night, as far as I and my immediate neighbors could tell. Luckily, the commotion did not wake Noah.
But even after clearing the sidewalks and a pathway between our cars, there still remained the painstaking process of clearing out the rest of the parking spaces as well as a lane to the street. In years past, the best case scenario after the plowing company came through would be contending with three-foot-tall piles of snow pushed in front of our cars.
This year, we fared much better thanks to a combined effort of the original contractor, a guy who used to live in the neighborhood that owned a giant plow and just wanted to come by, and another contractor that the HOA hired when the original guys were stretched too thin. So even though there weren’t huge piles, there are still only so many places one can put two feet of snow. As an example, before it started melting, the pile of snow next to our house almost reached the first floor windows. And of course, each shovelful had to be walked from wherever I was working to wherever the nearest pile happened to be.
All that said, clearing snow is a game of inches, and shoveling a few square feet can feel like vacuuming the Sahara if you’ve been at it long enough. It’s not my favorite activity, but it did work up my appetite enough to devour many leftovers.
I will also say this: all it takes is some inclement weather to bring a neighborhood closer together. We learned more of our neighbors’ names this weekend than we had in the last four years, and everyone we talked to was willing to pitch in and help each other shovel, or engage in a quick conversation about road conditions from passersby who had walked far enough to scout out ahead. I got to overhear a group of kids plan out the construction of their snow fort. And of course, those of us with shovels sprinkled in small talk during the requisite breaks to prevent heart attacks.
I really lost track of the day after those hours of shoveling. Somewhere in there, I ventured out with Heidi to investigate the neighborhood beyond our immediate row of houses for the first time since Friday. You can see some of our discoveries in the Flickr gallery below. One of the things I love about our dog is that she’s always game for anything outside, no matter what the weather. This blizzard was no different – she frolicked through deep, untouched snow as we took little-used paths behind houses. She bounded up plowed drifts that might as well have been mountains, jumping and sniffing and digging all the while. It was good for both of us – exercise for her, and a few laughs for me.
As the sun set and Noah headed to bed, Gina and I commented on our mutual levels of exhaustion after her solo parenting while I was shoveling away. With our street and the roads beyond passable following another run by the Bobcat and the announcement that Noah’s daycare was open the next day, the feeling of isolation dwindled.
This would be good news to anyone who would have had cabin fever by this time, but I couldn’t help but feel a little disappointed that the whole episode hadn’t lasted a little longer. The power and heat had stayed on, and we made some great food with plenty of supplies to spare. So I would say we had a cozy, if not completely relaxing, Snowzilla experience. Time, and the world outside our little bubble, stood still for just a couple of days. Even after we got word that both our offices would be closed the following day, I knew that the outside world would soon collapse the bubble, ushering in the onslaught of work and other commitments.
Since I fell asleep on the couch last night in an achy haze, I suppose this is my last daily blizzard journal for Snowzilla. I’m sure there will be more storms that will come along and force me to write more. However, despite a botched measurement at Reagan National Airport (I much prefer these “bench” marks from the always-great Capital Weather Gang), this was still a top-five storm for the area.
Certainly, it was also one we will remember forever as part of our little family’s history.
Here’s the Flickr gallery, as promised (link):