Here in Columbus, we’ve had snow on the ground for nearly two weeks straight. Inches of it, quickly turning into piles as our neighbors shovel their driveways and walks, and the snowplows blast their way through the streets. And then the piles are topped by more inches of snow. In fact, it’s snowing again as I type. Which is fine with me; it’s January in Ohio, so it should be snowing.
When I see all this snow, and the neighbors with their nicely shoveled (or snow-blower-cleared) driveways, my fingers start to itch. I want to sled, and make a snowman, and do all those fun kid-like snow activities. But what I want to do first, before anything else, is clear out my driveway. Not because I like it, but because it has to be done. And if I don’t do it, no one will, because I’ve never gotten my husband to appreciate the value of a shoveled driveway.
(Mind you, my husband does lots of things around the house. And in the fall, he’s the one who usually ends up raking most, if not all, the leaves from the big gum tree out back. He’s not a slacker or anything. It’s just for some reason, shoveling snow isn’t that critical to him, whereas I barely step in the door from work before I’m back out there with the shovel. I just can’t let it lay.)
There are all sorts of good, solid reasons to shovel a driveway, which I list here in no particular order:
1) If the snow is unshoveled, you could get stuck trying to get your car into or out of your driveway. (Especially if the snow plows have pushed a wall of snow from the street across the end of your driveway, which they tend to do.) Getting stuck in your own driveway is always embarrassing.
2) If the snow is unshoveled, your feet will be wet from trudging through deep snow to get to your car in the morning, and then you have the discomfort of wet feet all day at work.
3) If the sun comes out and it warms up, the snow in a shoveled driveway will melt quickly and evaporate, leaving naked dry pavement. If the sun comes out and it warms up and your driveway is full of snow, then it will partially melt, leaving slippery slush, and then you may get stuck in your driveway. (See #1.)
4) If you drive back and forth in deep snow leaving marks from the wheels, and it melts then freezes or freezing rain comes, your marks in the snow turn into deep solid ruts which make it feel like you’re driving over railroad ties, and could scrape the undercarriage of your car or grab at the wheels, causing wrestling with the steering wheel and much cursing, and possibly more serious consequences.
5) If you shovel your driveway and more snow falls, half your work is done. Shoveling the latest 3″ of snow is much easier than trying to shovel 8″ of snow in one go, so it’s more beneficial to go out twice over the course of a week than to throw out your back trying to move a ton of snow.
6) Shoveling snow is good exercise, requires minimal equipment (warm outerwear and a snow shovel), and is within close walking distance to such amenities as your bathroom, your garage, and your kitchen (where you keep the hot chocolate.)
7) Shoveling your driveway makes your neighbors think you’re a responsible homeowner, and shoveling your walk gives the neighbor kids a clear path to walk on their way to school, which means they won’t pee in your yard or steal your lawn ornaments. Clearing a path to your mailbox also ensures your mail will be delivered by a mail carrier who won’t curse your name (which they can do — they know your name, because it’s on your mail.)
8) Last but not least, shoveling your driveway is your way of fighting back against the icy death-grip of winter. It’s sort of like sticking it to the man. If you shovel your driveway, you’re showing winter that it hasn’t beaten you, that it shall not bury you, and that man will triumph over nature in the end.
So go stick it to Old Man Winter — get out there and get shoveling!