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Allow me to set the stage for my story.
We live in Southern California so you might be surprised to hear that we got 18 inches of snow last night. (We live in the mountains at 6,000-foot elevation, but it’s still California!) For those of you who don’t know about snow, let me tell you that that’s one heckuva lot of snow. With 400 feet of driveway and 200 feet of private road to clear, those 18 inches of snow seem more like 18 feet.
When we get that much snow all at once it’s a good idea to clear it in multiple passes because it’s much easier to clear 9 inches of snow twice than to clear 18 inches once.
If I don’t do this and the snow is too heavy I may not be able to clear it at all. Then I have to hire a skip loader which is expensive, can involve a long wait, and almost always results in some damage.
The forecast called for 21 to 29 inches of snow and it started about 9:00pm. Now I have a problem: if I wait until morning there may be too much to clear. There was only one solution: make a pass in the middle of the night.
Now you see what I was up against. I was going to have to get out of my nice warm bed at 2:30 a.m. and go out in a blizzard for at least two hours to clear the driveway and street before it gets too deep.
Does that sound like fun to you? It didn’t to me either. I didn’t see any way around it though, so I decided that it would be fun after all; that I would make it fun in order to make it bearable. It’s really all about attitude.
First, I bundled up in a 10-year old one-piece ski suit that still fits (a miracle). Gloves, hat, goggles… I looked like Charlie Brown when his mother sent him out in the snow. Then I turned on all the outside lights whether I needed them or not and the house looked like a cruise ship, glowing in the storm.
It was dark, no one was around, I was warm and snug in my little “cocoon,” the wind and snow were exciting, and I got to use my big “manly” snow thrower. (If this is new to you, a snow thrower is about the size of a lawn mower, has a gasoline engine, is self-propelled, and basically picks up snow and throws it on the neighbor’s driveway or wherever you direct it.