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More Shoveling to Do


As I write this I am sitting in a café in town, having just left my car in a municipal garage due to the snow ban that was declared at 8:30 a.m. this morning, which meant all cars had to be moved off the street. I can’t say, as usual, I was prepared for the steady, heavy snowfall that greeted me when I looked out the window upon waking. After retrieving the city’s ban text on my phone, I headed outside, got my car cleared off and drove it into town.

I haven’t left my car still parked during a ban; why take chances? That said, I have seen neighbors leave their vehicles in their usual spots and I haven’t seen them get towed yet (although I haven’t checked their windshields for tickets).

While a beautiful inconvenience, this snowfall is fitting because it forced me to get back to a blog theme that I started sketching last week and did not finish, namely that of connecting the realities of New England weather to the need for a certain degree of preparedness, if not vigilance, in life.

I am, for lack of a better term, a “transplanted New Englander” and thus not as used to the cold and snow as natives of this region. I envy their ability to get out and about during the winter months and get things done (I marvel at how some don’t wear coats even in frigid temperatures). I still tend to drag my feet when I see snow falling.

I have been getting better, by seeking to emulate my neighbors, most of whom are quick to tackle snow-related issues: they pull out their windshield wipers, they start shoveling promptly, they have places to move their cars right away when the city declares a parking ban.

I never had to deal with such things in New York City, where the snow fall is lighter; moreover, I lived in apartment buildings where someone else attended to the sidewalks and streets (I also went without a car for years, in full disclosure). Now “it’s all on me,” and the reality is that the amount I have to shovel increases the more the city’s plows push snow in the direction of the curb in front of my house (due to the curving “inlet” in front of my place, the plow doesn’t run flush up against the curb and carry the snow away, if you can picture that).

Therefore, the best course of action is to get out and shovel early, even if more snow falls later, to reduce the overall amount I must deal with at any one time. During last week’s snowfall I intended to get on top of things early but failed to do so. The accumulation was about four inches, I’m told, so not so bad. The dig-out was a good workout anyway.

Today’s snowfall seems much stronger, so we’ll see how it goes. I might break down and hire a person to plow my parking spots, especially if it gets much colder and the snow hardens.

So, what are the lessons here? I hate being caught flat-footed! Thus I need to monitor future weather patterns better; to repeat, I have to get out earlier to shovel; and, on a positive note, I should use these snow days, when I am less mobile, as a time for reflection and to tackle long-delayed tasks.

I can carry such lessons into my work as well, of course. I think that idea fits well with the theme of my previous post about self-scouting, as I have touched on some of my weaknesses here. In fact as the year progresses, I will revisit that theme from time to time, so if you are interested, stay tuned.


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