Last night, as my brother- and sister-in-law were leaving after picking up their kids (we babysat; it was super fun!), my brother-in-law commented that the snow was really coming down and that we should probably plow before bed and then again in the morning. (Good advice, by the way, Gil! Totally should have done that.)
We, of course, didn't do it last night; the kids needed to be put to bed, the dishes needed to be done, New Girl needed to be watched, and bodies needed to be rested. So, after talking it over with Bryson, I decided to get up earlier than usual and blow the snow off the driveway before he had to leave for work, which was earlier than usual today because he has a regular Wednesday 6:00 a.m. meeting with people over in Asia he has to be at work for. Before I went to bed, though, I posted a question on facebook in hopes to quell my anxieties about running the snow blower that early in the morning. "Okay facebook friends, quick poll ... how bad would it be to blow the snow off one's driveway at 5:15 a.m.?" I got a few answers before I hit the hay, most of which giving me the go-ahead to do it without worry. Still, I went to bed feeling unsure as of what to do.
As I would have expected had I actually thought about it, I had a heck of a time sleeping; it was like an awful version of Christmas when you're a kid: I was anticipating having to get up in the morning and dreading it all at the same time. When 4:45 rolled around, I was more exhausted than usual and still very conflicted about running the blower. While I got prepared - snow pants, ski coat, ridiculously heavy-duty gloves, earflap hat, etc. - I fired up the computer to see if anyone else had chimed in on the issue. One friend said her snowplow comes in the middle of the night, but that it has to be done so it's okay. The next friend, though, said she'd be "mad-pissed if (her) neighbor was snow-blowing at 5 a.m." that a plow is "more acceptable (and quicker and less loud)". That was, of course, the reaction I was dreading, and as I headed outside I still felt guilty at the noise I was about to create.
The garage door went up, and as I looked outside I knew I couldn't do it. The snow was softly falling and the air was still and quiet. No one else had their lights on, all the windows darkened as people slept a good sleep, and I knew in my heart I didn't want to be the one to destroy that. I knew I felt just like that last friend who commented did; I would be furious if someone woke me up with their snow blower, and beyond furious if they woke up my kids.
So, I resolved to do what any normal person would do ... I shoveled five inches of snow off our entire driveway.
I did Bryson's side first as he was the first who needed to leave. His side cleared off rather easily, though that was because I pushed most of the snow onto my side of the driveway. As I started in on the mass of snow on the second side, Bryson came out. He pointed to the blower quizzically, wondering if I had just been unable to get it started. Walking up to the garage, I explained to him that I just couldn't do it, I didn't want to make all that noise. Usually when I do something rather questionable, he looks at me with a geez-Nicole-are-you-insane kind of smile; he didn't smile this morning ... I'm pretty sure he was more irritated with my stubbornness and incredulous that I would shovel the whole driveway when our perfectly-good snow blower was right there.
He asked if there was anything he could do, and I asked him to get the monitors so I could finish up and still know the kids were alright. Then he left, only the fourth car I had actually seen on the road yet this morning, and I knew I had done the right thing. I finished up quickly, the whole job only taking about 45 or 50 minutes, and got inside. Even just opening the door, it felt like a furnace in here. As it turns out, you don't need to wear snow pants on top of sweatpants when it's 34 degrees outside; you're just going to sweat your ass off in the process.
I'm glad to have the driveway cleared off, though I know it will need to be done again later as the snow kept coming down as I toiled away. I am wondering, however, how long it will take for my back to begin to ache after the effort; as it turns out, you really should lift with your knees, not your back (even though it feels pretty strange and a bit less-efficient). Maybe one of my neighbors is a masseuse that would like to express appreciation for the extra sleep by giving me a free back massage. We'll see.
Have a wonderful day!