It covered the streets overnight, two inches of softness which SIR shoveled before the rest of us were downstairs and dressed. He invested in a bent handled shovel, ergonomic and inexpensive and the perfect tool. He's in charge of the outside, so Little Cuter had no qualms about sleeping in while he was working. He salted - with the puppy friendly crystals - and left his jacket on a hanger in the garage.
I used to shovel the sidewalks in Chicago; it never seemed to snow on the weekends when TBG could be inveigled into the chore. He left before the sun was up and returned after it had set and the city had a shovel within several hours after the last flake falls ordinance so it was my chore.
The Cuters would watch me from the window as I cleared the front of the house. Living on a corner lot had many advantages; shoveling snow on two sides was certainly not one of them. I'd start out bundled up and end up shedding layers along the way, stuffing scarf and hat into deep parka pockets. It was great exercise, burning many more calories than my half-hearted efforts on the treadmill.
It was satisfying to see the piles on one side of the newly revealed sidewalk. I always dumped to the street side since my hostas were living alongside my fence. I didn't want to to crush them any more than the flakes themselves had done.
G'ma came to visit one winter, and I shoveled three times in one day so that she would have a clear path from the taxi to the front door. How was I to know that she'd have him drop her off in the unshoveled driveway? Her wet feet were all the condemnation I needed.
The kids are disappointed that most of the accumulation had melted away before we arrived here in Chicago. The houses in her neighborhood are still adorned with Christmas decorations, even though it's March. They say it's been too cold to go out and take them down, but honestly, how hard is it to lift a two foot tall plastic Santa?
I can understand not wanting to climb a ladder in sub-zero temperatures, so I give them a pass on the lights still attached to the gutters. Little Cuter says that the plastic snowflake netting laid artfully on the bushes was covered from view until the weather warmed up last weekend. Yesterday it just looked silly.
Not everyone in the neighborhood has been as diligent as SIR when it comes to snow removal. We took Thomas the Wonder Dog for a walk yesterday afternoon, and spent much of it in the street instead of safely on the walkways. The town didn't clear the path in the park, so we cruised the cul de sacs (culs de sac??). Thomas marked his territory as we admired the drifts and disparaged the remaining decor. The sun was low on the horizon, the sky was gun metal grey, my parka was warm enough that my scarf and my hat were shoved into my pockets.
And then it began to snow. Softly at first, then thicker, then a steady stream of flakes. It covered the driveway and didn't melt. The street became whiter and whiter as TBG became more and more anxious about driving to the wedding which had brought us to the midwest in wintertime in the first place.
Hours passed and the snow kept coming. We showered and put on our fancy duds and our parkas and asked Little Cuter to bring our rental car into the garage so we didn't start out with wet feet. We were calm until we left the driveway.
It was a forty minute trip which took us an hour and a half. We passed nary a snow plow nor a salt truck on any of the three highways we traveled. Our rear wheel drive rental car had no snow tires - that's a bad combination when the roads are slick. Traveling at forty miles an hour, picking our way through the slush and the piles and the ice, following another frightened driver. People were passing us on the right, plowing through the unplowed accumulation with reckless abandon.
On the other hand, had we proper tires and a vehicle made for the weather, we might have been one of those fools, too. Since we were not properly equipped, we stressed and drove slowly... very very slowly. We worried as we entered and exited, fearing the uphill, trying not to skid.
There are many reasons to love living in the desert. Not having to drive in this kind of weather has now risen to the top of that list.