Inspired by this post by Shauna over at Pickles and Dimes, I decided to delve into my dark, dark past and share with you why I am a Shovelling Pain In the Ass.
Yes, yes I am.
When my father re-married, my family moved into my step-mom's house. She'd been in this house since her first marriage, and my step-siblings knew this as their only home. Since my family was moving 75 miles in this marital deal, it was a no-brainer.
My family adopted many of the daily routines and rituals that came with that house. It provided my sisters and I with some unfailing structure which we desperately needed after losing our mother, and it kept the household in smooth running condition after it had more than doubled in size. We were all happy.
Until that first winter.*
The neighbors on our block were almost all elderly and couldn't shovel their sidewalks and driveways. If they couldn't, then they shouldn't be shovelling. The neighbor next to us wasn't elderly, but she'd adopted two parapaligic children and didn't have time to shovel. She also had a MASSIVE driveway and sidewalk to accommodate all the wheelchair-loading and unloading in her vans.
So, the no-nonsense thoughtful and generous woman that she is, my step-mom decided early on that she and the kids -- who now included my sisters and I -- would shovel everyone's sidewalks, driveways and stairs. EVERYONE ON THE ENTiRE BLOCK.
It gets better. Stay with me.
Not only did we have to shovel the entire block's worth of sidewalks, driveways and steps, we had to do this at 5:00 a.m. Why? Because. The paperboy delivered the paper at 6:00 a.m. and we couldn't let him make any stubborn footprints in the snow that could turn to ice.
We had to shovel the street. Yes. I am not shitting you. You read that correctly. We had to shovel all of the snow from the sidewalks, driveways, steps, and the street at least three feet into the center of the street so that when the plow came down the middle the snow was actually moved instead of just piled up in everyone's gutters and in their driveways. Once reasonable progress was being made and snow was starting to show up in the street, my parents followed up with snowblowers and blew it even further into the street.
At one point -- I swear I remember this but T. and A., do let me know if I am only hallucinating and creating an alternate reality for myself -- we each had our own shovel with our name on it.
Needless to say, I have very little patience and no capacity for understanding when folks won't shovel their 20 feet of sidewalk in front of their house. It is a character flaw I share with all of my siblings. And I get lit up and all sorts of crazy-ass PISSY when I see some little old lady shoveling her own walk. Hello? Neighbors? Where the hell are you?
* To be fair, I was a freshman in college with my family moved into the new house an so my sisters shoveled far more than I. But I did do my fair share of shoveling, especially because the bulk of time I spent visiting my family was during the winter months.