Snow in Northeast Pennsylvania. It’s nothing new. It happens every year. I know this. You know this. Still it doesn’t get any easier.
On Saturday morning, we had our first major snowfall in NEPA. The official measurement at my place of employment was 5.5″ of the evil white powder. Unless you are filthy rich and pay someone to do it for you or use a blow torch, chances are you probably have to clear said evil white powder from something you own. If not, consider yourself lucky. Much like most of Microsoft’s software, snow is a necessary evil.
To give you a little background, the road that I live on is a private shared right of way, so unless someone plows it, the snow will sit there until spring. Some days the neighbor that owns a quad/four-wheeler will plow it. There’s also another neighbor who may be related to a person that drives a plow truck or something. Anyway, once in a while, he’ll come by and do the road and offer to clear out driveways for a nominal price. It’s worth the money if its a big accumulation and/or heavy snow. I usually can make it down my road with no problems…it’s the roads from my house until I hit I-81 that worry me the most. PennDOT seems to forget about Rtes 29 and 118. They are usually a mess.
For that reason, I tried to hold off a little bit on the drive in on Saturday morning in hopes that a plow would come by my house. Fat chance of that happening at 3:30am. I would have felt guilty calling off, so I had no choice but to risk death and drive in. I warmed up my car for a good 20 minutes while I shoveled a path from my house to my driveway. I spent another 10 minutes clearing the snow from my car. Once all of that was done, it was finally time to make the drive to Moosic. A ride that would normally take me 40 minutes took me 90. I didn’t get to work until 5:30am. It was not a fun time for me, but the roads were mostly empty, so even if I did spin out it wouldn’t have mattered much. The only tricky part was surprisingly Rte 309 and I-81. People think they can still drive 75mph in poor conditions and gave me a damn near heart attack while trying to pass me.
Once I arrived at work, my nerves were shot, my arms ached and I was mentally exhausted. No time to think about that because it was TIME TO SHOVEL AGAIN. Ugh. All told, I probably shoveled for 2 hours taking frequent breaks. I think I burned up every calorie in my body. By the end of the day I couldn’t move. The next morning I ached all over like I was an 85 year old woman. I am still not quite right. I think I tweaked my back. Last night I took a muscle relaxer to relieve some of the stiffness and it was the best sleep I’ve had in weeks.
I honestly don’t mind shoveling. My husband always calls me a “Poconos Princess” because I spent the better half of my life growing up in Blakeslee. That couldn’t be further from the truth. My Dad always made my brother and I work hard. I shoveled coal, split and stacked wood, and shoveled snow. The only thing he wouldn’t let me do was drive the tractor/cut grass because “I couldn’t drive in straight lines”. To me, shoveling snow meant a day off of school. Shoveling snow still takes me back to High School and having snow days. Unfortunately now, it just means a lot of manual labor, messed up schedules and terrifying driving. I miss the old days.
That brings me back to the original point of this post….what the hell is with “ergonomic” shovels? I appreciate the thought of trying to make me more safe, but lets be real. These are the fucking worst. At work we have one of these bad boys:
It was the only one I could find on Saturday morning and I have to say it is honestly the most awkward shovel I’ve ever used in my life. I’ve used a lot of shovels….good and bad. I can tell you for sure. This is the worst. It was so awkward to lift the snow and the snow kept sticking to the shovel. I had to keep banging it off of stuff to get the snow off. I wouldn’t be surprised if it doubled the length of my work. I will never ever EVER buy one of these shovels. They should all be melted down and recycled into something useful.
Like this shovel, for example:
I own something similar to this shovel at home. I bought it in Sam’s Club sometime in the mid 2000s and it’s held up good ever since. It’s easy to handle, holds a lot of snow and as an added bonus, it has an ice chopper on the end. The ice chopper especially came in handy during this ice storm. I’m sure you remember it. I know that I do. I had to chop roughly 2 inches of ice from my sidewalk. My wrist ached for weeks, but it got the job done.
We also have one of these at work (below). It’s a good idea in theory, but it’s awkward to handle and heavy as all get out. I’m not a fan.
I’ve used several of these standard issue models (below). They flat out suck. They don’t hold enough snow to be useful and they break down easily. Maybe they are built more sturdy now then the last one I bought, but I doubt it. Avoid if you can.
I’d be curious to see how one of these works (below):
The next time it snows, I’m probably just going to bring my shovel from home. BYOS. I am not trying to be nasty, it’s just that I don’t want to spend any more time outside than I have to. Fin.
Oh my god. Did I just write an entire blog post about snow shovels?
Yes. Yes I did.