I slipped my “extreme weather snow boots” from LL Bean on, tucking the cuffs of my sweat pants into the boots. Pulled the hood of my sweatshirt up over my head and ponytail, tied that into place, threw on my barn coat (also LL Bean…. both of these are at least 12 years old and look like they are only a couple of years old), and workmen’s gloves. Each boot weighs a minimum of five pounds, I swear, and when they are on your feet, well, multiply x two! Off I go…
I start cleaning off my front porch, steps, walkway. Not doing too badly, until I back into the corner where the rose bushes overgrew into the railing. I thought they were so pretty there, I left them. Well, they’re not so pretty when you back into them, they get tangled around my ankles and clinging to my butt which, fortunately was covered with the canvas of the barn coat. After getting myself out of this predicament, I let Lilly out. She hates the snow, but she loves being outside. I figured she would hang on the porch, watch me work, and be blissful. Instead she runs to the stairs, jumps and jumps into snow that is 4″ shy of covering her entirely. There she was, with her raspberry colored wool sweater, stuck. She looks back at me… HELP MOMMA! I go and rescue her, put her back on the porch, start shoveling the walkway. It’s heavy snow, in areas near the driveway where it had started to melt some, there was slush. “I love New England, I love New England, I love New England”… I kept telling myself with every shovel full of snow. My jeep is plowed in, not that that will be a problem, but getting to it will be a challenge.
I make it to the driveway, now it’s time to shovel out the mailbox. This is slush, then heavy snow. “I love my life, I love my life, I love my life”…I kept telling myself with every shovel full of slush.
As I walk towards the rear walkway, well, what was a walkway yesterday, I looked to my right. I forgot to move my gas grill yesterday in preparation for the storm. It is plowed in. Now I’m upset. How the hell am I ever going to salvage it? I wanted to blame the snow plower but come on… this is MY deal. I’m upset with myself for forgetting to move it.
I decide it’s time to take a break, which is unheard of in my family. You just work work work until you drop. While I was drinking a glass of water, rubbing the pain out of my knees and back I started to think about Brody and how humorous he was in the snow. Particularly right after a storm that dumped lots of that white stuff!. He kept me entertained while I shoveled. Oh how I miss that boy. He was one extraordinary dog, he was my boy, he was my Brody. It will be a year next month since I put him to sleep. He was ready though, he let me know a couple of days before. My Brody.
I trudge into my house, drink a cold glass of water and rest in preparation for the next chapter of snow removal. “I love the winter, I love the winter, I love the winter” I kept telling myself as I rubbed the pain out of my back and knees. I start to think about what I can do for myself that would make this easier. Part of my therapy has been focusing on being nice to myself, being kind to myself, being forgiving of myself. This is the beginning of a long 3-4 months of snow storms, I have to get my head into a good space with this or it will be a miserable winter.
I sat down at the computer, pull up facebook and message my neighbor. “May I hire Joe to shovel my back walkway?” A few minutes later when I hung up the phone from talking to my mom “Donna, do what you can, but remember, the more you get done today the easier it will be as it will freeze”…. I hear a knock on my door. It is my neighbor, Michelle. Her and Joe (and Corbin, an all American boy boy!) had already shoveled my back walkway, do I need help with anything else? I look up, “Thank you God, thank you for nice neighbors”. By the time I got my boots on and went back outside Joe had crawled over a 5′ high pile of snow. He shoveled out the grill, pulled it back to the tree, where it fairs well for the winter, back away from ground that needs snow plowing. They wouldn’t take any money, were happy to help me. Many times Michelle had said to me “If you ever need anything we are just up back”. I sit smiling, I sit with my chest full of warmth at the kindness, the help shown to me. Thank you Michelle & Joe, and thank you Corbin!
It’s time to clean off the jeep and pull it out into the driveway. This didn’t seem like much of a task now that I knew the shoveling was all done. I wipe off what I can, the jeep is too high to get it off the roof, so I usually will go on a back road and let it blow off before I go on a main road, but that isn’t always doable. Main roads are plowed first, of course. I get into my jeep, put the key in the ignition, put it in 4 wheel drive, reverse. I go forward a couple of feet, put it in reverse again, go back a few feet, go forward and with a humungous smile on my face I drove right through the 30-40″ of snow that the plow had left. “I love my jeep, I love my jeep, I love my jeep!” I kept telling myself followed by “I love my neighbors, I love my neighbors, I love my neighbors”.
After kicking off my boots, throwing my wet and balled with snow sweats over the shower curtain, I am now snuggled in with my furried kids. I am going to try to forgive myself for sleeping in so late, for having a sink full of dishes that need to be done and a pile of laundry that I was going to do yesterday. “I love myself, I love myself, I love myself” I kept telling myself, as I was kind and forgave myself for being human.
As I look out the window with a glass of juice in hand, my lips curl up at the sides. Snow? Snow? Snow? BRING IT ON! Well, Okay, could you wait a couple weeks????? “I love New England, I love New England, I love New England”….