What's Your Snow Removal Style?

Given Jack Frost's pretty much given half the U.S. the snow equivalent of in-school bullying so far this January, and my hands are still frozen in the shoveling position (makes it seriously hard to type, let me tell ya), I was thinking a lot lately about neighborhood snow removal.

A look down the block shows everyone handles this winter chore in their own unique way. And I think if we were to classify these techniques, they might go something like this:

  • The Winter Warrior. This is the neighbor who finds a single snowflake on their sidewalk to be a personal affront to civilization as we know it. The moment so much as one flurry dares to invade their territory, they are out there with shovels, plows, salt, and an elite troupe of anti-snow ninjas to remove the offending bit of crystallized H2O and return the world to how it once was. The Winter Warrior may shovel at least 17 times for a single snowfall. This person also likely aligns each bath towel inside the house so they hang of equal length on the towel rack.
  • The Minimalist. This is the person who has decided to leverage the Obligatory Shoveling Loophole. They shovel a one-shovel-width path from their home to their car. If truly serious about the shoveling, they might extend the path to 50% of the sidewalk, crafting an elaborate illusion of safety and seasonal effectiveness. As a child, this was probably the kid who took two bites of dinner and pushed the rest around on his plate to fool Mom.
  • The 'More Power' Enthusiast. This is the neighbor who was drooling all the way back in August with shiny thoughts of using the discount six-speed snowblower he just bought. At the first signs of snow, he is there, ready. Blowing out his drive, his back yard, his sidewalk, your sidewalk, the sidewalk of everybody on the block, people the next town over...  Eventually he finds himself at the equator, overdressed, sweating, confused and out of gas. He is very popular among his neighbors. By end of winter, he will have taken on a benevolent God-like reputation.
  • The Guilt Shoveler. This person is always one of the last people to shovel out after a snow storm. They check the status of other neighbors' properties from the warmth of their homes, while cupping a mug of cocoa, and wearing fuzzy slippers. They are waiting for someone else to set the shoveling precedent. They need this time to rationalize why they must be ripped from the comfort of flannel and chocolate when this white stuff from the sky will only likely come back again for round two. Only the fear that the other neighbors will call them Lazy McNoShovel gets them from their cocoon.
  • The Free Spirit. The inhabitants of the house on the block that has never, ever shoveled any part of their walkway or drive. The U.S Postal Service knows this and every year simply keeps their mail to be delivered in the safety of Spring. No amount of inter-neighborhood peer pressure will encourage these homeowners to address the outdoor world of white. These folks are typically the ones who don't rake leaves, or take advantage of the benefits of public sanitation service.
Me, I border on being the Guilt Shoveler. But I have a Winter Warrior on one side of me. I get guilted a little early on in the Snow Removal Process, since he and his Shoveling Ninjas sweep in and out several times before the last flake of the storm has dropped.

There can be six feet of snow everywhere else on the street and then his sidewalk is completely bare and shining with happy salt crystals.

It just ain't right.

So tell me-- what's your snow removal style? Do you live next to a Winter Warrior, 'More Power' Enthusiast, or the Free Spirit?


ReformingGeek said...

I live in a constant state of denial.

We don't own a snow shovel but we needed one last year when we got the 11-inch dump. I'm the "Desperado". Desperation forced me out with my garden shovel to make a path up my drive to the street that was basically clear. Yeah. This is so I could go run. ;-)

Jenn Thorson said...

Reforming Geek- "Desperado"-- I like that one a lot. Where you live, I can imagine you have a LOT of Desperados out there because you live in Texas for a REASON, one of which is usually to NOT HAVE TO DEAL with stupid snow-shoveling. Then Mother Nature snickers and gives you a foot of the stuff.

Sue said...

Wonderful post! I have all of these people on my street. I would be the minimalist if I hadn't planned way ahead and had 3 boys. It's working out well for me now that they are grown.

The other day I got home and my neighbor was, swear to God, shoveling his roof. What catagory would you put him in? The Winter Warrior? Or would he get his own catagory?

Unfinished Rambler said...

I'm usually The Guilt Shoveler. Today, I was guilted a little bit earlier by my wife because I lost one of her gloves (long story, which I'm sure she will shorten in her comments to "he's a dumb ass") and I had to go buy her (and me) a new pair of gloves ("never shall the twain meet").

Jenn Thorson said...

Sue- Excellent planning on your part! Sure, it's a lifetime of feeding and caring for them, but then you can have some good leverage to use on them when it comes to shoveling. :)

I don't know what to call your neighbor, the Roof Shoveler. I guess I would better know if I knew HOW much snow was on his roof when it moved him to shovel.

Rambling Dude- Oh I understand about losing the gloves, though. If I had a dime for all the single gloves I've lost, I could buy a really nice pair of gloves and misplace one of those, too. :)

aimee said...

I have to admit, I'm a Winter Warrior. You see, I'm not from the region in which I currently live and thus still recoil in horror at times at the yearly snowfalls we receive - anywhere from 80"-120" a winter. So I get out there and shovel after every snow more than 1"-2". It's the only way I can keep up! But I must admit, I like to keep things clear out of consideration for the letter carrier and pedestrians as well.

Jenn Thorson said...

Aimee- I hope you don't wear yourself out this winter. I give you a lot of credit for tackling it, and living in such a snow belt. Snow-shoveling before I even go to work for the day is not my favorite of my household chores.

Deray said...

Ask me what do I do when it's over 100F. Yeah, I know, I'm bragging.

Cheers from the Sonoran Desert!

SnowJoe said...

I'm clearly in the 'More Power Enthusiast' camp, nothing like throwing horsepower at a problem ;)

meleah rebeccah said...

What a FUNNY post! I am definitely a Winter Warrior. But one day I aspire to become the The 'More Power' Enthusiast.


Melanie said...

I waffle between being a free spirit and a guilt shoveler. I do have a narrow little pathway from the front door to the car door, and honestly the path only has a few icy spots.

I get my mail at the post office, and the elderly neighbor ladies know better than to stop by in the wintertime.

John at PIT Parking said...

Pine trees plus snow is just magical. I wish everyday is Christmas!

angelawd said...

I personally just throw out some salt, and drive over the snow, or wait for one of my nice neighbors to use their high-powered snowblowers on my driveway. It's a win-win: they feel good about doing me a good turn, and I save both my back and the cost of buying my own snowblower.