Monday, February 11, 2013

Blizzard of '13 Part 2: The Clean Up Begins

I was 7 in the Blizzard of ’78.  We lived in Massachusetts and I remember my sister being up to her armpits in snow, crying, waiting to be rescued by my parents who just had to take the picture before reaching down to lift her out of her snow trap.  We had 20 inches of snow in that storm.

This storm dumped 32 inches on us.  I am going off the recorded total for our town as the amounts vary depending on drifts.  32 inches is a whole lot of snow to remove.  My corner of the world has been so quiet for the past 48 hours.  Until this morning when a good Samaritan plowed our part of the street, the street which our driveway is on, we were stuck.  The town trucks are having a very hard time dealing with the quantity of snow to be removed.  They are nowhere to be found.





I am not worried for my family.  We are strong and healthy and have enough food and water built up in storage to last for a long time.  We have electricity and we can cook.  Our elderly neighbors however, cause me concern.  They often need the assistance of an ambulance and their medical needs require medication and doctors visits.  During times of crisis, like in the fall storm, we assist them just as we would our own parents.  Unfortunately both of us own corner lots which means between our two properties we have a lot of sidewalk to clear, three doorways and walkways and two driveways.  It would be impossible without the snow blower but even this is a two person job.  The snow is so high that our blower can’t move the snow.  Greg stands in front breaking up the snow and feeding it into the blower while I move the blower slowly down the walkway.  As fast as we would clear it, the wind would drift it back again.  Pass after pass was made to keep the walkways clear.  We finished digging both houses out Sunday afternoon around 1:00, after approximately 10 hours of work.



I look around my block.  Several houses have not even started snow removal yet and rain is forecast for Monday.  I don’t worry about the families that are young.  They can do it, they are choosing not to.  But I worry about the people that I don’t know.  Those who are older.  Those with limited mobility.  Those with weak backs and hearts.  Those with no one to help.  So Greg and I do what we can.  We help dig out driveways.  We help plow sidewalks.  I feel it is our duty as neighbors to help those who need help.  So we snow blowed until we ran out of gas.  When my girls were babies and Greg was at work I would be inside and hear the glorious sound of the snow blower as my neighbor decked out in an orange jumpsuit walked up and down the block clearing away the snow for twenty families.  I was so grateful to him.  This is my way of paying it forward.



So we work.  We work until we are weary.  But it is a good kind of weariness.  At one point as we were working to clear our neighbor’s driveway, in which he generously offered to let us park our car, Greg and I were chatting away about nothing in particular.  There was no talk of work.  No talk of lessons.  No talk of laundry, dry cleaning or food shopping.  We were 100% present in the moment.  It was wonderful.  Too bad it takes a hurricane or a blizzard to center us on the here and now.  





12 comments:

  1. YOu guys are great neighbors!

    Jason always takes the snow blower around to the older couple next door and if he's done there and the people across the street are still shoveling, he'll go over there. Jason showed me how to start the snow blower before for skiing, but on Saturday morning I flooded the engine when I tried...I didn't know that and I gave up and shoveled our driveway and walkway and by the time I was done the old couple next door's kids (in their 60s) came from around the block to shovel them out.

    We are getting rain here and the temps are forecast in the 40s all week...hope you are getting the same...

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    1. My snowblower was one of the best gifts Greg ever gave me! I had trouble with it during this storm. The snow was so high I kept stalling it. Then Greg ripped the ignition pull right out of it! Thankfully we can start it electrically but it is going to have to go in for repair......

      I am hearing rumors of another possible 6" of snow on Wednesday.....

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  2. My sister in CT got SO much snow, too...I think they figured it was about 28 inches. It's wonderful that your family was able to work together this way to help out your neighbors!

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    1. It is going to take a few more days for the towns to get back to normal. Schools are closed. Trains are barely running on a normal schedule. The streets, if plowed, are one lane only. Some of the snow melted today but it did not make the situation any safer.....

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  4. Stay safe. God bless you and your family.

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    1. Thank you! We are safe and sound. Did you get any snow in PA?

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  5. how wonderful to have such giving neighbors, such as yourselves. i hope your kids are able to look back at this part of their childhood with fond memories. when i told my girls of the storm, they were quite jealous. if they had to do the chores with come with snow, i'm sure they'd feel differently. stay warm, my friends!

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    1. Usually my girls help out more with the shoveling but this storm was so magical that I really wanted them just to enjoy it. Plus the snow was too deep for them to be of much help!

      We stayed inside all day today. It was lovely but we are getting a bit stir-crazy!

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  6. the pictures are beautiful but I wouldn't want to be in that snow. Don't like it. I am glad you guys are healthy and strong to help out. Your neighbors are blessed to have you!! :)

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    1. I am not feeling as strong today! I am very achy.

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