January in Ontario… My shovel runneth over

It happened again… over a three day period nearly a foot of fresh snow fell on Oakville.  As I usually do I ignored it for a bit until it got too bad for my car to drive through, but this morning I decided to get out there and clear it.  I actually discovered in December how much I actually enjoy this task… one that I had never really had before this year.

You may have read my article ‘I’m an IT Pro and Welcome to Winter’ (Posted Sunday, December 21, 2008) which included videos of me doing my thing.  It was the first intense exercise I have done in some time, and I got a feeling of satisfaction that you cannot get from watching someone else do it for you.

IMG_0007So Sunday morning I bundled up nice and warm (It was gorgeous and sunny… and -9°C / 15°F outside) and grabbed my shovel.  I actually have several implements that I could have chosen, including a very efficient push-scoop that can move a lot more snow with a lot less effort, but I opted for the same red plastic shovel that features in the videos from December.  I started at the top of the driveway, and decided to only do half of it (we have a two car garage so a two car driveway, but are currently only using the single car).

There is a man who lives in our circle who gets by on doing ‘menial labour’ for the neighbourhood.  Last year we paid him every time there was a snow storm to shovel the driveway.  After I had been shovelling for about ten minutes he came by and asked if I wanted him to take over, and would only charge me fifteen dollars for the entire job.  I thanked him, but told him that I was doing fine on my own, and wished him well.  He’s a nice guy and we chatted for a few minutes, and then I put my earphones back on and continued.

Several minutes later one of my neighbours came by and asked if I wanted to borrow his snow blower to save time.  He had seen the videos on my blog, and figured I could save a lot of time and effort by ‘automating the task.’  I declined, and then as we were chatting he noticed in my garage a contraption parked between the cars.  ‘Is that what I think it is?’  He was referring to my snow blower, which I recently paid to make sure it was well tuned.  He was perplexed, but it is very simple.

I mentioned that I discovered that I enjoyed shovelling the driveway.  Part of that is because it needs to be done, and is part of taking care of one’s home.  This is my first year as a homeowner, and it is fulfilling to put your back into maintaining it.  However there is much more to it than that.

Of course it is great exercise… I used to be in great shape, and am upset that I have allowed that to falter.  Walking the dogs is great, but shovelling really gives you a much more complete workout… Even now I feel my shoulder and arm muscles, in addition to my legs!

I find shovelling very relaxing.  It allows me to be alone with my task… and my music.  It also allows me to get a lot of fresh air; the task took no less than ninety minutes, and all along I was out in the sun, getting exercise, and of course enjoying the solitude of my music.  It is therapeutic.

Perhaps the best part of the task is finishing… at 1:15 I came into the house and Theresa heated up a bowl of her mulligatawny… there is nothing better on a cold day than a hot bowl of soup, but you cannot really appreciate it in quite the same way if you didn’t spend the time outside earning it!  If I wasn’t on a diet I would say that a cup of hot chocolate or even a big bowl of creamy clam chowder was what the doctor called for, but Theresa made the soup from scratch, and it was as satisfying as it was warming.

I will spend Monday at home working… but sometime during the day I will take the time to shovel the other half of the driveway.  It is completely unnecessary of course – we are happy as a single-car family; but the feeling of accomplishment coupled with the exercise make the left side of the driveway too tempting to resist!


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