That’s it, I’m
done. I’ve shoveled my last shovelfull of snow. I
have faced off against Mother Nature and Mother Nature has
won. I am a defeated man.
The first snowstorm was bad enough. After all, it dumped
five inches of the white stuff in my double wide drive-way,
but the second storm two days later was more than I could
The wind blew
a three-foot drift across most of my driveway and a similar
drift along my entire walkway. Just getting to my car took
nearly a half an hour. For the next two plus hours, I was
able to clear a path to the street while taking a break
every 15 minutes to avoid a potential heart attack.
One of my neighbours
must have noticed me labouring in my laneway, because later
the same day someone got their snow clearing service to
get rid of the snowbank the city plow had unceremoniously
left at the end of my driveway. God bless them, whoever
they are. It took me two days to clear the rest of the snow
It’s been a rough
year for snow clearing companies. Most of them operate on
a contract that stipulates how much snow they will clear
for a given price. If it snows under the stipulated amount
they pocket the money. If it snows more than the stipulated
amount then the client has to pay extra every time it snows.
Before this winter,
I never believed in hiring a service to clear my driveway.
I figured I could do it myself. After all, it’s only snow.
I believe there were only one or two days last year when
I wished I had hired someone. My friends swear by it. They
say it’s the best investment they’ve ever made, especially
this year. Personally, the jury is still out.
As for Mother
Nature, or Old Man Winter, or whoever is responsible for
all this snow, cool it. Go take a vacation down south with
all the other snowbirds and give us a break.
I usually go
on strike from shoveling in March, but there is still a
long way to go between now and then and the possibility
of a lot more snow, God forbid. So I’m going to keep my
fingers crossed and my shovel by the front door just in
They say one
of the best cures for the winter blahs is Winterlude. The
only problem with Winterlude is that it’s held in the winter.
By now you may
have realized that I am not exactly a winter person. I talked
about some of the reasons why in my last column. But that
was not always the case. When my ex and I bought our house
in Old Ottawa South back in 1994 we were determined to take
advantage of its close proximity to the canal, especially
in the winter.
When our daughter
Maggie was born we actually walked over to Lansdowne Park,
strapped on our skates and skated all the way down to Dow’s
Lake and back with me towing Maggie in a small sled behind
us. The next year we managed to skate to Dow’s Lake, but
ended up walking back. By the third winter we didn’t even
bother putting on our skates, we justed walked to Dow’s
Lake, checked out the snow sculptures and ate some Beavertails.
I’m pretty sure that was the last time I’ve been to Winterlude.
I also remember
taking Maggie tobogganing once. I even have the picture
to prove it. I did make a valiant attempt at embracing winter
when the boys were nine or 10. Thinking that they might
love snowboarding, I went out and bought all the equipment
and enrolled them in lessons at Camp Fortune.
took all eight lessons and after the last lesson the instructor
thought they were ready to take on the big hill. I can still
remember riding up the chairlift with Jamie and the instructor
was in the chair in front of us with Dylan. When James and
I got off the chair the instructor and Dylan had disappeared.
It wasn’t until
Jamie and I had gone a 100 feet or so that I noticed a crowd
of people off to the side among some trees. In the middle
of the crowd was Dylan. Apparently the instructor had gone
down the hill on her own, thinking that Dylan would wait
for me and Jamie. Instead he decided to go down on his own
and went straight into the trees.
didn’t hurt himself, but it took me an hour to get both
of them down the hill with a kid tucked under each arm.
We haven’t been back since.
(If you wish
to comment on this or any other View Point column please
write to Fred Sherwin at email@example.com)