A lot of folks complained about how early substantial snows hit the bulk of the US in 2019. I was reminded by something that Kiwis such as Arthur understand. December 1 is meteorological summer in New Zealand. This means it’s meteorological winter in the Northern Hemisphere. And it surely came in like a lion.
When we got home from a play on Sunday, the 1st, I shoveled the four inches that had fallen. But ugh. I woke up to about ten more inches. Little wonder why virtually every school in at least a seven-county area and the libraries were closed. Later that day, I helped my wife dig out the car from its on-street parking space. That packed snow is SO much heavier.
Then Tuesday morning, I shoveled enough to get to the replowed-in car, and we dug it out again. Not only is there about eight more inches of snow, but there’s also nowhere to put it. You don’t want to place it where it’ll be more difficult for others to get out of their spaces. One’s not supposed to put the snow onto the street, though surely several people did.
After my wife and daughter went to school with the two-hour delay, I went back to bed and took a nap for an hour. The joy of retirement. Then I attacked the sidewalk snow.
Historically, I’m from the “shovel often” school of snow removal. I learned this back in the 1980s, when I worked at FantaCo, the comic book store on the first block of Central Avenue.
“Shovel the walk” does NOT mean creating a path a shovel-width wide. I mean, clear the WHOLE sidewalk, walkway to the house and the steps. I mean, clear it so you can see the pavement. If you do it early enough, the winter sun will do the work and minimize the need for rock salt. I use it as sparingly as possible.
Mayor Kathy Sheehan recommended that drivers be wary of pedestrians. This is true because there are folks digging out their vehicles. But it’s really important to protect those who’ve abandoned the sidewalks in favor of walking in the road. The guy passing our house pushing the baby carriage, going with traffic, made me particularly nervous. If you’re walking on the road, you should go against traffic.
Some of the worst failure to remove snow was by some bus stops. One was a couple of blocks away, where Western and Madison meet. People were forced to go well into the intersection. The nearby gas station cleared around the pumps and the entrance, but the walks, not so much.
I have lost the ability to mountain goat. No way I’m going to climb over those piles of snow. Oh, I tried once and my shoe got stuck in a mound. Damn, that was uncomfortable.
Some folks complained that Albany didn’t call a snow emergency until Tuesday night. Alternate-side parking kicks in while the parking spots are plowed out. I was fine with that. Hey, at least my city didn’t have to call out the National Guard, as Schenectady did.
I’m not about to complain about meteorological winter. Now, I may complain about people’s poor response to it, but that’s a different kettle of fish.