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Shoveling Out After a Snowstorm

Updated on January 20, 2014
Shoveling snow is hard work
Shoveling snow is hard work | Source
Snow is beautiful when it doesn't have to be shoveled
Snow is beautiful when it doesn't have to be shoveled | Source

Snow Makes Slaves of Us All

Boston, Massachusetts received over 15 inches of snow on New Year’s Day 2014 and the day after. Boston Mayor Tom Menino reminded everyone not to shovel snow off cars onto the street. The big question is, if people cannot shovel snow onto the street, where are they supposed to put it? Where are they supposed to put over 15 inches of snow, if not on the street?

Certainly, people in North Dakota and Montana have worked their snow system out perfectly. But Bostonians are not used to getting 15 inches of snow over a 48-hour period, let alone know where to put it. If you own your house, you can put the snow in your front yard. But if you are renting an apartment in a building and you are shoveling out your car, just where are you supposed to put that snow?

Folks are told that if they are caught putting snow in the street they will be fined a maximum of $200. Three hours after the storm, homeowners are expected to remove snow and ice from the entire width of their sidewalk, or a minimum of 42 inches. This is to allow the ability of carriages and wheelchairs to safely navigate the streets. There is a maximum fine of $150 each day sidewalk shoveling is not done.

So snow makes us compete for places to put it. Sometime after 10 inches of snowfall, most people wouldn't mind paying a fine, if they can just get the snow out of their way. If they shovel out their cars to the street, a snowplow usually rides by and shovels them back in. There is so much snow on the ground. Even the city snowplows don't have anywhere to put it.

The best thing a person can do is to shovel out as early and often as possible. You don't want the weather to change to above freezing, have snow melt on the sidewalk, and then, when evening arrives, the snow turns to ice and there is exposure to a possible slip-and-fall lawsuit. Tires get frozen in ice also. And ice melt doesn’t work in below freezing temperature.

Folks need to get out early and shovel their piles of snow to the corner sidewalk. If they get out too late, someone else will put their snow right on the corner of the drive way, leaving tardy people with putting snow on front lawns. Whether they own the property or not.

On a similar note, don't you hate your neighbors with their own snowplows on your street? They come out after the snowstorm is over, and an hour later, all their snow is taken off their sidewalk, driveway, and parking spot. It’s usually your next-door neighbor. He's finished in an hour. And, seeing you struggle with your one-shovel-at-a time back breaking effort, he doesn't even offer to help with your side of the property. Is it wrong for one to expect at least an offer to help?

By the way, why do we lose our minds in a grocery store when it snows? Every time they announce a blizzard, we run to the grocery store as if there's not going to be any food on the shelves. And guess what? There is very little food on the shelves when we get there. Because people have bought every gallon of milk, every loaf of bread, every pound of hamburger that's in the store. So what? Are going to be that hungry over the next two days? After all, this isn’t the Donner Party blizzard.

Rain, frozen pipes, flooded basements, heart attacks, and sliding and crashing cars complete the madness that is part of a major snowstorm. Snowstorms create forced labor, confusion, cabin fever fights inside and outside the home, and the overall need to push oneself through a snowstorm both physically and mentally.

Fortunately, all of this only lasts about a week until everything calms down. We forget the horrors we experienced. And unfortunately, without a snow plan, it will be repeated during the next snowstorm. Sort of like the snowstorm equivalent of the Circle of Life, with frigid cold added by Mother Nature.


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    • Carolyn2008 profile imageAUTHOR

      Carolyn Gibson 

      4 years ago from Boston

      The Mayor gives us 48 hours to keep our spaces. Then it's every man for himself. Some people will keep their car in the cleaned out space, then take public transportation. Every time it snows, I cringe.

    • RonElFran profile image

      Ronald E Franklin 

      4 years ago from Mechanicsburg, PA

      You bring back not-so-fond memories of living in the city and having to deal with all the problems you mention. One more: in my city it's illegal to put out chairs or other objects to try to block off your parking space. So you can spend hours digging your car out, only to return and find that someone else, who put not one ounce of energy into clearing that space, is now enjoying the fruits of your labor. Snow makes you really appreciate the suburbs!

    • Carolyn2008 profile imageAUTHOR

      Carolyn Gibson 

      4 years ago from Boston

      Or, put the snow in trucks and carry it to large, city owned vacant lots. Like they do in Downtown Boston.

    • word55 profile image

      Al Wordlaw 

      4 years ago from Chicago

      Happy New Year Carolyn2008, I agree with you. Perhaps the Mayor can have trucks to come shovel after drivers clean their vehicles off. People must go to places of necessity. That's why you pay state and city taxes.


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