Monday, February 22, 2010


It was a particularly heavy snow this morning. About six to seven inches of the stuff made the rear view through our crystal clear patio doors look absolutely beautiful. Winter's usually naked trees and brush now standing gloriously clothed in magnificent, angelic radiance. Proudly posing for picture postcard perfection.
Of course, no such snow-covered splendor could go without running to our front yard to revel in its majesty as well.
And there it was. Our front yard. You know, that part of the yard that includes our driveway. Our rather long and wide driveway. Now looking even longer and wider than usual. The driveway with that 19-3/4 inches worth of snow-plowed slush, mush and ice so considerately placed at the end of our driveway by our local snow-plow driver. An otherwise fine young man I'm sure.
As if to drive the point home as to how heavy the snow was, a branch came crashing down into the pristine snowscape with a reality-deafening thud.
No problem. I'll just fire up the trusty old snowthrower and ... problem. Our trusty old snowthrower gave up its heroic ghost recently so we've been using snow shovels.
Still, how bad could it be? We've shoveled eight inches of snow before.
Another branch came crashing down, gasping as it bore through the white stuff to stop with limb-shattering numbness on the black asphalt.
My wife said, "Maybe you should call someone."
Good idea I thought. I called my buddy Ken who was in his fourth year at college. Strong guy, kind of a math geek, but always willing to help out. I asked him how much weight were we likely going to be shoveling today.
He did the math. Here's the numbers rounded down. Five hundred and forty cubic feet of snow-covered driveway, multiplied by the estimated 18 pounds of equivalent water-weight per cubic foot meant we were going to be shoveling approximately 4-1/2 tons of snow by weight.
"Did you say, four and half TONS?!?" I asked. "TONS??!!" I repeated rather loudly. "You do realize we're using shovels, don't you?"
He said, "Maybe you should call someone."
I called my daughter. The one who has a degree in philosophy. "Have you seen the snow yet this morning?" I asked her.
"Yes. It looks fun, but I think you got more out there than we got in the city. You guys got like eight inches?"
"It's between six and seven," I said. "So, how much do you think it weighs?"
"How much it weighs?" she repeated.
"Yeah. How much it weighs? We've got about five hundred and forty cubic feet of snow on the driveway and..."
She interrupted. "Did you just say five hundred and forty cubic feet of snow? HOW much snow did you guys get?"
"Like I said, between six and seven inches. The driveway's about eighteen feet wide by fifty feet long and when you cube it with the snow depth we've got about five hundred and forty cubic feet of snow. But anyway, my question was, how much do you think it weighs?"
"Five hundred cubic feet of snow and you want me to guess how much it weighs," she said. "Dad, I'm a philosopher. Maybe I could tell you what the snow was thinking, or possibly how the driveway felt, but maybe you should call someone to get the weight answer."
"I already did," I said. "I called Kenny at college. He said it's around four and half TONS. We gotta shovel about four and a half TONS of snow this morning."
"Do you need help?" she asked, I'm sure quite rhetorically. "Maybe you should call someone."
My phone beeped, telling me I had a call waiting. "I'll talk to you later," I said to my daughter. "I've got someone calling in."
"Good morning, this is Mr. Eclectic. Do you know how much snow I have to shovel this morning?" I said rather cheerily.
"Yeah," the somewhat breathy voice said, "About forty cubic feet less than we started with this morning. Get off the phone and get your ass out here and help me shovel." Gone was the sexy breathy voice that began the phone conversation. In its place was the five hundred cubic feet of snow that needed to be shoveled, NOW, voice. (Although I must admit, it was still kind of sexy).
It took us about three and a half hours and let me tell you, four and half tons spread out over 900 square feet is still very, VERY heavy snow.

So what's today's tip?
Easy, when you have a heavy task in front of you, sometimes it's good to call someone. To ask for their help. Not just to talk about the heaviness of it all.
Really, ask for help.

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