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Sunday, February 25, 2007  

Dig It

This weekend has almost been like living in Minnesota again.

Lemme 'splain. The past few winters here haven't been very snow-heavy, at least by Minnesota standards. The scientific reasons for this have been observed and remarked and hypothesized on by people who aren't me, and I'm not about to start now. It wasn't always this way. Since owning a driveway and sidewalk for whose snow clearance I'm responsible, the nineties were much less "Where is the snow?" and much more "Where are we going to put it?"Not to get all grandpa on you, but I remember one particular year when we didn't so much clear out the driveway as carve a trench along it. The snowbanks on each side were shoulder-high and so close you couldn't open the car door until you reached the garage. When the spring thaw finally came, I was amazed at how wide our sidewalks were. "Were they this wide in the fall?" I kept asking Trash. "Are you sure? I don't remember them being wider than my snowblower."

Recently, the snow has been a little more iffy. It's even been in question whether we're getting a white Christmas a few times. We usually do, but sometimes it's the white of a powdered donut in a high wind.

The first sign of an old-school Minnesota snowstorm came earlier this week, when an expected visitor from South Dakota cancelled her visit for this weekend due to the forecast. When no snow came on Friday and the sun set on our damp brown yard, I said to Trash, "She still could have come."

"The snow's coming tomorrow," Trash reminded me. "She couldn't have gotten home."

"Don't see how that's our problem," I grumbled.

The snow started yesterday, around M. Small's lunch time. Febrifuge and Teslagirl came over in the afternoon to toast some news and to induct Trash into the cult of Guitar Hero (status: successful!). By the time they left and M. Small had dinner and went to bed at 8:00, it had been snowing nonstop for hours. I waited to make sure he was good and asleep before going outside and firing up the snowblower. It only took me an hour or so.

Then it kept snowing all night.

This morning, the entire neighborhood was covered in a thick, white, uniform blanket, except for our sidewalk and driveway, where the blanket was about six inches thinner. I keep telling myself that moving frozen snow until ten p.m. on a Saturday night made my Sunday morning a lot easier.

M. Small wanted to help too. After I'd done most of the snowblowing and the air was less thick with hurtling bits of ice and driveway, Trash bundled him up and sent him outside with me. "I want to dig!" he told me. "Where's my own?"

"His own" refers, of course, to the M. Small-sized snow shovel he has. I had it all ready for him, and he didn't waste any time getting to work and scattering snow from the yard into the path I'd cleared from our back door.

Unfortunately, he kind of has the attention span of a two-year-old. After a few minutes he lost interest in shoveling the snow and started painting it instead with a paintbrush he found in the garage (he went with white, which goes with anything and makes the yard look bigger). Then he started bugging the next-door neighbor lady (who was hiking around on her snowshoes), making his first snow angels; riding in a sled towed by me (this is the last year he'll fit into it, I fear), and eventually getting upset about the snow stuck to his mittens and scarf and asking to go inside, where he got today's bath about eight hours early. I didn't expect to be able to keep him on task, really. Now I know that's just because I was doing it wrong.

This afternoon, we all braved the elements -- and the impressive frozen dam the snowplow had left across the bottom of our driveway -- to run a few weekend errands. When we got home, he put out some food we'd bought for Squirrel Goodnut (like that fat bastard needs it) and refused to proceed into the house. We went around front, where we'd left his sled, and where the neighbor guy was now carving a notch in the snowbank to place his trash bin for tomorrow's pickup.

"What are you doing?" M. Small asked our neighbor in that way he has. Our neighbor responded that he was making some space for his garbage bin. M. Small heard the word "space" and his mind went there. "Build a rocket?" he said. "I help [neighbor]," he told me, grabbed his snow shovel, and left me standing there holding the rope to a sled that nobody in their right mind was going to ride in if there was going to be an orbital vehicle available in a few minutes. He stuck to the neighbors like very unhelpful glue until it was time to drag him in for dinner, and I think he was still half-expecting to get to go for a rocket ride with the neighbors after dessert.

I've learned my lesson. From not on, whenever I want him to help me pick up his toys, do the dishes, or put away laundry, I'm going to tell him I'm building a rocket. I'll have to be careful, though. Otherwise when I actually do build a rocket he might not believe me.

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posted by M. Giant 6:47 PM 2 comments

2 Comments:

I'll keep this advice in mind when our boy's old enough to be bribed. I hadn't considered trying to put the lad to work, we just let him play in the snow.

By Blogger Stephatto, at February 26, 2007 at 4:52 AM  

DO you rent him out yet? Because we have a foot or two of snow that he could shovel

By Anonymous Michelle, at February 26, 2007 at 7:46 AM  

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