I woke up late, around 8:00. It was still snowing outside just as it did when I went to sleep. Icicles hung from the eaves all around the house. A look outside and it was clear that a foot of snow had fallen since I shoveled yesterday.
After breakfast I headed out into the storm. There was so much snow and the snow banks were so high that my wovel became useless. I had to resort to a conventional snow shovel. My neighbor came by with his snow blower and cleared a path through the sidewalk and out to the street. Thanks, Jay.
Dig. Heave. Dig. Heave. On and on. Occasionally, I could use the wovel and did. But the snow was heavy and my triceps were tired from yesterday.
After clearing our driveway with some help from expert car excavator Mrs. RC, I headed across the street to liberate the other three cars in our fleet. The street hadn’t been plowed in hours. To make matters worse, the plow only did 2/3rds of the street. This meant I had to shovel snow to get to the neighbors driveway. How much snow? My friend Rachel said it was many fucktons. She is quantitatively astute.
Mrs. RC worked on clearing the snow off the cars. I went to work with the wovel on the obstructed driveway.
Dig. Heave. Dig. Heave.
Four hours later we were done.
All I wanted was baked goods and a massage. Alas, my baking friend and my massage friend are 20 miles and several thousand fucktons of snow away.
18 Inches on the Deck
Of course, over the four hours, another inch of snow had fallen. We clear that, fed the birds, and headed indoors.
Everybody part hurts. Somehow.
I am spent.
Outside the storm has intensified again. White outs are happening. Winds are howling.
I have to go back out there in a couple of hours.
It was a dark and stormy night….
Several inches of snow had already fallen. Darkness came. So did more snow. We ate dinner. Then I went out into the storm.
The wind was calm. Then gusting. Then calm. Over and over.
The wovel went to work. We moved our cars to a vacant driveway across the street before the start of the storm. This allowed the road crew to plow the street almost to the curb on our side of the street. All I had to do was move 6 inches of the stuff packed against the curb. Not easy. A neighbor had helpfully used his snow blower to clear the sidewalk. He blew the snow onto the strip between the sidewalk and the curb. There was nowhere to put the snow packed against the curb. The wovel made it easy to wheel it across the street.
The wovel is a giant shovel pan on a long stem. The stem runs over an axle attached to a huge wheel. This arrangement allows you to use leverage to lift the snow. The pivot point on the wheel means you push down on the handle instead of lifting up. This makes it easy to move tons of snow. It is a pretty damned good triceps workout but your back is spared stress.
But it looks dorky. So does my recumbent. I can tell you from past experience that nothing looks dorkier than a man holding on to a streetlamp because his back gave out after surgery. Been there. Done that. Science!
I excavated the cars, three across the street and one in our driveway. By the time I was done another couple of inches had fallen where I had started. Jane, stop this crazy thing!!!
I surrendered to the storm. I check out my Chia Werth. He was positioned next to the downspout. Unfortunately he was under an eave so he didn’t get the full effect of the storm. Still, it looks like the hole in his head (just like the real ballplayer!) was almost under the snow.
After about 90 minutes, I declared the wovel the victor and headed inside for a shower beer. I had hoped for a Fat Shovel beer but settled for a Fat Tire.
Tomorrow: MOTS (More of the Same). I’d like to do some snowshoeing but I’ll be whipped from another woveling session. Snowshoeing might have to wait until Sunday,
Last night was Mrs. RC’s yoga night. She has a class in Virginia about five miles from her office in DC. The snow squall that I rode through on the way home turned DC area roads into a hockey rink. Mrs. RC was a half hour late to her yoga class mostly because the cars on 14th Street bridge over the Potomac River were behaving like those little plastic football players on the vibrating metal football field.
After class she jumped in her car for the ten mile drive home. It took six hours. Yes, you read that right. Six hours. At the top of every hill she encountered a bank of buses and trucks. The drivers refused to go down because they were sure they would lose control and kill someone. Mrs. RC watched as cars made descents and slid off the road. She described planning on going down after them like she was lining up a putt of an undulating green. “I need to start farther to the left.” Not a good time for a case of the yips.
I stayed up until 1 am when I saw an email indicating that she was alright and that traffic was horrid. At 2:22 am I heard the front door open. She made it without an accident.
This morning I opted to drive. The National Park Service does not plow or de-ice the Mount Vernon Trail so I am pretty much out of luck for a while. (I could use studded tires but they would slow me down below 10 miles per hour, making my commute more than 90 minutes each way.)
Tomorrow the snow bomb comes. I am blaming a friend from Argentina. She came back to DC in January 2015 and we were hit with two weeks of incredibly cold air called a polar vortex. Just a few weeks ago she was hanging out on the beach in Patagonia. Then she came back here in the last week or two. And we get this monster snow storm. I think that maybe she’s one of the X-Men. I am taking up a collection to rent her a house on the beach in Patagonia until March next year.
Since I have no choice but to deal with the snow, I attached a new blade to my wovel and I am ready for action. If you think this thing looks silly, you should try it. It works great at clearing snow.
A couple of days ago I was somewhat concerned that Thai massage, followed by snow shoveling, and a physical therapy session, all withing the space of 17 hours would wreck my body. As it turned out, I made it through the Trifecta of Pain with flying colors.
The Thai massage (with a bit of Reiki at the end), although painful at times, was a very soothing experience. I don’t normally pamper myself like this, but I am glad I gave this a go.
This morning we had three or so inches of wet snow. I pulled out the wovel and went at it. Each time I use this gizmo I am amazed. Snow shoveling is one of the most stressful things you can put your back and heart. Woveling is a piece of cake. It is actually not much harder than mowing the lawn. And it makes quick work of the snow.
Later in the morning I went to my physical therapy appointment. We worked on my balance. To my surprise, after some awkwardness, I did most of the exercises without losing my balance. I don’t know if this gets me anywhere with my numb foot but it helped my ego quiet a bit. The PT folks were curious to hear about the Thai massage. I mentioned the pain I had with my quadriceps and IT band and that became the focus of the session. We used a foam roller to massage both areas. This was incredibly painful, much, much more so than during the massage. Then we tried using a lacrosse ball to work out the tightness in my IT band. This was not as bad.
And so the Trifecta of Pain is over. It was not nearly as painful as I had expected.
My body does not do change well. When I went snowshoeing the other day, it seemed fine while I was out and about, but my little excursion, only 1 1/2 miles, followed by woveling snow and slush gave me a sore iliotibial band at my left hip. The iliotibial band was invented by Satan to stabilize man’s outer thigh. It starts just above the point of the hip and extends to the tibia just below the knee. When it gets inflamed it is hard to calm and can cause serious pain.
So tonight I go for my first ever Thai massage. In keeping with my style I signed up for a two-hour session. yes, i am an idiot. Sam and Jeff, two #fridaycoffeeclub regulars, had Thai massages from the same therapist earlier this week. Sam loved it. Jeff liked some aspects but not others.
During Thai massage the client remains fully clothed. The massage therapist manipulates body parts and muscles using his/her body and forearms and such. It actually looks quite a lot like some of the manipulations my physical therapist does.
So I fully expect to be a little sore tomorrow. This is just as well because we are expecting snow overnight and I will likely be woveling again during the day. By something of a coincidence, I have a late morning physical therapy appointment.
So by about 1 pm tomorrow, I expect to be sore in places I didn’t know I had. This may make evaluating the Thai massage somewhat problematic. Stay tuned.
After spending riding in the basement this morning, I took a break for lunch and watched the snow fall. I looked on Facebook and saw a picture of my friend Flor wrapped up like Luke Skywalker on Hoth. Unlike Luke she was all in black and snow was clinging to her scarf, hood, and coat. She had a big smile on her face. What? She HATES cold. I figured if she was smiling, it must be pretty nice outside.
So as the snow fell I put on my bike commuting gear which is geared (no pun intended) for temperatures in the ’20s. Instead of my bike shoes, I put on my Goretex hiking boots. And Redfeather snowshoes. I bought the snowshoes after Snowmaggedon a few years ago. Finally, I had a chance to try them out.
At first they felt ungainly. I even fell when I crossed the snowshoes on some uneven terrain. Once I got the drift (sorry) of keeping my feet wider apart I was trudging along in comfort. My feet were at first cold but warmed up and stayed bone dry despite all the powder I was slogging through.
Since this was my first real foray on snowshoes I didn’t want to go too far. During the tumble I tweaked my left hip so that reinforced my sense of caution. I had to cross several plowed driveways which are actually harder to snowshoe on than powder. The snowshoes have metal teeth across the ball of the foot and these work best when they have something to bite into.
On my little trek, I watch a cyclists make his lonesome way along Collingwood Road near my house. He didn’t look like he was having a whole lot of fun.
At one point I tried a small uphill section and to my surprise found it easy as pie. I could really get into this!
After about a mile and a half I took off the snow shoes and broke out my wovel, which I wrote about almost exactly a year ago. There were about 2 inches of powder on the ground and the wovel made easy work of the driveways and sidewalks at my house and the house across the street. I find it fun to use and enjoyed having a reason to stay outside with beautiful flakes falling all about me.
Winter’s not half bad when you go with the Flo(r).