It’s currently 12:02 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2020. At the moment, I’m laying on the couch in our living room with a heating pad under my upper back and neck. If we rewind the tape, I spent nearly two and a half hours outside attempting to chisel through a couple inches of snow and ice that had accumulated from the storm.
Did I mention that my wife’s vehicle was frozen in place along the curb? My intent was to clear enough space that I could attempt to get her car off the street and back into our garage. You see, our street doesn’t get plowed right away, and my fear was once the city came down it would only bury her car more. So, I did what many Iowans did, I grabbed my steel toed boots (please see my Facebook page for video of when I did initially shovel in Crocs and shorts), gloves, jacket and trudged outside.
Within the first 10 minutes, I had managed to break a shovel. This was quite discouraging as my mom (shoutout to Sheila) had purchased the shovel for my oldest son (sorry, Henry).
It was during my ranting that it dawned on me that Ted (six-years-old) had mentioned earlier that he, “hidded (his word) the green shovel in the backyard.” I exited the garage and walked as gingerly as possible across our small deck and down the two steps. It was in that moment that I watched my foot splay out behind me to do the splits. As a large person, this is never something that I want to happen, let alone have it be out of control. I corrected the splits and ended up dropping to a knee, which broke through a layer of ice directly into several inches of cold, Iowa snow. Upon standing up, I located the aforementioned buried shovel and commenced my driveway and street clearing.
I love Muscatine and I love the seasons in Iowa, but I’d be lying to you if I said that I liked winter because I really don’t. It stems from all the years I spent helping my dad snow plow. Now, let me clarify that the time spent with him was memorable. It was the constantly loading of 50-100 pound bags of salt into the hopper on his truck that was tiring. That did however instill my work ethic. My father (a retired Chicago police officer) for years operated his own snow removal business. At one point, he had several accounts near Wrigley Field, so that was always entertaining seeing the nightlife around 3-4:00 a. m.
Back to the heating pad. Why didn’t any of you tell me how phenomenal these things are?! All this time, I could have been using it post manual labor to soothe my sore back, neck, and knees. Heating pad, you’re the real MVP.
Be safe, bend your knees, and for goodness sake, buy a heating pad! Also, maybe don’t let your kids hide shovels on you, until next week.