What an introduction to winter home ownership because let me tell you, boy did it snow this season.
The big one hit on January 17 and although we had forecasted warnings, I only vaguely remember that it was ‘going to snow’ since I had personally stopped listening to the news. I mean, the news was stuck on a repeat cycle of doom and constantly being overblown for dramatic effect. For what it’s worth, we hadn’t had any significant snowfall in years. The last memorable one was in 1999 when Toronto called in the troops, for which we will be ridiculed for the rest of eternity.
Anyway, waking up the next day, I recalled thinking, ‘wow, that’s more snow than I thought, but we’ve got shovels and salt, we can handle this!’ In fact, if you can believe it, I was somehow moronically naïve and excited to shovel all this snow. It was so pristine and powdery and beautiful and magical. It was like my favorite holiday song ‘marshmallow world’ had come to life!
Unfortunately, I discovered quite quickly that the satisfaction (either real or imaginary) of clearing a light dusting did not translate to clearing over half a meter of snow. This stuff was heavy and my arm felt like it was about to fall off after creating just a narrow path in our backyard to the garage. We still had the front yard, side alley, a 200 ft shared laneway, and 4-car garage area to clean up.
Moreover, old Toronto houses were built tightly packed together on narrow lots. It wasn’t like we were up in Richmond Hill, with 50’ x 200’ lots (or whatever they are), and you had a huge front/back yard to dump your snow. No; we ran out of places to pile our stuff almost immediately once we started shoveling. In fact, there was no place to put that 200 ft of snow, and there was no way our little sedan could make it out of the garage without some sort of clearance.
A little stumped on what to do, we inquired with our laneway neighbors who have been here for decades. “We’ve never seen this much snow either!” they exclaimed. Um, what?! Apparently, nobody really cleared the laneway and the odd time when there was heavy snow, ‘it took days to dig out’.
At this point, we were beginning to think that we may have been snowed in for a while, but then God answered our prayers! Our other neighbor kindly offered to lend us his snowblower and Nick powered through the elements that evening.
When I asked him afterwards about where he blew all the snow, he nervously laughed and shrugged, “It was dark, I couldn’t see. Up against the fence? Into the neighbor’s yard? Somewhere mysterious?”
Since then, it’s snowed a couple of more times, and my former enthusiasm has been replaced by mild dread. Hopefully, the roof holds out, Willie the groundhog is right, and that spring is just around the corner!