The blizzard which pummeled the Eastern seaboard was kind to us . We only got about three inches of snow and it was the light powdery kind which is easier to shovel. Washington D.C , 200 miles south of us, was blanketed with 2 feet of snow and Philadelphia, only 90 miles south of us , got about a foot. Yessir,three inches of snow means that we escaped very lightly.
Edison N.J. has had it’s share of snow in the past. Three ( or was it four ? ) years ago, we had a series of snow storms , each following closely on the heels of the last. They were all in the 8″ to 14″ category , midsize rather than huge, but they occurred in rapid succession . We had barely cleared off the snow from one storm when the next would hit . After the fourth such occurrence, the general reaction was ” Oh, no !! Not again !!” We got a taste of what it must be like to live in Boston or Buffalo except that the people there, unlike us , are inured to it. I wonder what it must be like to actually live in one of those places or in Maine or Minnesota where 80-100 inches of snow in the course of a winter is common.
The worst snowstorm in my experience was the one that hit us on New Year’s Day, 2001. We had been on vacation in the Dominican Republic and had come to know of the storm from the TV news reports. Lying on the beach at Punta Cana , our thoughts were of what awaited us when we got back. When one is in a tropical paradise , the prospect of returning to 16 inches of snow is very off-putting. Consequently, the last couple of days in Punta Cana we were not able to enjoy ourselves completely; the TV was always tuned to the news channels and their “Winter Storm Warning”. We got home late on a Sunday night to find about 14 inches of snow on the ground . Since my brother-in-law and his wife were leaving for L.A early the next morning we couldn’t rest up but had to immediately get to work cleaning up the driveway. By the time we were done at 1 o’clock in the morning , we were ready for another vacation.
I used to dread snow much more when I was still working. If the snow fell on the weekend , no problem. There was no pressure about removing it and one could do it at leisure. The problem when it snowed during the week. There was no time to remove it in the morning before setting off to work and in the evening I was too tired.What was even worse that if I put off removing the snow it hardened into ice and became both slippery and harder to remove. Now that I’ve retired, snow removal is less of a problem. I don’t have to do it immediately but stretch it out over the course of the day.
So, how much snow is too much ?
I guess it depends on a number of factors: the length of the driveway, whether the house is on a corner lot and the nature of the snow.( Is it the wet heavy snow or the light powdery type ? ). In my case, our drive way is the normal size , double width and about two car lengths long. However our house is on a corner lot which means Ialso have to shovel the side-walk that wraps around our plot. If the snow is a light powder, 4 inches is the maximum I can handle without complaint. If it is the wet heavy type, three inches is the outside of enough. Any more and I call the snow removal service even if it means having to shell out sixty to eighty bucks.
P.S . As I was shoveling the snow this morning, I thought for a moment about what it would be like to live in a place where it was warm all the year round and the only snow I saw was on the TV screen. Then I looked up at the snow laden branches of the trees , the icicles hanging off the eaves and took a deep breath of the cold wintry air. No, I thought to myself I’m fine where I am ; I wouldn’t want to be any place else.
Ten years from now it may be a different story.
P.S ( Feb. 11th) Three days after that we got clobbered by14-16 inches of wet , heavy snow and I’m waiting for the snow removal service to clear it away.