In the year that we have lived in an Active Adult community, there have been many amenities that we have come to love. The Clubhouse and the activities, the design of our house which has everything we need on one floor, the lawn maintenance service and of course the friendly neighbors who always have time for us and for each other. But this winter, I have begun to value one amenity above all… the snow removal service.
When we lived in a ” regular community, winter brought us some trepidation, more so with every passing year. When I was younger, shoveling away the snow was no problem. Four to six inch snowfalls didn’t merit a second thought and even when there were greater accumulations, I could always get it done , for a price, by the neighborhood kids. But, with time, the young kids in the neighborhood grew up and moved away and I grew leery of shoveling away the snow myself; many stories of people having heart attacks. There were snow removal services , to be sure, but their prices were exorbitant. Once, after a 14 inch snowfall, I had to pay a guy $ 180 to clear off the driveway and sidewalk. He calculated his price by the inches of snowfall and initially demanded $ 280.
In contrast, the snow removal here s included in our monthly service charge and it is taken care off quickly. No more waiting around. No more frantic calls to snow removal services or looking out for neighborhoods who never came. Here, as soon as the snow has stopped falling, a fleet of Bobcats and snowplows springs into action. The plows clear the interior roads, the Bobcats clean the driveways and the sidewalks. Simultaneously, an army of laborers shovels away the snow from the walkways up to the front door and scatters salt on the driveways. They work at all hours and they do a darn good job. All of them are from Mexico and I am not sure how many of them there are. One neighbor commented that management must have recruited an entire village from Mexico. Another, echoing the title of Hilary Clinton’s book, commented sagely that ” It takes a Village”. This is not to make fun of the workers. We are all appreciative of the service they provide and we realize they work very hard. It is sad also that they, who come from a warm and sunny climate, toil in the cold and often the dark.
One other thing that makes life in winter is that we park our cars in the garage, something we were not able to do in our regular homes during our working years. Then, the garages were full of accumulated stuff and there was no place for the cars. Now , having downsized, we have gotten rid of the junk and the cars are in the garage, where they should have been all along. When it snows, all we have to do is wait for the driveway to be cleared, back out of the garage and zoom away. No more scraping away the ice from the windshield and digging out the car from the snow. ( My nephew tells me of friends in Boston whose cars have been buried in snow for the past three weeks. One snowfall was closely followed by another, leaving no time in between to dig out the cars. As a res, they are now encased in ice and will not be driveable until an extended spell of warm weather has melted away the ice).
Most, if not all, of the terrors that winter holds are about clearing away the snow from the driveway and making sure the cars are good to go. As retirees, we do not have to get out of the house unless we want to and the main roads are always in good nick. In an active adult community, winter is just another season and it has its charms.