A single girl’s guide to shoveling snow

betty ming liu Writing how-to's 1 Comment

This morning, I dreaded waking up. Once the sun rose, I knew I’d have to shovel snow. Hate it! The last time there was a storm, I was falling madly in like with a boyfriend who did the outdoors-y heavy lifting for me. But now I’m back to coping with Single Woman Anxiety. And it’s not attractive.

Hire someone, you say? What, and wait all day for some guy to plow out my house? I did that for years; it was very annoying. On the hiring issue, there’s no more sitting on the fence. Hey, I can handle it! So at 8 a.m., I was pulling on the snow boots and waterproof gloves to face 8”-to-20” snow drifts. By 11-ish, I had cleared my long driveway, the porch, the sidewalk, the deck and the front walkway. And yes, I was very proud.

After a decade as a post-divorce single woman, I’ve learned a few things about snow. No. 1: It’s key to get out there first thing. Once the sun starts melting the white stuff, it become very heavy and hard to move. I’ve also stopped rushing. Too many times, I’ve pulled my back by trying to get done asap. Today, I worked slowly and carefully, in a productive rhythm.

Good gear is essential. In the beginning, I bought flimsy shovels that made the job so difficult that I would rage and cry. It was like I was punishing myself by not providing for myself. Now, I have this big, sturdy blue boy. It can clear a path fast. The green number is perfect for handling steps and corners. I also keep several car scrapers because they tend to break.

Having different types of shovels is helpful

Ugh. I’m so not into snow

I finished in time to attend an afternoon house party on Long Island with some good friends and our kids. The children were actually already there; we’d dropped them off last night for a sleepover. As I drove off to meet them, I cruised through my neighborhood and passed two wives who were out shoveling. One has a sick husband. The other one has a man who travels a lot. Suddenly, I was embarrassed.

When I was a wife (for 17 years), I considered it my husband’s God-given duty to shovel snow at our house. My role was to stay indoors and make him hot chocolate. Thankfully, my life has offered me additional opportunities to grow up.

But processing the stuff that runs through my little brain takes a lot of energy. I am so tired of my own stereotypes about who I’m supposed to be that it hurts. Single woman? Strong woman? Just a person dealing with winter weather?

Still, it was a good day. When I finally got to the party, catching up with everybody was fun. The Princess and I are back home now. Btw, once I hit “send” on this post, I’m going to soak in a hot tub with some epsom salt and lavender essential oil.

I’m tired. I ache all over — and it’s not just from shoveling snow.

Comments 1

  1. Post

    what a difference a year makes. today, it has snowed in 49 of all 50 states, covering 70 percent of this country. there’s even snow on at least one volcano in hawaii, my favorite place in the world. (only florida has no snow).


    as this post explains, i always wake up cranky on snow days. i HATE shoveling. i usually manage to pull my back and then feel very sorry for myself for being a poor, little divorced single woman.

    but this morning, i woke up at 8 a.m. to a text from my neighbors across the street. this family has a snow plow. they offered dig out my driveway, just to help me out. of course, i said yes! then the doorbell rang. it was a guy offering to shovel my sidewalk, walkways and deck for $40. i said yes again!

    so i now have agreed to barter with my neighbor. he’ll plow for food. next monday, i’ll make his family chicken and broccoli with rice. easy thing for me to do. and the guy who shoveled told me that he’s a mexican immigrant from the next town. i have his cell # and he said that he can always show up early if i need help.

    the universe dropped a new solution in my lap. i didn’t even ask for it. but change is good. keeps me fresh.

    after tidying up with a little extra shoveling myself (i don’t mind doing the little stuff and detail work) , i’m back in the house. it’s only 9:43 a.m. and i have the rest of my day ahead of me. plenty of time to work on a new blog post for tomorrow. wonderful. happy snow day to you all!

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