December 20, 2009

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.