After I put my daughter down to bed, I thought to myself that I need to remove some of this snow. Normally my amazing neighbor plows me out but he was in Florida. I was going to have to do this alone. I went to the garage and looked at the snowblower. I have never used the snowblower. Bryon bought a high end model and a good friend of his showed me how to use it last fall. And of course I couldn’t get the thing to start. It is most likely the fault of the operator. There probably wasn’t any gas in it. I googled some YouTube videos (because everything is on YouTube) but I still had no luck. Luckily, I own an old fashioned snow shovel and as I was shoveling my driveway during the Blizzard of 2017, or Storm Stella, many thoughts came through my mind.
First I want to address a pet peeve of mine. Why are they naming winter storms? They are not hurricanes. Naming winter storms is like “Fetch” and they need to stop trying to make it happen.
So during the beginning of shoveling, I was all “I am woman, hear me roar!” Us younger widows are tough.
Then I wanted to forget the “I am woman, hear me roar” crap. I need to start taking applications for Husband #2. Bring on the quasi-traditional gender roles. (I am kidding, of course. About the husband. I am a modern woman but having some semblance of traditional gender roles doesn’t bother me.) At this point, I don’t need any romance or intelligence. I would settle on usefulness.
I started to ask why did my Bryon have to die? If he were alive, he would be using the snowblower and listening to some online radio station from the Virgin Islands. At least in our old life. I always tend to forget that even if he were still alive, things would be very different. Had he survived, he wouldn’t have been the physically strong man he was. He would have had some long lasting health problems. He would be too weak to snowblow or shovel or he would still be in rehab and I would probably be in the same position. I also began to wonder if he had survived, how would he feel about the new dynamics. He was always a take charge person. The last thing he would have wanted was to be dependent on me. It would have frustrated him but at the same time, he would have been grateful.
I started to think that the Blizzard of 2017 really sucks. Then I remembered what I said to myself at the beginning of the year. There is no way that 2017 can be as bad as 2016. Almost half of 2016 was spent in an ICU room and a third of 2016 was spent in the earliest, most raw stages of grief. Shoveling snow might suck but I would rather be shoveling snow than be sitting in an ICU room.
My muscles were beginning to ache and I started to whine to myself. Then I remembered the pain Bryon was in during the final months of his life. It seemed silly to be upset about pain that some Ibuprofen and a heating pad could take away. I also began to feel grateful that I was alive and that my fat and asthmatic body was able to shovel snow. It might take me three days to shovel my driveway but I could do it.
At one point I stopped and asked myself a question I ask myself a lot: what would Bryon McKim do? The answer was simple, Bryon McKim would grab a beer (or several). I don’t usually keep beer in the house. I am not a big drinker, usually just wine with the girls. But when I was grocery shopping, I saw Saranac S’mores porter and I thought it looked interesting so I bought it. Maybe I subconsciously knew I was going to need a beer. I rested the beer in a snowbank though it didn’t taste good after awhile. It was still snowing and snow was getting into the beer. And the porter started to ice up. Oh well.
My daughter was inside sleeping and I started to think about what life would be like when she was older. If she were older, she would have had to help me. Was she going to help willingly or be a little stinker like I was? I know growing up I gave my father a hard time when he told me to help with snow shoveling. Though I gave him a slightly less of a hard time when it came to shoveling out my grandmother. I thought about how it was just my daughter and me and we were going to have to depend on each other much more than we would have if Bryon was still alive. And she doesn’t have siblings to share the burden. I began to worry that she might grow up earlier than most kids because of our situation.
I started to think about my retirement dream where I buy an old farmhouse on the coast of Maine. My retirement home will likely have a long driveway so I decided that I was going to have to purchase a truck and a plow when I retire.
By 10:30, the snow was still coming down and the wind was picking up. I was really starting to get cold so I figured that the snow will still be there in the morning and surely daycare would be closed. So I went inside, took a hot shower and then watched the Season Finale of This is Us. Then I went to bed.
The next morning, I was surprised that wasn’t closed or even delayed. Half of my driveway wasn’t shoveled. So I bundled my daughter in the Gap snowsuit that I bought in a large size two cyber Mondays ago that barely fits now. Ironically it was her first time wearing it because it the snowsuit was too large last winter and we barely had snow this winter. I was kind of glad it got one wear before being passed on to a friends daughter. I told my daughter to go be like Elsa while I shoveled.
I shoveled until my daughter told me she was cold. Then we went back inside. One of my girls has a son that attends the same daycare as my daughter and she came by to bring her to daycare but there was a huge snowbank in the way. Luckily, just then my neighbor’s brother-in-law showed up to plow me out and I was able to take my daughter to daycare. Crisis was over and everything was okay.
My muscles might still be achy but we survived our first major storm. Bring on Spring. I didn’t get to enjoy Spring last year so I am ready to enjoy it twice as much this year.