Thursday, January 27, 2011


Snowpocalypse: that's a the title of a piece from Salon today, showing photos and videos of the after-effects of last night's snow storm that hit the Northeast.

I really didn't need to see pictures. I'm living it.

Before, I was tired of having the kids home so much because of snow days. Tired enough to threaten to drive them to school whether it was in session or not. Now I'm just plain tired of the snow.

Really tired of it.

Like, tired enough to actually look up the DSM-IV (the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition), to see if there's an official mental disorder related to hating snow. Apparently there isn't. Seasonal Affective Disorder is as close as I can find, but one of those cool light box hats isn't going to cure my ill.

It's more about the frustration of not knowing where to put the snow. "Where will we put it?" is supposed to be one of those polite, neighborly things you say when someone tells you that it's going to snow again, like saying "Hot enough for ya?" in the summer. But it's not just being polite. I have actually run out of places to put the snow. We got another 18 inches last night. We've now gotten more snow this month than in any other month in the history of the state.

The snow blower helps, to be sure -- it's much easier on the back than shovelling -- but this snow was just wet and heavy enough that the snow blower deposited it right on top of the already large snow banks lining the driveway. And so it was just wet and heavy enough to cause the banks to collapse. I don't know if Norse mythology has an equivelent of Sysiphus -- who was sentenced to push a rock up a hill, only to watch it roll back down, over and over again for eternity -- but if there is, then it must be some old Norwegian who pissed off the gods enough to make his snow bank fall back onto the space he just cleared, over and over again. After a while, you start to look for the little crack starting to form in the snow and you know you're going to be really sad in about 30 seconds.....

So the snow blower just wasn't the tool of choice for this storm. I just couldn't put the snow where I wanted it to go. For some of it, I needed the shovel, which let me walk a few steps and place the snow in whatever small area I could find that wouldn't collapse on me.

Which makes the snow blower kind of like traditional chemo: imprecise, but it does the job of clearing out the problem, even if it causes some side damage along the way. The shovel is like a second-generation monoclonal antibody, allowing a targeted attack, but not taking care of the problem completely.

(Isn't it impressive that I always find a way to bring it all back to cancer?)

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