From time to time, my wife tells me I’m not like most other husbands. Some men, she points out, know how to do things like use a hammer, work a saw and build things around the house.
I’ve explained that I’ve built stuff. In fourth grade I built a birdhouse in Cub Scouts.
To compound things, I have a brother-in-law who doubles as Ty Pennington. Every couple months he takes on a new extreme makeover.
I’m not big into lawn maintenance either. As a kid I cut hundreds of lawns for 90-year-old widows who thought a nickel still bought a
Coke and wanted to pay me accordingly. This was the reward for mowing in 110-degree heat while I inhaled enough grass to sod a farm. No more.
Raking leaves is not my strong suit, either. Leaves should be left where they fall. Circle of life stuff, until they reach their final resting ground, which hopefully is in the neighbor’s yard.
And so this may shock you, but I don’t like to shovel snow.
My wife says you can’t fairly evaluate something until you’ve tried it once. No need to attempt it when I can watch the dads in our
subdivision give it their best. They start to shovel at the first flake while I draw the blinds. And then the tension rises. My wife says I’m lazy. She says other things you cannot print in a family newspaper.
That’s OK. I can barely hear her when she is outside. Shoveling.
All of this came to a head on a Christmas night. We were driving home after a visit to my mother-in-law in Prairie Village and we
pulled into our block. There he was — snow guy was shoveling his drive. It was dark out.
My wife stared at him admiringly. “Look at Steve. Boys, take a long look at that real man.”
Her invitation to the three dudes in the back of the car got no traction. The teenagers briefly glanced up from their phones and rightfully questioned the wisdom of shoveling at night during a snowstorm in subzero temperatures. They went back to texting.
My wife continued: “Sure would be nice to walk down his driveway.”
I quickly turned the corner to ours, shifting to four-wheel drive and flooring it to bust through the drifts. What a feeling.
The next day, with more snow and wind chills in single digits, guess what snow guy was doing. Yep, single-handedly taking on a
blizzard. Mother Nature, who had an army of snow and ice trucks on the ropes all night, was no doubt laughing hysterically. She had
But for those who share my view about a common sense approach to snow removal — meaning none — I’ve got your back.
Let’s start with the news reports of men who go out to shovel and drop over dead. Heart attacks and shoveling go hand in hand.
More proof: the Consumer Products Safety Commission reported more than 118,000 people treated for back injuries directly related
to shoveling snow.
And if marital disharmony comes from not shoveling, consider the alternative, illustrated by this Council Bluffs, Iowa, snow freak
who demanded his wife help him shovel. The Iowa news report: “Police arrested a man who allegedly assaulted his wife when she
refused to help him shovel snow.” Seems he traded his shovel for pinstripes.
But you should see his driveway.
So I’m sticking with my original plan. Enlisting someone who’s been around a while to help me with the snow. The sun. With all
the chatter about global warming, let’s make some lemonade. Sure it will require patience, but March is just two months away.
This column previously appeared in 913 in December 2009. Reach Matt Keenan at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter:MDKeenan2, or visit his blog: www.matthewkeenan.com.