Parent Pathways

Parent Pathways: Quick, get me a pickaxe

February 24, 2014 

As I get older, I’m compiling a list of chores that are definitely worth paying someone to do. So far I’ve got scrubbing showers, mulching and painting.

And, now, snow-shoveling.

We were just a day or two into the second snow of the season (which better be the last), and the hub was headed off to work to shovel the driveway to the business he owns. He’d also shoveled my mom’s drive the day before and, frankly, I think he was disgusted that we were lounging about for another day.

He ordered our 10-year-old son to start shoveling the steps and drive. It didn’t take long before I felt sorry for the boy and went out to help. He was actually doing a decent job, but, then again, he had the metal shovel which broke up the ice.

I had the plastic snow shovel, which, I quickly discovered, was useless. I started to get mad about that stupid shovel, and so I turned it on its side and began using it like a sledgehammer. It worked about half the time, and each time I broke up a hunk of ice, I felt a little thrill as well as a throbbing pain in both wrists.

After several blows, bits of the shovel began chipping off and flying into the yard. What I needed was the pickaxe. We’d bought one last fall when the hub was building a stone patio, yet another thing I would add to my list, only I hadn’t worked on it because everything was too heavy and too hard.

I texted the hub: “Where is the pickaxe?”

Immediate response: “Why?”

“I want to use it to break up this ice. PS: We need a new snow shovel.”

Him: “Don’t do that! It will damage the concrete.”

Two seconds later, him again: “Just stop. You guys have done enough.”

I wasn’t stopping. He started it. This job was going to get done one way or another.

I was mad at the ice, that’s the best way I can put it.

If I couldn’t find the pickaxe (clearly he’d hidden it), what else would work?

Hot water. I filled up the watering can with scalding water and “watered” the driveway while my son followed and broke up the ice with his metal shovel. It worked, but it looked ridiculous.

A few minutes later, one of my neighbor’s sons, in his teens, came over and asked if I was having trouble. Was it that obvious? He said he and his friend had shoveled driveways the past two days and had made some great money.

I was certain I had three 20s in my wallet, and I would give those boys one and be done with it. Really, wasn’t that the smartest thing?

Speaking of smart things, can we all agree that Olympic curling is by far the smartest choice if you’re determined to be an Olympian?

I finally watched this the other day. How is this even on par with the other death-defying events in the Olympics? Every time I watch the Super G, I hold my breath, terrified one of those alpine skiers will fall going 100 mph and die right there on television.

With curling, you need what looks like a Roomba with a handle, a few chimney sweep brushes, a swath of ice and a persuasive demeanor to murmur and whisper sweet nothings to the Roomba as it glides down its path. It helps if your teammates yell “Sweep!” “Sweep!” while they’re browsing their iPhones.

Even though I’m poking fun, I’m kind of in love with curling.

I wish there was a curling equivalent to snow-shoveling, mulching and scrubbing showers.

I’m going to keep looking.

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