Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Snow, and Our Neighborhood Sports

Today’s coffee: New Year’s Blend

There was finally a break in the snow storm, so I ventured out of my cozy nest. I hadn’t been outside in three days, since Christmas morning, when we went out for breakfast at our usual Monday breakfast spot. The blizzard started that afternoon; I don’t think we had wind like that even during typhoons over the summer. Our trash can blew several blocks away (even when filled with pickle-weights) and somehow the lid of one of our compost bins unscrewed itself, blew away, and went missing. On the bright side, the tile on our chimney that looked like it was ready to fall has also disappeared. No more worries about having a tile fall on my head while walking around in the garden.

Although we have plenty of leftovers to eat, we ran out of milk, and our stocks of coffee and mikan (mandarin oranges) were dangerously low, so I headed out to the store. (The important things, you know.) Also, the compost pail was full.

But first, the snow had to be dealt with. It had drifted up in front of the door.

I took these pictures back in November... but it looks about the same now (except more snow)
Walking on unplowed sidewalk...
When it's blowing really hard, snow gets stuck to the windows. Definitely don't want to go outside when it looks like this.
Our neighborhood has two sports in which everyone participates, like it or not. One is snow shovelling. Recently there was a “snow shoveling for exercise” class advertised in the neighborhood news. I am not making this up.

I seriously don’t know how my neighbors live with their boredom over the summer when there’s no snow to shovel. At first snowfall, everyone is out there with their shovels, moving the dusting of snow into tidy piles. Then, on warm days, they dump the snow back into the street so that it melts faster and break up chunks of ice with pickaxes.

We are not quite as diligent about snow clearing as our neighbors, so they worry about us; we often open the front door and discover that the front walk has already been cleared by a friendly neighbor who got bored after they were done clearing their own snow.

The other neighborhood sport, of course, is complaining about snow shovelling. Even though our neighbors are bright-eyed and smiling as they clear snow, they are just as energetic in their complaints. For example:

Neighbor A: There’s so much snow this year!
Neighbor B: I’ve lived here all my life, but I’ve never gotten used to it.
Neighbor A: I shovelled snow two hours this morning! Living in Ishikari is hard, isn’t it?
Neighbor B: Isn’t it? But there was so much more snow when I was a child…

And on and on it goes, multiplied by the number of people you meet in a given day.

In our neighborhood, we put out different types of trash for collection several days a week, but in the winter, you can also request that a truck come and take away your snow once a week. This is really helpful, since the snow plow dumps all the snow from the road right in front of our house, and then we have to move it somewhere if we want to get the car out. Today was snow-removal day, which means we have to pile up all the snow one shovel’s width out from the garden wall. Then, a snowblower truck blows our snow pile into a truck in the space of about 30 seconds, and then off it goes to the snow dump.

Now I’m done drinking my coffee, so I’ll head home and see if there’s any more snow to clear off the front walk, or any neighbors to commiserate with.

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