Thursday, February 15, 2007

Digging Out

The Valentine's Day Blizzard of 2007 may well be the beginning of "The Legend of Daddy" that will live on in our kids lives for years. Facing a day off due to the blizzard, my husband knew that he'd be tackling the driveway at some point. He paced periodically in front of the window going head to head with Mother Nature, trying to outsmart her in predicting when it would be best to go out and begin the Great Snow Removal Efforts of 2007. He'd note the growing snowfall and whince realizing he'd have to wait a bit before going out so he'd only have to shovel once. She'd become complacent and the snow would go from near white out conditions to barely a flurry. He'd get all excited as his pace picked up on front of the window. He'd gather his forces and begin the efforts to get everyone in to snowpants, coats, scarves, hats and gloves only to look out the window and realize She'd done him in again and it was snowing even harder now. And so the morning went.

Finally, later in the morning they could stand it no longer, and Don and the boys headed out to shovel the drive. Looking out the window just 10 minutes later I realized that the boys were much more interested in walking through the deep snow that went from their knees to their waist, depending on the drift, and Don was left to conquer the driveway on his own. After an hour or so I called them in to warm up. Don had managed to get about half of the driveway done but still had to tackle the rest as well as the great wall of ice the snow plows had left us as a gift at the bottom of the drive. As they headed in the boys mentioned that they were impressed with Dad's efforts and that perhaps after lunch they'd help.

We ate in relative silence as they devoured their warm meal and contemplated the next foray in to the winter wonderland. After finishing their hot chocolate, and with grim determination, they bundled up less than an hour later and headed back out once again. Screams of joy wafted back at me as they spilled out of the garage in to sunshine, an unexpected gift. However, when I checked on them about an hour later, the driveway was not finished. What was finished were two forts, each several feet high and reinforced with much of the snow that had previously been on the driveway. Crouched down behind one were the boys, furiously making snowballs and lobbing them with all their might across the driveway towards the other snowfort. I can only imagine they hoped to catch Dad as he popped up to lob his own in their direction.

When I glanced over to Don's fort I noted that he had taken a much more leisurely approach. Nestled down in the bunker, he was staring at the sky, watching the clouds and enjoying the sun streaming through the branches of our favorite tree. Periodically he'd take a snowball and lob it over his head towards their fort. Quickly I got the boys attention and shared the situation with them. They crept back to their fort and began to stockpile snowballs on a sled. Five minutes later I saw them sneak across the driveway, sled in tow, where the positioned themselves as high up his fort as they could. Working as a team they began an all out assault. Poor Dad didn't even see it coming. However, he was prepared beyond our wildest dreams. Immediately he began rapid fire of his own stockpile and before long I had three snowcovered, happy, exhausted boys in for a quick warm up before tackling the last of the driveway.

Unknown to us, our neighbor had been watching the whole thing while clearing his own driveway with one of those miracles of modern science - the snowblower. While Don and the boys were in warming up, he managed a sneak attack of his own. I imagine he got some joy out of clearing away the immense snow plowed pile at the bottom of our drive, all the while mentally rehearsing the 'I can conquer you" speech we give ourselves when must undo the good work the plows have done. When the troops finally headed outside to finish the job they were greeted with a cleared path. So what did they do? They immediately dove in to their snow forts and had another round. Score one for Daddy!

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