Diary of A Snow Shoveler

We’ve all read this before – this one is taken from a print copy I’ve had in the drawer since the pre-computer days – but there are certain times of the year when it has just a little more kick. Enjoy!!

Diary of a snow shoveler….

December 8: 6:00 PM. It started to snow. The first snow of the season and the wife and I took our cocktails and sat for hours by the window watching the huge soft flakes drift down from heaven. It looked like a Grandma Moses Print. So romantic we felt like newlyweds again. I love snow!

December 9: We woke to a beautiful blanket of crystal white snow covering every inch of the landscape. What a fantastic sight! Can there be a more lovely place in the Whole World? Moving here was the best idea I’ve ever had. Shoveled for the first time in years, felt like a boy again. I did both our driveway and the sidewalks. This afternoon the snowplow came along and covered up the sidewalks and closed in the driveway, so I got to shovel again. What a perfect life.

December 12: The sun has melted all our lovely snow. Such a disappointment. My neighbour tells me not to worry, we’ll definitely have a White Christmas. No snow on Christmas would be awful! Bob says we’ll have so much snow by the end of winter, that I’ll never want to see snow again. I don’t think that’s possible. Bob is such a nice man, I’m glad he’s our neighbour.

December 14: Snow, lovely snow! 8″ last night. The temperature dropped to -20. The cold makes everything sparkle so. The wind took my breath away, but I warmed up by shoveling the driveway and sidewalks. This is the life! The snowplow came back this afternoon and buried everything again. I didn’t realize I would have to do quite this much shoveling, but I’ll certainly get back in shape this way. I wish I wouldn’t huff and puff so.

December 15: 20 inches forecast. Sold my van and bought a 4×4 Blazer. Bought snow tires for the wife’s car and two extra shovels. Stocked the freezer. The wife wants a wood stove in case the electricity goes out. I think that’s silly. We aren’t in Alaska, after all.

December 16: Ice storm this morning. Fell on my ass on the ice in the driveway putting down salt. Hurt like hell. The wife laughed for an hour, which I think was very cruel.

December 17: Still way below freezing. Roads are too icy to go anywhere. Electricity was off for five hours. I had to pile the blankets on to stay warm. Nothing to do but stare at the wife and try not to irritate her. Guess I should’ve bought a wood stove, but won’t admit it to her. God I hate it when she’s right. I can’t believe I’m freezing to death in my own living room.

December 20: Electricity’s back on, but had another 14″ of the damn stuff last night. More shoveling. Took all day. Goddamn snowplow came by twice. Tried to find a neighbour kid to shovel, but they said they’re too busy playing hockey. I think they’re lying. Called the only hardware store around to see about buying a snow blower, and they’re out. Might have another shipment in March. I think they’re lying. Bob says I have to shovel or the city will have it done and bill me. I think he’s lying.

December 22: Bob was right about a White Christmas, because 13 more inches of the white shit fell today, and it’s so cold it probably won’t melt ’til August. Took me 45 minutes to get all dressed up to go out to shovel, and then I had to pee. By the time I got undressed, peed and dressed again, I was too tired to shovel! Tried to hire Bob, who has a plow on his truck, for the rest of the winter; but he says he’s too busy. I think the asshole is lying.

December 23: Only 2″ of snow today, and it warmed up to “0”. The wife wanted me to decorate the front of the house this morning. What, is she nuts!!! Why didn’t she tell me to do that a month ago? She says she did, but I think she’s lying.

December 24: 6″. Snow packed so hard by snowplow, I broke the shovel. Thought I was having a heart attack. If I ever catch the son-of-a-bitch who drives that snowplow, I’ll drag him through the snow by his balls and beat him to death with my broken shovel. I know he hides around the corner and waits for me to finish shoveling and then he comes down the street at a hundred miles an hour and throws snow all over everywhere I’ve just been! Tonight the wife wanted me to sing Christmas carols with her and open our presents, but I was too busy watching for the damn snowplow.

December 25: Merry Fucking Christmas. 20 more inches of the fucking slop tonight. Snowed in. The idea of shoveling makes my blood boil. God, I hate the snow! Then the snowplow driver came by asking for a donation and I hit him over the head with my shovel. The wife says I have a bad attitude. I think she’s a frigging idiot. If I have to watch “It’s a Wonderful Life” one more time, I’m going to stuff her into the microwave.

December 26: Still snowed in. Why the hell did I ever move here? It was all HER idea. She’s really getting on my nerves.

December 27: Temperature dropped to-30, and the pipes froze. Plumber came after 14 hours of waiting for him; he only charged me $1,400 to replace all my pipes.

December 28: Warmed up to above -20. Still snowed in. The BITCH is driving me crazy!!!!!

December 29: 10 more inches. Bob says I have to shovel the roof or it could cave in. That’s the silliest thing I ever heard. How dumb does he think I am?

December 30: Roof caved in. I beat up the snow plow driver. He is now suing me for a million dollars; not only for the beating I gave him, but also for trying to shove the broken snow shovel up his ass. The wife went home to her mother. 9″ predicted.

December 31: I set fire to what’s left of the house. No more shoveling.

January 8: Feel so good. I just love those little white pills they keep giving me. Why am I tied to the bed?

My Final Words For My Beloved Paul

My beloved husband, friend, and rock, passed away suddenly last Monday. We planned a tribute for him that we hoped would reach out and touch every single person in attendance. I think we did it. In fact, many have asked me for my speech. So I have posted it here. Feel free to quote, copy, link, and reflect.

 

Welcome to all and thank you for coming to share this day with us.

First of all, I would like to take a moment to thank all of you for the most incredible tidal wave of support, love, and compassion this past week. Your posts, cards, gifts, hugs, and tears have given us so much strength. We have been able to get through this very public tragedy, with dignity and peace, only because all of Paul’s friends, students and family have taken the love they have for him, and showered it all over us.

Our strength has allowed us to focus on you. We have had the privilege of sharing so much with you and are actually enjoying this Christmas season in the hustle and bustle of being with you. I’m sure that sounds backwards. But I’m also sure that the reality hasn’t hit us yet.

There will be time for that later.  – Sooner -than later. And we will take the time to work through our grief, knowing that we have the love and support we need.

In the meantime, we tried to make all of this, about ALL OF US. We ALL lost a great man this week.

I have had the remarkable experience over the past two days to meet so many of you.

You came out in the rain, and the cold, and the traffic. Many of you waited in line for up to two hours to speak with me. And every one of you shared your feelings and stories about Paul with me.

I, too, was able to share many anecdotes and memories with you. I was able to offer some support, and I tried to share some memory that I had either of, or about, every one of you.

I went into what I expected to be two long, grueling days of socializing on Paul’s behalf, only to find that I ended up spending countless hours, more connected to the world around me, than I have ever felt in my life.

It is now obvious to me how Paul was able to be in that constant state of enthusiastic energy. He caught it from all of you!

I have sat in my thoughts all week, trying to figure out what to say here. How could I ever possibly begin to share with you a man’s entire life in just a few minutes?

How could I possibly tell you the stories, the loving, the caring, the funny, the memorable?

How on earth was I going to write something EPIC in four days?

But as you all shared your stories with me, I began to realize, that I didn’t have to do that. You ALL already know Paul. I don’t have to tell any of you about him.

The husband that you imagine him to be, was better.

The father that you thought he was, didn’t come close to the dad he actually is.

But there is a message that I would like to leave you – the biggest thing that Paul taught me.

There is something oddly unbelievable when I think that something so incredibly small could take down someone so great. Something we saw no risk of, couldn’t see coming, and had no way of stopping, caused all of this.

And we’re left with so many questions.

There’s that gigantic two-letter word, “IF.”
What if I had…
If only I had told him…
If only…

I have learned to take the past tense of IF out of my life. Paul taught us to only use IF in the future. “If I do this, then that will happen.”

We never think, back, “what if.”

That gets easy to do when you live every day “AS IF” it were actually the last.

Our family, our kids, are so lucky to be here today, with no regrets.

Not one.

Yes, there were hard spots, and harsh words, and sore feelings. Yes, there was a time there for Paul and I, when the going got so tough, we weren’t sure we would make it through together. But THAT’S LIFE.

If it was all good times, well, that’d be like having ice cream for supper every day.

It’s how – not whether – you come through the hard times that determines the happiness. And we always came through the hard times together. We never gave up on each other. And through that commitment to each other, the love was understood. It was obvious. To us and to everyone around us.

In the beginning, I used to ask him if he loved me. He would laugh and simply say, “I’m still here, aren’t I?”

When we hit the hard times, and he was still there, still hanging in, still trying, every moment simply screamed, I LOVE YOU.

They’re not words. They’re actions.

Words will leave uncertainty.

Actions leave no doubt.

And getting through our new normal will be an awful lot easier without the burden of “What if’s” and “If only’s” on our shoulders.

There is also a lesson that you have all learned from him. Something you might not have realized or understood yet.

Many of you used that phrase, that – regret – that it’s too bad it takes something like this to get us all together.

I heard that so many times that I began to understand the problem.

We think we have to bend over backwards trying to arrange dinners and parties and get-togethers. We think we have to juggle everything to squeeze in what will surely be a two-hour phone call. We wonder if it’s okay to send a shout out to someone we haven’t seen in years, just because we’re thinking about them. Will they remember me? Will they want to hear from me? Should I say hi to that person I see over there who said a kind word to me five – ten  – twenty years ago in highschool?

Paul would.

Every one of you is here, not because I managed to finally get you over for a visit, or was able to squeeze in a coffee with you, but because you were given just a few hours, minutes, – a moment – of Paul’s time, attention, and love.

A moment.

We don’t have to change our busy crazy lives for each other.

We just have to slow down. Notice each other. And reach out.

According to Paul, it’s that simple.

It’s that simple to create a life that leaves not a single regret.

There will be time to share the stories. You will recognize me at the grocery store. And knowing that I’m really bad with faces and don’t recognize you, you’ll introduce yourself, and we’ll talk as Paul would have done. You will recognize each other, and reach out as he would have done. And he will live on.

His students… You will remember him. You will continue to learn from his example:
Do him proud.
Stay in school.
Stay out of trouble.
Follow your dreams.
He’ll be watching.

Don’t just let life happen to you.
Make. Life. Happen.

Just like Paul would.

Out of tradition, or habit, or reflex, we all say, “Rest in Peace.”

I don’t think that applies to Mr. Brown.

There WILL  be peace for him.
He was MADE of peace.

But there will be no rest.

And there will be no rest for anyone else where he is. He will already have them smiling and energized to do something amazing.

Think about it. The world was supposed end yesterday.

I was afraid it would. Paul laughed at me.

“You’re crazy,” he said. “Not if I have anything to do with it.” And he hugged me.

I’ll close with this.

Ben shared something with me just a few weeks ago.

He said, “Everyone dies twice. Once when they pass on. And the second and final time, when someone speaks his name for the last time.”

Looking out at all of you, Paul Brown is going to be around for a long, long time.