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With the roads in our part of the world still nigh unto impassable, we spent the day at home yesterday. Our major accomplishment: shoveling the walk and driveway. She Who Must Be Obeyed wisely reasoned that it needed to be done while temperatures were relatively high, i.e., just about at the freezing mark… because once the mercury dipped down into the low 20s at night, the heavy, ice-crusted snow would become like concrete.
It’s good aerobic exercise, shoveling snow. Enough so that heart attack deaths among men aged 35-49 triple during shoveling season. (Take an out-of-shape middle-aged guy, cold winter air, and a whole lot of heavy lifting and throwing, and you’ve got the makings of a Hearty Infarct.) But SWMBO and I know how to pace ourselves.
Scraping a driveway is an unusual activity around here: It’s been years since we’ve needed to do it at all. Generally, snowstorms here leave an inch or so of accumulation that melts away fairly quickly. This time, no. Plenty of snow with a nice thick ice-crust on top, with cold temperatures and cloudy skies that keep things from melting. Kind of like being up North with none of the public snow-removal amenities. But I got into the rhythm of it. Scrape, lift, throw. Scrape, lift, throw. The snow was heavy, and each shovelful required cracking through a quarter-inch of crusty ice to get to the dense, creamy filling beneath.
Our lightweight aluminum shovel helped make easy work of it. I recalled the ancient snow shovel we used to have back in the Northern wastes, the one I would use to clear our sidewalks back in my Snot-Nose Days. That one was made of steel, with a heavy, smooth wood handle – difficult to grasp and brutal to lift even without a load of snow in the scoop. We called it the Iron Monster. I wonder that any of us survived the winters, using that massive bastard.
Later, after a movie-watching interlude with our friends Gary and JoAnn – they had hiked over from their neighborhood on the other side of Roswell Road – it was time to make dinner. With most of our Serious Proteins frozen solid, I settled on a pasta dish: a Giada di Laurentiis recipe that involved a metric buttload of sliced shallots, all caramelized gently with a bit of garlic.
[The Mistress of Sarcasm (our younger daughter) calls it di Laurentiis “Giadasaurus Rex” on account of her freakishly small forearms and hands. (Think Kristen Wiig’s character Eunice on SNL.) Is that wrong?]
I substituted whole-wheat orecchiette for Giada’s spaghetti and ended up with a fine Comfort Food Dinner, perfect for a snowy winter day. We shoveled it into our eagerly waiting faces… and then we slept, visions of shovels and snow dancing in our heads.
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