So. That white stuff is falling out of the sky again (that-which-must-not-be-named). Our clan hasn’t had to contend with it since we left the Tug Hill area of central NY almost 2 years ago.
Now we have nearly 4 feet of it on the ground here. And our situation here in PA is much different, I’m realizing, than it was in NY. Clearly there are no plows here to properly clear the roads. So general clean up is a little slower, and that is to be expected. But more strikingly different is the actual space in which we live. When we lived in CNY, we had a great big house on a fairly busy residential road that fed into a small village. There were maybe 10 houses on our side of the street, and while sometimes they seemed to be cozily-spaced, especially when I could hear my beloved neighbors hollering (often about painting small Warhammer men or planning a trip to Puerto Rico to get the hell out of Oswego County for the winter) we generally had a lot of space. A lot. So there was never any problem with finding places to PUT the white stuff. Plenty of space to scoop, launch, and pile the snow (or aim the snow blower, more on that later).
Here in York, we live in town. Our street has both duplexes (or “attached homes”) and singles. There are no driveways. Most people park on the street, but some people park off of the narrow alley that runs behind the houses, where some of us have garages and some of us have parking pads. There are benefits to living in town, of course. We have a great pizza joint as well as a bagel shop about 4 blocks away, and I can walk onto campus in about 3 minutes.
But with the white stuff all over, I’m feeling very squeezed about space. For example: we went out back to dig the cars out of our parking (we do not like parking on the street — drunk college students have the tendency to hit parked cars on our street; we know this from experience). We had to be careful not to throw the snow into either of our neighbors’ yards or into any space they might want to shovel clear themselves, which left very few convenient places to throw the snow. We ended up hauling it across the alley, which made digging out about twice as long as it would have if we just could have flung it over our shoulders. And now that we are properly dug out, we still cannot actually go anywhere because the alley has not been plowed, and it may not be plowed for a while, since our neighbor who lives at the mouth of the alley (it dead ends at the other end, only one way in/out) managed to get his Suburban stuck crosswise so that no one — us or the plow truck — could get past.
The front of the house has similar problems. We are required by ordinance to shovel a three-feet-wide path on the sidewalk in front of our house. We are prohibited by law from shoveling snow into the street. There is about a foot of space between the sidewalk and the street. Our front yard is a severely sloping hill bisected by steps leading up to the porch. To throw the snow into the front yard is to 1) watch it slide back down into the sidewalk or 2) throw it with such force as to make it all the way to the top of the hill, which with 4 feet of accumulation makes this task impossible. All the houses on our side of the street face similar challenges. Our neighbor to the east has a snow blower, but he struggles to maneuver it because there’s no space. Plus, while the power of the blower is a clear benefit for quick removal, when there is no where to remove it TO, the advantage quickly diminishes.
I would actually prefer 300+ inches a year, as long as I have the space to set aside the white stuff. Here, I feel positively claustrophobic about it. Here’s hoping for a quick melt.