She’s taking medical advice to heart, just a bit, as she plows only her back deck

·3 min read
Sherry Kuehl/Special to The Star

Well, it happened. It snowed and I didn’t shovel my driveway.

As alert readers may remember, last week I shared that a recent study from a consortium of cardiologists cautioned anyone over the age of 45 to beware of shoveling snow. I’m not going to go into the details but apparently the act of shoveling snow is an engraved invitation to say howdy to a heart attack.

Since I’m an avid fan of snow shoveling, this saddened and scared me. But I didn’t know how much it would affect my emotional well-being until we actually got some decent snow that cried out to be shoveled.

The snow that descended upon Kansas City in the middle of this month was what we in the snow shoveling community call pow-fresh. It was fluffy with just the right amount of moisture.

OK, I need to take a minute here and confess that truthfully, I’m not part of a snow shoveling community. I’m not even sure anything like that exists except for, you know, people who drive snowplows. But if there is a snow shoveling community, please note I would desperately like to be included. Facebook group whatever: Hit me up.

Also, I’m not really sure if the snowfall we had recently was technically pow-fresh. While it’s a term skiers use to describe really velvety snow, I don’t know if KC is on the pow spectrum. I mean, maybe you have to be at higher elevation, say at least 5,000 feet, to qualify for pow-fresh snow status.

Whatever. Let’s just say for the purpose of this story I’m going with pow-fresh and it’s most excellent for snow shoveling due to its light, almost airy nature. Once you grab your shovel (preferably one with an 18-inch blade) and get your scoop/toss motion going, it’s a beautiful winter dance. A dance that, thanks to a heart health article, I took a hard pass on.

My yearning to shovel snow was so acute that as I walked my dogs I would gaze wistfully at people shoveling their driveways. Hearing the scraping of the shovel as it hit concrete was like the siren song of a lost love.

Meanwhile my driveway was a snowy mess. Not that it mattered because our cars could still easily get out, but still I missed the perfection of a well shoveled driveway. There’s just something about the artistry of snow removal that profoundly speaks to me.

I also feared that people were judging us because our driveway was “untouched by shovel.” Winter driveway maintenance makes the top 10 in the suburban checklist of “things you will be judged on.” Certainly, it’s not as high up on the list as a lawn where the grass exceeds 4 inches or neighbors who put their trash cans out before 6 p.m. on trash pickup eve, but still it’s a judgment trigger.

When I shared my sorrow and concerns with my husband, he was unmoved by my plight. Rolling his eyes, he stated that in two days the high would be in the 50s so “problem solved.”

He wasn’t wrong but still I was sad. So, I decided in the name of mental health I would shovel just a little bit and only our back deck so our dogs wouldn’t track in so much snow. I also popped two aspirin as a precautionary measure. You know, just in case that heart study wasn’t exaggerating.

Ah, the feel of a shovel in my gloved hands was glorious. I was back in the pow-fresh of it all.

Reach Sherry Kuehl at snarkyinthesuburbs@gmail.com, on Facebook at Snarky in the Suburbs, on Twitter at @snarkynsuburbs on Instagram @snarky.in.the.suburbs, and snarkyinthesuburbs.com.

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