• The Piquant Storyteller


Someone once said, “Life is what happens when you are making other plans.” It’s only in hindsight that we appreciate this truth. Most people want what they don’t currently have.

Time goes by like a daily punch card. Punch in … exist … punch out. Rinse, lather, repeat. We never seem to appreciate the simpleness of such ruts. These days are seen as just that. A rut that we must climb out of. Winds inevitably shift bringing new adventures we see as cacophony in an otherwise harmonious orchestra.

This is where I find myself. A thought is on constant repeat in my mind – I left Utah for a reason! Okay so maybe snow wasn’t the only reason my family and I left. Minimal snow also wasn’t the reason why we felt a magnetic pull to the Pacific Northwest all these years. Thankfully a new thought follows the complaint – this is the storm of the century! That is what I try to stay focused on. One day Seattle Snowmageddon will seem like a funny memory. It will be one of those stories people will think was over embellished. Only those who lived through it will know the crazy truth.

Each night we make plans for the following day. My kids don’t always like our plans for them, but they are willing to do what we ask. Yesterday the boys did clean their bathrooms like we asked them to. Somehow Gwen managed to escape her responsibilities. She promised to make up for it today. That was before she went from zero to very sick, complete with sudden laryngitis. She’s not being manipulative either. She truly went from normal Gwen to praying for death in a matter of minutes. Maybe the transformation was a little slower at her friend’s house and we just weren’t there to see it.

Last night we talked about ways we could enjoy another snow day stuck at home. Those plans changed early in the day again. Heath convinced Parker to help him shovel out front again. As if that chore didn’t already happen multiple times yesterday. At some point Heath walked around back and decided that we better do something about all the snow on the deck and gazebo. There was so much snow I was getting worried about it too. Poor Parker hadn’t even had breakfast yet. He is such a great helper and was out there until he couldn’t ignore his growling stomach any longer. By then I had been recruited to help.

It took a few hours to unearth our summer sanctuary. Heath and Parker did their best to knock snow off the gazebo. That was a tricky proposition since they could only reach one side. Heath remembered laughing at the snow load listed on the gazebo information. Why would we care how much snow it could hold? Why indeed?

We were both struck by the absurdity of the situation. We built that deck together and never would have imagined we would have to shovel it later. If it was a little bit of snow, we wouldn’t have worried. But we had over 15 inches of heavy snow blanketing the deck. That is a lot of snow to get waterlogged with rain.

It was easy at first. I learned to scoop off the top and work my way down to the boards. After a while, the snowflakes falling became raindrops. The snow was harder and harder to shovel as it sucked up the moisture like a sponge. The funniest part was where to put all the snow. I never would have guessed the gap between the fence and deck would fill with snow displaced from the deck. The snow is almost deck height on the side we have plans to add a step down to more deck. If the snow ever stops, we will build that part this spring. Any snow we didn’t push into the gap was tossed over the fence. Don’t worry, it’s a native growth area. It wasn’t like we were dumping on our neighbors. When the rain made things more difficult, Parker would pick up child sized snow blocks and heave them over the fence too.

Parker and I would take turns shoveling since we only have one shovel. We wished we had two, but I also remember the winter we bought the shovel as a joke. We were sick of the on again off again snowfall in 2016 and bought a shovel thinking that would make the snow stop. Which kind of worked that year. We have been grateful for the shovel ever since. I never thought I would ever have to shovel off my outdoor dining table. The snow was so waterlogged by then, shoveling was the only way to get it off.

Heath did what he could to clear off the gazebo and then he needed to get back to work. He was late for a call as it was. His coworkers were understanding as he told them how he spent his morning. After the call, he pulled out his kayak paddle to use for the first time. Its maiden voyage was to knock off icicles and not to paddle a kayak. Another unpredictability of life.

Gavin helped me finish up. My muscles are sore. I struggle to believe this day was real and not some weird dream. One day I plan on looking back at the year of the snowpocalypse and just laugh. You can’t make this stuff up. In the meantime, I am letting my kids play video games for hours. Anything they want to do to enjoy this “quarantine” is fine with me. After all, this is their summer vacation. Snow day #5 starts tomorrow.

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