09 February 2017


Not a snow ninja. It's my wife.
(This is not a well-deserved homage to Sen. Elizabeth Warren for the stance she took during the recent confirmation hearings for yet another controversial member of President Trump's cabinet, so read on without anger, if that's what you were expecting)

Seemingly out of nowhere, Mother Nature tossed a fast one called Winter Storm Niko at the residents of New England today. Starting at about 6:00 this morning, it started to snow and it didn't stop at all in this part of Martha Stewart's fiefdom until 3:00 this afternoon. While not quite as much snow as we got four years ago to the day in a similar Nor'easter, the 14 inches or so that fell on our 'hood was more than enough.

As the snow continued to pile up through the day, the stunningly patient and mighty fine SML and I plotted our shoveling strategy. I normally don't like to wait until a storm is over to shovel. I typically divide it into thirds - hit it as it starts, then again about midway through and then a third time to clean up the wreckage. Why take such an approach? Because in my mind, it A) lessens the workload in the end and B) snowstorm-related OCD. It's more likely the latter. Today, though, there were two things working against the usual plan. One was the pace at which the snow was falling and two, my back is still not 100% recovered from the unfortunate stair incident that we don't like to discuss. So we decided to tackle it once the snowfall had subsided.

As my last conference call of the day ended, I dashed upstairs to throw on some snow gear. By dashed I mean approached both the ascent and descent on the stairs as if I were a frail 90 year old woman addled with advanced osteoporosis. Ever since my fall, that is the exact way I approach our stairs (or any set of stairs for that matter). Don't be jealous. It was at that point that I discovered my wife had already shoveled through about 1/3 of our driveway and was working furiously on what remained.

I wish that this surprised me but you see, this is how my wife rolls. As I got outside, shovel in hand, she looked up (at least I think she was looking at me since it was hard to tell what she was looking at  in her snow ninja outfit) from her snow-laden shovel and the following conversation went down:

SNOW NINJA: "What are you doing?"
ME: "I'm gonna shovel."
SNOW NINJA: "No, you're not. I don't need you aggravating your back. You're not even fully healed yet."
ME: "Yes, I am. I'm going to shovel."
SNOW NINJA: "No, you're not. Go get a broom and sweep off the front porch. I can do this.
ME: No, I'm going to shovel."
SNOW NINJA: "You're going to hurt yourself."
ME: I mumble something unintelligible so she can't hear it in her one good ear. Because I am a grown man. I then start shoveling.

About ten minutes in, I had my first delightful back spasm. She of course saw me flinch and wince and just looked at me. I was still determined to keep shoveling. I slipped a couple of times without falling and each time, even though her back was to me, she would tell me, 'I told you that you'd fall. You're only going to hurt yourself more.' Seriously, how does she this? I now know why our children were convinced she had eyes in the back of her head. My contributions at this point were borderline pathetic and that's when our neighbors came over, shovels in hand, to help finish the job. We, scratch that, I am clearly the 'old man' neighbor now.

They were there to help me, not the stunningly patient and mighty fine SML. She holds her own in any given situation. She puts her mind to something and she gets it done. She is persistent in a way that can take you by surprise. She certainly persisted with me today. I'm grateful for that. I'm grateful for her persistence with our children as she carried so much of that responsibility. They are who they are because of her. Our daughters are women who are not afraid to be persistent in their own right because of the example of their mother. I'm grateful for her persistence with me. I get that I am her biggest project (see my insistence to do something that would clearly hurt me earlier today as proof there is work yet to be done).

Persist away, SML, persist away. I'm a better man because of it.

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