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Snow vs. Leaves: The Tale of the Tape

Reader David Breth sent me an e-mail today regarding my column on the horrors of shoveling the driveway. He not only agreed with the whole premise, he went me one better and included this table, debating which is worse, raking leaves or getting rid of snow?

--- Bruce Andriatch


Description

Raking Leaves

Snow removal

Pain

Blisters, exhaustion, and sore muscles.

It's cold.  Penetrates the gloves through the metal handles of the snowblower.  Back-wrenching work hauling the old snowblower back and forth through ruts, fighting it at the end of the driveway, mental anxiety of stalls, etc.  Shoveling, when necessary, is a back-killer after a while

Frequency

Seems like it should be one-time chore, but it really happens two or three times.

Random.  Happens whenever snow is deep or depth exceeds my wife’s tolerance level.

Nagging

My wife does not nag me to rake leaves

My wife nags me to clear the driveway

Town Truck

Makes leaves go away

Shoves snow in my driveway

Impact from neighbors

Their leaves blow on my property, and I have to rake them.

None. 

Weather

Weather dependent – rain, severe wind prevent it.  A truly miserable experience in cold weather.  Allergies a consideration.

Weather dependent – if favorable, no chore.  If unfavorable, chore exists.  If unfavorable and persistent, chore is worsened.  Wind is always contrary, ready to blow snow in my face and behind my glasses. 

Urgency

Has to be done by a date certain, which is uncertain - prior to first snow, and prior to the last appearance of the leaf-removal truck.

Should be done prior to wifely requests in order to secure domestic harmony, and to enable use of driveway if snow is deep.  I have to shovel out an area for the dog in the back yard, or it creates a problem.  As season wears on, involves inadvertent shoveling of frozen canine pooplettes.

Family Fun

Dog and kids like to play in the leaves.  Once in a while wife will help rake.  We take pictures.

What family?  Are there other people in the house?  Any photos taken are from the warmth of the house, of a lonesome figure badly obscured by a blinding snowstorm or in a blinding rage with snow behind his glasses.

Variability

Wet leaves are more of a pain to deal with than dry leaves.  Dry dog poop is easier to accidentally rake than wet dog poop.

Wet, heavy snow = Snowblower can’t do it = I do it with shovel = Snow gets stuck in blade of shovel = Wife’s ill-timed suggestion that I borrow neighbor’s snowblower or I’m going to have a heart attack = Inappropriate response from me.  Conversely, light, puffy snow = Windy snow in my face.

Consequences of failure to do the job

Grass dies, thus preventing me from cutting lawn in the spring.  Oh dear.

Domestic reminders that it needs to be done.  Mailman won’t deliver mail.  Cars can’t get in or out of driveway.  Visitors get soaked walking up to the house and track snow in the house which would then be my fault.  Risk of me offering wife driving advice for getting in driveway at a time when she is not receptive to it.

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