Thursday, January 29, 2009

The noise! Oh, the noise, noise, noise, noise!

There is something lovely about being in a very warm bed under a thick but light duvet in the dark on a winter morning listening to someone else's snowshovel scraping their driveway of the 25 cm of snow that fell. I actually don't mind being woken up by that sound. It reminds me that this is Ottawa. This is our experience. As neighbours we share it together. But I have the luxury of not having to do that before going to work because my work is right here in this house.

I was dreamily listening to that sound this morning when it was interrupted by the whine of a machine. It was a pretty loud machine and in my dozy fog I wondered why someone was running a chainsaw or a lawnmower at 6:00 in the morning. And it didn't stop. It continued to interrupt the sound of the shovels outside and, more importantly, my sleep.

It took me at least 3 minutes to realize that my neighbour, who recently bought a snowblower, thought it was okay to run it at 6:00 am.

Our street has been free of snowblowers until last week. It was an idyllic existence I now realize. Why do people think it's okay to run thouse things so early? They are helpful I'm sure but they are so downright annoying to the senses. I can see the need for them if you are quite old or at serious risk of a heart attack or if you have a crazy long driveway but if you live on my street, a street of attached houses and shared driveways, the last does not apply.

In too many cases, the snowblower is an exercise in laziness.

This year I've enjoyed shovelling the driveway. On a snowy day I go out there and do it several times and the kids play in the snow while I do it or help me with their little shovels. It's lovely. And would not be lovely at all with a snowblower.

And that is the end of my curmudgeonly rant of this morning. Time for porridge.


Julie said...

Don't you think the snowblower would come in handy when the pile of snow is too high to shovel onto? What I don't like aout snowblowers are when you have 20 feet of hard packed snow from the plow at the end of your street and you spend 2 hours shovelling it while your neighbour comes out and is done in 15 minutes. You'd think they might take pity? Nope. So much for meighbourly love.

That said, Marty has mentioned that he has actually like shovelling this year. It's the only exercise he gets.

Anonymous said...

As I was digging out our driveway -- old school, I might mention -- I did my best to shoot glances of disapproval at the snowblower man. When that failed, I began thinking very nasty thoughts about his loose-fitting jacket and the snowblower's whirling blades. When that, too, failed (damn you, safety guards), I began composing a letter of outrage and protest: "Dear Mr. Snowblower: You suck. Signed, Old Lady Across the Street." (I wanted to hide my identity, in case he chased me with his snowblower. Our girls need a father.) I think this letter will ensure two things: 1) it will NEVER happen again and; 2) the house with the old lady might be for sale soon.


Guy Who Lives Near the Old Lady and Who Takes Up Half (and then some) of Your Bed.

Karen said...

Julie: last year we were faced with a pile too high to shovel onto. Our solution was to make a second pile, beside it and partly on the driveway or put in on the road. A snowblower would only have flung it onto our neighbour's side anyway.

Yes, snowblower man across the street that "Anonymous" mentions has never done anyone else's driveway. Having said that, someone recently told me that on the other end of the street, a snowblower guy is doing everyone's driveways. Too bad we didn't by on that end I guess.

Erika said...

Are you eyeing old lady's property? Hmm! All this plotting!I have a better idea -- sabbatical in Tex-ass, where the snow don't fall! (C: Did you know they closed the schools here recently because we had 2-3 inches of snow? Then they did it again b/c it was 0 Farenheit (cold weather advisory) teehee!

Julie said...

OK, who is this Erika woman throwing her mild weather and silly school closings in our face! She should be band!! ;-)

Anonymous, you really should leave comments more often. You make me laugh.

julie said...


I am so with you on this in niagara people seem to be proud of their big shinny machines...and use snowblowers on 2 cms of snow....pure, pure laziness and pollution and ridiculousness....I too, quite enjoy shovelling; but I guess we have the time seeing as we are 'at home' but still...

Janonymous, I agree with 'Julie' above, you should write more often because each time you do, you make me laugh...

Karen, you have friends named Marty and Julie....that is cool... bet you think of us sometimes eh??

xxx take care

Sheryl said...

We only have leaf blowers here in TX, none of this snow stuff to deal with. Yuck.

And yes, he should be doing your drive way too, especially if he's going to be out that early.

I've got to put on a coat today, it's 51, burrrr.

Karen said...

Clearly I struck a cord with this post! Julie, Erika is Graeme's sister and so I consider her a SIL by marriage anyway :). She is well-versed in lots of snow but is doing her residency (is that what it's called?) in plastics in Illinois. Now you're officially introduced.

Julie E: yes, I always laugh that I ended up with friends up here named Marty and Julie. I didn't tell Julie L though that my original Marty and Julie were brother and sister. That might be a bit icky to her since she is married to her Marty. And of course I think of you... quite a bit actually.

And of course, I'm sure you all know that "anonymous" is not so "anonymous" around here... aka John.

Sheryl, you taunt us. So mean.

Shan said...

Looks like I missed the party here on this one. I agree John should comment more.. funny guy!

We have a fairly big driveway and our house is positioned in such a way (first driveway from the corner) that the snowplow pushes a huge mound into the end of it. Much larger than they get across the street. Luckily our neighbour with the snowblower does our driveway nearly every snowfall. And apologized about the one he missed because he was sick. My cousin is plowing snow this winter and he's been by a couple of times to clear us out. So we're pretty lucky, but then we live in Mr. Roger's neighbourhood.

Anyway Mike is on the look out for a used snowblower, which I made him promise he would use only for good and not evil. And here, we never hear snowblowers in the morning, it's strictly an evening or daytime thing. We're "rural", nobody's shoveling or blowing before they leave for work. It's too big of a job.