everyone was hunkered down at home this tuesday morning, to wait out the snowstorm that was engulfing the area for the next 24 hours. i however didn't have that luxury, as i was tasked with shoveling both the area around the cafe and my parents' place. as for my own place, i was hoping my upstairs neighbors would take over that duty. my original plan was to wait around noontime or the early afternoon, when the accumulation was thick enough to shovel. but i was afraid of getting stuck so i decided to leave for the cafe in the morning and wait there instead. if i did end up getting stuck, at least i was in place where i could be most useful. i left the house by 10:30am.

the 1.2 miles drive to the cafe wasn't too bad. there was hardly any cars on the street, nor many pedestrians on the sidewalks. when i arrived at the cafe parking lot, i found my sister there. while the cafe and many other businesses were closed today, the chinese restaurant was still opened. not only that, but employees who normally take public transportation decided to drive, so they took up 3 parking spots. unfortunately with so many parked cars, the hired plow truck couldn't clean the parking lot effectively, so my sister called the restaurant to get them to move their cars to the left side of the lot. the employees didn't think it was a big deal and it took us 4 attempts before they finally moved. my sister was also about to call the tow truck company, as renovation workers from across the street had parked in the lot as well. she ended finally getting ahold of the truck owner, who was probably minutes away from getting towed.

as there wasn't much snow yet, i stayed in the cafe and waited, watching the storm coverage on the various local channels. it was a quiet time, before there comes a point where i'd have to go outside and get my shoveling on. i watered the plants (including brushing the pepper flowers hoping to produce some peppers) then heated up a burrito in the microwave for lunch.

i wasn't planning on going out until 1pm, but by 12:30pm my sister called to say that a lot of neighbors were already shoveling. so i got into my gear and went outside. i went to my grand uncle's backyard to get the snowblower. it was only 1 stage, so if the snow is too high or too wet, it has trouble clearing it. the accumulation wasn't a problem, but it was definitely that wet heavy snow. plus, it was snowing the entire time, and by the time i finished an hour later (clearing my grand uncle's backyard, front sidewalk, restaurant sidewalk, business sidewalk around the cafe), i was soaking wet. my pants were soaked down to the underwear and the sleeves of my heavy columbia interchange jacket was also soaked (i didn't think that was possible, since the outershell is waterproof).

once i finished at the cafe, i left for belmont around 2pm to shovel the snow there. this was probably the scariest part of the day, as the snowfall was at it's heaviest and there was near white out condition. fortunately there was even less cars on the road, so i slowly inched my way to my parents' place traveling at 10-15mph.

when i arrived, i had to park outside initially, until i could clear out the driveway, which was not only covered in snow, but a tall pile of snow blocked the entry way due to the snowplow trucks. i prefer to shovel by hand, but this was wet and heavy snow, and since there was a 2 stage snowblower in the garage, it'd be easier to use that instead. however starting up the snowblower was a challenge. it took me nearly a dozen tries before i finally got the machine to start up without petering out. it took me about an hour before i finally got enough snow cleared to move the car into the driveway.

inside the house i took all my wet clothes and put it in the washer dryer, except for the jacket, which i put in front of the radiator to dry. the temperature in the house was set to only 50°F, and even after i raised it up to just 55°F, it would still take more than an hour to reach that temperature. luckily i had the foresight to bring a spare pair of underwear and a clean t-shirt. i founded a hooded sweatshirt which i wore around the house while waiting for my clothes to dry.

i wasn't going to go out again until probably close to 6pm, but my sister called around 4:30pm asking when i was coming back to the cafe. i decided to get a head start and began to get ready. my clothes were dry but my jacket was still wet, but there was no way around it. for this second round of shoveling, i didn't bother with the snowblower as it was now all slush since it was raining. i finished close to 5:30pm before driving to the cafe.

i used the 1 stage snowblower again. it was a real mess as now i was pushing slush. it wasn't as difficult as before when it was wet heavy snow, but the slush sprayed back a lot of water and i was even more soaked than before (it was also raining at that point). accumulation-wise, it wasn't the 8-12"+ that some meteorologists were forecasting, but i think that's because the final half came down as sleet and rain. the bad news was all this slush would freeze overnight and by tomorrow everything would be a frozen mess. i finally finished closed to 7pm. my sister called the restaurant to ask them to move their cars to the other side of the parking lot, so the snowplow truck can get to the part they weren't able to earlier.

my original plan was to drive my sister to alewife to pick up her car, then she could meet me back at my parents' place, where i'd leave the car and then she'd give me a ride back home. but there was still a little bit of snow later in the evening, and it'd be better if the parking lot can be kept clear for the trucks, so the new plan was for me to drive back to my parents' and stay there overnight.

i got back to belmont right when it started getting dark. like earlier, i took all my wet clothes and put them back in the dryer. for dinner i made some yangruo paomo and drink a can of grapefruit cider (it was actually pretty good, more sparkling wine than cider beer).

we didn't know if the plow trucks would return to do one final clean up of the parking lot. and as the slush would solidify overnight, whatever we didn't clear today would be frozen tomorrow and all but impossible to clean. so at 11:30pm my sister decided to shovel out the small batch of snow in the parking lot, at least clear out a space for the florist, who requested that we clean her spot on two occasions. i watched her from the cafe webcam working outside. just when she was almost done however, the truck showed up! so all that hard work for nothing. but she said she supervised and made sure the truck did a good job cleaning.