i woke up a little after 7am to get ready for a day of snow shoveling. though snow is silent, i did hear the occasion muffled "oompf" of snow avalanches falling from the roof, so at least i had some proof that snow was upon us without even looking. i didn't bother turning up the heat as it was still warm in the bathroom and i was going out soon anyway.
i began cleaning my own sidewalk and backyard around 7:30am and was finished 30 minutes later. if i had to guess, cambridge got around 8-10 inches of wet snow. it took a little more effort to clear but the good part was the snow was like wet clay and was easy to layer into a pile. i stopped occasionally to take a breath, cursing my upstairs neighbors the whole time for them not coming out to help (though granted it was still early and snow was still falling but more of a flurry by that point). about 8:30am i saw my mother in the living room webcam and gave her a call. she told me she gave my 2nd aunt the day off because there was too much snow and that my father was coming directly to pick me up. i poured some hot tea into my travel mug and ate a twinkie.
my father finally arrived by 8:40am as we made our way to the cafe. a lot of people were digging out, while pedestrians walked in the streets since many sidewalks weren't cleared out yet. the trees were covered in snow but the temperature was above freezing so everything was melting and landing with heavy clumps onto the car as we drove by. despite police putting out notice to get people to clean their cars, we still saw many vehicles driving with snow on the roof.
by that point foot traffic had already trampled the sidewalk snow so it was all compacted. my father worked the single stage snowblower while i manned the shovel. due to the compaction, i ended up having to clear a pathway on the sidewalk before my father could clean it up with the machine. i worked up enough sweat that i ended up taking off my jacket because i was getting too hot, a sign of a good snow shoveling workout. my sister only showed up after my father and i had converged at the parking lot.
by that point (10:15am) we were mostly finished. after putting away the machine, we gave my sister a ride to alewife so she could retrieve her car which she had parked there overnight.
we discovered last night that the reason we weren't able to start the two stage snowplow stashed in the garage was as simple as an empty fuel tank. bringing back a container of gasoline from the cafe, my father filled the tank and finally managed to start up the machine. by that point we had already shoveled half the driveway by hand. nevertheless, he used the snowplow to wide the sidewalks and driveway entrance as well as creating an access in the snowbank for the mailman. while he was doing that i fought my way into the backyard. belmont seemed to have gotten a bit more snow than cambridge, the snow almost coming up to the top of my rubber boots. the wet snow had toppled our bamboo groves; after my father was done with the snowplow, we shook the snow off of the bamboos. i ended up getting covered in snow and soaking my jacket and jeans.
the last thing we had to do was clear the snow off of the solar panels. this was especially important since 1) the snow was too thick to melt quickly on its own, and 2) a hard freeze is expected overnight and whatever snow is left behind will turn to ice and stay that way for the rest of the week.
there was enough snow on the solar panels to create an avalanche effect when we hit the snow at the right spot. my father managed to create one on the left side of the house; the avalanche buried the basement staircase in snow and also knocked over and broke a porcelain pot. it was harder to create avalanches with the sunroom snow, since the angle wasn't nearly as steep. there was a mini avalanche but i prevented it from sliding down completely as i was afraid the force of the snowfall would knock over the ladder i was standing on. by the time we reached the right of the house we figured out a new technique: when there's a lot of snow on the panels, first knock it down by creating avalanches, but make sure to do it with an a-frame ladder instead of a leaning ladder to prevent the falling snow from knocking over the ladder. afterwards use the taller leaning ladder to clear whatever snow didn't slide down.
we were finally finished by noontime. the clouds had started to dissipate and the bright sun was blinding enhanced by all the snow reflection. unfortunately it didn't last long, and by the afternoon it started to cloud over again.
for lunch i had some sweet potato rice porridge with a quarter leftover blueberry muffin and some taiwanese pickled radish. in the afternoon my mother heated up some buffalo wings in the toaster oven. i found out luke perry passed away from the stroke he suffered a few days ago. even though i never watched beverly hills 90210, anyone who grew up in the 90's knew who dylan walsh was. he was just 52 years old. i'm sure it'll never be revealed, but i wonder if he had a family history of strokes or heart disease. we ordered a single large domino's pizza for dinner, ham + pineapple + sausages. my father gave me a ride back to cambridge afterwards. i took home two leftover slices of pizza and some lion's head meatballs.
i was happy to see that the sidewalk in front of the house was clear; that meant that my upstairs neighbors did come out afterwards to do some touchup shoveling (or maybe it all melted naturally from the above freezing temperature). sandy was home, chatting with kelvin in the kitchen. even after i finished using the bathroom and took a shower, she was still chatting, and continued when she returned to the living room, though it thankfully ended after a few noisy minutes.
i was watching the leaving neverland documentary about michael jackson, but turned it off because it was 4 hours long and i wasn't ready to spend all that time learning about a celebrity pedophile. i found out sandy knew nothing about jackson's various legal problems involving children, though she seemed to have vaguely heard something about it before. instead we watched the passage followed by the good doctor, both series airing their season finale next monday.
i asked sandy if she went out today to enjoy the snow. turns out she actually went to the office today. on the one day where i was sure she'd be working from home, she turned out doing the exact opposite. i even kept the heat on for her not realizing nobody in the house, even though when i periodically checked the router all her devices were still online. i don't think she was gone very long though, left late morning, returned by the afternoon.