Between A Blog And A Hard Place – Part II

When last we left, I was trying to decide what direction I’d be taking this blog in. That was, until I went off about shoveling snow. It’s still snowing, by the way, it’s quite ridiculous how much has been coming down lately.

Anyway, getting back to my brainstorming session on blog usage, I asked myself a few questions to try and get some idea as to what I’d be writing about. I have a few more to consider, one would be: who am I? Obviously, I’m someone who enjoys writing. A lot. It’s one of my many creative outlets and one that has become more prominent lately. I think it’s due mostly to the fact that I haven’t been doing much of it in recent years and I have some future writing projects in mind so I figured this blog would be good practice. It forces me to think about creating a finished product and not just outlines and plot summaries like I’ve been doing lately. These blog posts are very much like essays and writing them gives me an opportunity to start flexing my writing muscles and getting back into form. Committing myself to this project gives me motivation to take responsibility for something and see it through.

In the previous part of this post I asked myself why I write. I explored the reasons behind it but thought of a few more things recently. In a way, writing requires a certain amount of conceit, it’s a little presumptuous to assume there are people out there interested in what I’m thinking. While I don’t think anyone’s out there losing sleep waiting for my next post, I do think there is some interest and it’s reassuring for me to know there’s an audience. Writing is also a way for me to organize my thoughts, it’s therapeutic for me. I put my thoughts out there and feel a sense of satisfaction knowing that others can involve themselves to some extent by reading what I have to say. It’s mutually beneficial: I entertain others and fulfill a need that I have at the same time.

In the last post I did also ask myself what I’d be writing about but didn’t really get specific. So another question to ask myself could be: what are my main subjects of interest? Mostly, they’re hockey, computers/technology, music (listening to it and playing instruments) First Nations culture/art, and probably most of all, complaining. I really enjoy that last one, in fact this could very well become a Festivus with, not just an annual, but weekly or daily airing of grievances.

Given that I have a lot of different things to write about, I need to consider how I’m going to organize everything. There are two solutions I can think of right off the bat: either create separate blogs for separate subjects, or keep everything in this blog and just include tags for posts with similar subjects. I’ve noticed that Tumblr allows for multiple blogs for one user. I could, conceivably, create a separate blog for each major subject: one for hockey, one for computer/tech issues, this one for miscellaneous rambling, etc. Then the problem would be trying to maintain all of them, I have things to say about each but I don’t know if I have enough material to warrant an entire blog for every one of them. Keeping everything here and just attaching different tags for each post might be easier for me as it would allow me time to keep this blog continually updated.

A final question (I do ask myself a lot of questions, don’t I?): how often will I make new posts? It will definitely be an on-going project. Originally I thought I’d be posting frequently to start with, everyday perhaps, but taking a closer look at my schedule I started to rethink that. With starting my own business, having multiple Facebook and Twitter accounts to manage, reading in my leisure time and watching hockey, I don’t really have as much free time to write as I originally anticipated. I imagine I’ll be posting once or twice a week, more if time allows. That post about shoveling snow was somewhat spontaneous and ended up being much longer than I thought it would be, and while it was fun writing it, it did take up a fair amount of my time. I’ve been wanting to finish this post for more than a week now and every time I thought about tackling it, something else would come up and I would get sidetracked.

At this point in time, with everything that I have going on in my life, I’ll probably post once a week. I do have a lot of subjects lined up right now but once those have been addressed, how often I will post will depend on whatever comes to mind at that time.

I’ve certainly given myself a lot of things to think about, this was an interesting exercise for me and we’ll have to see how things turn out. I find myself between a rock and a hard place in thinking about where I’m going to find the time that maintaining this blog on a regular basis will require, but I’ll get it done somehow. I always do.

See you next week sometime. Maybe.

I’m STILL Sick of Shoveling

Well, I’m back and I’m done. Mostly.

I managed to find my car, here’s a pic of one side of it:

Here’s another pic giving you a sense of scale to show how much snow I had to remove from it:

And that was just on top of the car, it was more than twice as deep on the ground.

I did about 90% of the entire area surrounding my car, there’s still a pile directly behind it but I decided to leave that seeing as it was dark, my back was wrecked, I was soaking wet, and I’d been out there for over an hour that I could leave that part for later. I’d redone the path to my front door and uncovered my garbage cans again, I felt like I was fighting a losing battle as I brushed off my car, I’d start on one side and by the time I’d worked my way over to the side there was already a solid layer of snow on the side I’d just cleared.

Here’s another thing: what is it about cold weather that makes your eyes tear up? Whenever I shovel I put my contacts in because if I wear my glasses the snow and rain will build up on the lenses and make it hard to see and they’ll fog up. Add to that the fact that my main pair of glasses don’t fit properly and usually slide down my nose, especially if I’m bending down which I need to do a lot of when I’m shoveling. Wearing my contacts makes it easier to see, at least until my eyes tear up and I can’t see what I’m doing so I’m constantly squeezing my eyes shut quickly to force the tears out so I can see again.

Now that I’ve spent about 2 hours of my night shoveling, what do I have time to do for the rest of the night? Basically I have enough time to quickly eat again then read for a while. I was hoping to get some work done but it doesn’t look like I’ll have time for it tonight. It’s still snowing hard and I’ll need to do more shoveling in the morning, which will cut into more work time so I don’t even know when I’ll be able to get something productive done.

Doesn’t the snow stop to consider the fact that we have lives and might not want to take up so much of our time shoveling it? Of course not, it’s an inanimate object, which just infuriates me more, there’s no way to get back at it for causing so much inconvenience.

Here’s another happy thought: we’re just over halfway through winter, we have about another 2 months of this joy to look forward to. Hopefully this will be the worst of it but I wouldn’t be surprised if this keeps up.

Well, that’s enough for now. I’m going to get on with the rest of my evening, or at least what’s left of it.

I’M SICK OF SHOVELING

Kitamaat Village is where I live, it’s a First Nations reserve on the northwest coast of BC. The funny thing about the name “Kitamaat” is that it’s not a word that exists in our language, which is Haisla. The name is actually from the Tsimshian language, which is spoken by our neighbors to the north. It translates to “People of the Snow” or “Valley of the Snow.”

We didn’t get that name for no reason. It’s quite dead-on, actually. It’s been snowing all weekend and I’ve been putting off shoveling that entire time. Partly because, as the title of this post very subtly suggests, I’ve absolutely had it with shoveling what Charles Barkley would call that “flaky white stuff.”

Just how much do I hate shoveling? Let me count the ways.

One of the biggest reasons for my hatred is that I own a vehicle and in order to go anywhere I need to first dig my car out from under a mountain of snow. Another factor is that it takes a ridiculously long time to shovel my driveway, even though I park my car close to the street so I don’t need to shovel so much behind my car. Whenever I shovel I first need to first clear a path to my car, then I can proceed to dig my garbage cans and my vehicle out from under the snow. It usually takes me about two hours to do all that. Two hours just so I can leave my house. Two hours of my life that I could’ve spent working or doing something I enjoy. And more importantly, two hours that I’ll never get back.

Another thing is that when it’s snowing day after day like it’s been doing lately and doesn’t look like it’s going to stop at all, why go out there and shovel when all your work is going to filled back up within a day and you’ll just have to go out and do it all over again the next day? Additionally, it bothers me that we have no choice in the matter, we’re being forced to do it. It’s like we’re being held hostage by Mother Nature and we’re damned if we do and damned if we don’t. If I indignantly refuse to shovel, I can’t leave my house but I save time and energy. If I do decide to go out there and do it, I pay the price physically and time-wise, but at least I’ll have the freedom to actually go somewhere if I need to. Either way it’s a lose-lose situation. It’s like facing execution and being asked if you want to be drowned or burned alive, neither is exactly desirable.

And the final reason is that it’s physically demanding and my body simply cannot take it. My back pays the biggest price of all, it can’t stand up to the constant bending down to get a shovel full and the heaving it up into the air. The deeper the snow is, the higher I need to throw the snow, the more it hurts my back.

This afternoon, I’d finally decided to go out and face the music. I’d been looking out the window from upstairs all weekend to get an idea of how much snow was out there and get an idea of what I’m going to be forced to deal with. I opened my front door, started cutting a path to my vehicle, which I can only partly see. I got about halfway there and realized the snow is way deeper than I originally anticipated. I thought there’d be about a foot, it turned out to be double that. So I’m trying to make my way towards my car, I’m only clearing a path that’s one shovel wide as it takes less time and less work, but when the snow is this deep it’s not leaving me any room to move around. My legs keep brushing against the walls of the trench that I’m digging, I finally get close to my car and realize the path that I’ve cut is so close to it that I have no room to shovel around it so I need to move the path a couple of feet over. The snow is dry meaning that every time I heave a shovel full off to the side, it gets caught by the wind and blown into my face. Added to that, the wind keeps changing direction so that no matter which way I turn it still blows towards me. It’s like Mother Nature is constantly slapping me in the face, adding further insult to injury.

At this point I start thinking about trying to dig my car out but decide to uncover the garbage cans first. They’re barely visible and I manage to cut a booth out of the snow so that the garbage cans can finally be accessed and then I start considering whether I should move onto the car. By this time I’ve been shoveling for 20 minutes, I’m tired, my back is already sore, I’m in a bad mood, and I’m shaking. In a huff, I decide to just give up and go back inside.

As I’m going back into my house I’m thinking, “can we sue the people responsible for giving us this name? Shot through the heart and you’re to blame, you gave our town a bad name. Why couldn’t we be the People of the Tropical Paradise With Endless Sandy Beaches and Palm Trees Where Nary a Flake of Snow Has Ever Been Seen?”

Okay, so that doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue and I actually hate it when it’s hot too, but it’s better to be too hot than it is to be buried under snow. Anything’s better than that and maybe having a more favorable name would boost morale for people who hate snow as much as I do if nothing else. It would be the most inaccurate place name in history but at least we could imagine it were true.

Now that I’ve calmed down and eaten (which was partly responsible for the shaking as I realized I was also hungry) I think I might go back out there and see if I can finish what I tried to start. Though I’ll probably just have to do it all over again later but at least I’ll have a little less to do next time. I now also realize that tomorrow is garbage day, I have garbage that needs to go out and I haven’t yet cleared a path from the street to my garbage cans so it won’t get picked up if I don’t at least finish that part. I think I’d rather do that now than have to do more of it tomorrow morning.

So if I decide to finish shoveling completely, I’ll see you in a couple of hours. If this snow fall continues and I don’t make it back, I’ll send up a flare so someone can find me. You can send the rescue team to the Valley of the Snow, they’ll know where to find me.