As the snow continues to come down around Port Swiller Manor, the Robbo braim turns to the question:  When is the best time to go out and shovel the driveway?

Regular friends of the decanter may recall that I grew up in South Texas.  A yoot spent in that clime left me with very, very little experience regarding what one might call proper snow management.  (Indeed, I can think of only one time we ever got more than an inch or two in San Antonio.  That was the winter of ’84-’85, when I was home on Christmas break from my sophomore year in college.  In a once-in-a-thousand year freak, we got something like 15 inches, utterly shutting the place down.  You should have seen our old Scottie trying to deal with it!  But I was robbed of even this opportunity to gain some knowledge owing to the fact that I was down with a very severe case of Mono and under strict medical orders to not so much as sneeze the wrong way for fear of rupturing something and bleeding to death.)

Nonetheless, I have been a householder in the great Commonwealth of Virginny for some twenty-odd years now, and of necessity have picked up a certain amount of practical experience in that time.   I suppose the rule of thumb is that it depends on how much you think you’re going to get altogether, and the quality of the stuff.  Less than, say, six or eight inches, let it all play itself out first.  More than that, you might want to think about doing an initial clearing, coming back to mop up later on.  Especially if, like today, it’s the heavy, wet kind.

I’ve an idea that at the rate it’s coming down, schools et cetera are going to be closed tomorrow, so there probably won’t be any child transport to worry about.  However, I will likely need to get down to the shop myself, at least for a while.  I don’t relish having to tackle 12 to 14 inches in the early morning, so I suppose I will go out later on this afternoon to take an initial whack at it.

But the upside?  Why, in Robbo’s calculus, an hour or two with the ol’ shovel (and yes, a certain surly obstinacy compels me to do it the old-fashioned way)*  not only counts as exercise for the day, it also earns him some bacon-wrapped water chestnuts and a big glass of sherry in front of a cheery fire afterwards.  (If the power goes out and the broiler is not available, I can live with just the sherry and the fire.)

That’s carrot enough to make me beat myself with a stick.**

* I’ve nothing against snowblowers per se, except that I’m still young enough and they’re still expensive enough that the math doesn’t yet work out.  (It’s sort of the same with the riding mower question.)  I don’t doubt that at some point I will go ahead and make the switch.  But not yet.  What I really loathe, frankly, are those people who pay a service to clear out their drives or, even worse, those who have heated driveways.  Heated driveways, forsooth!!  That’s how Rome fell, y’know.)

** For those of you asking, “Tom, why don’t you get the gels to help?”  I can only answer: Yeah, right.

UPDATE:  Well, at least as of about 1:00 PM, Snowquester is becoming D’oh!-quester.  There’s plenty coming down, but it’s too warm for any appreciable sticking.  So perhaps, as Jesse Jackson famously said, “The question is moot!”