Like everyone else in the Northeast, my little town got inundated with snow this week. But you won't find me complaining, because it was our first winter storm of the year. And if you make it to mid-February in central Pennsylvania with only a dusting of snow? Well, lets just say if there was a bet to be made, most Pennsylvanians would put their money on the Earth opening up and swallowing the entire continent whole rather than us not getting any of the white stuff until this late in the winter season.
Thanks to modern technology and overzealous weather forecasters, we knew it was coming. The television news did everything short of scream, "THERE'S A STORM A BREWIN' SO GIT YERSELF SOME BOTTLED WATER AND TOILIT PAPER! ... er face cert'in DEATH!"
Fortunately, our household was well stocked in the life-or-death department, so when the snow hit, we were ready. Plus, it didn't hurt that we had the foresight to buy a shovel a few weeks ago.
Big, fat flakes started falling and didn't stop for three days. In total, we got about a foot of snow, although some drifts are easily up to my knees. Jerry and I took turns shoveling every few hours, but each time we went outside, Mother Nature had negated our work. A fresh layer coated every footprint and shovel scoop.
At first we were clearing every inch of sidewalk around our entire house: the back walkway, the entire alley between houses and the front sidewalk, porch and steps. Jerry even dug out our neighbors on more than a few occasions. But after awhile, we just cleared a shovel-width. Our backs, arms and shoulders could do no more.
But the weather has been the hardest on Toby. While it might be up to my knees in spots, our entire yard is filled with snow up to his back, making any sort of movement next to impossible for him.
To top it off, he isn't tall enough or upright enough to use the handrail on the back steps. And he's slipped going up and down enough that even a hint of white causes him to hesitate. Actually, "slipped" isn't quite the right word. More like tumbled back-first to the ground, four legs flying in a million directions, pawing at the air. It's seriously one of the funniest things I've ever seen. Once I know he's okay, of course.
The only thing funnier is trying to watch him go to the bathroom. With cold snow up to the spot where his balls used to be, a look of sheer panic spreads across his face. At first, he plowed into the snow, trying to make it to his favorite spot under the pine tree, but he got stuck mid-trip. There he stood, frozen with fear and uncertainty, unable to progress forward, and unable to retreat. He couldn't even turn around to face me, so he just started whining.
Once I got done laughing, I stomped down a clearing and cheerleaded him to it. My utmost enthusiasm for this AWESOME SPOT OVER HERE prompted him to give it one more go. So he could go.
Then, in true Toby style, he picked a bird's route directly back to the door, which also happened to be the longest stretch of unshoveled snow to the walkway. Dumb ass.
I just watched as he used every muscle to nearly step up over his head, get a foot on somewhat solid snow, then come crashing through it as it collapsed under his weight. Every step swallowed his entire leg. He was working so hard, whining and struggling and pretty much hating life. If I wasn't still laughing so hard that tears were freezing to my cheeks, I might have been able to help.
But he did it. And he couldn't get into the house fast enough. Snow-be-damned, he sprinted up the back steps with such determination you would've thought a swimming pool of Cheerios, Milkbones and ice cubes awaited him at the other end.
And now that the comedy of watching him struggle with the snow has worn off, we've actually shoveled him a path to his bathroom spot. I mean, we're not total tyrants.
But the promise of seeing that again almost makes me look forward to the next whiteout.