Once again, we in the Midwest U.S. are getting inundated by piles of snow.
And while shoveling some of that mess yesterday, I started pitying residents of other parts of the country who aren’t used to snowy winters yet are suffering through some of the same conditions we are.
For you “snow newbies” here are my best tips for dealing with the white stuff:
- Buy some boots, assuming you can find them. Strappy sandals and stiletto heels are too-cute-for-words, but terribly impractical on snow and ice.
- Buy an insulated parka, a hat, and mittens. You want a coat material that repels water yet keeps you warm. You need a hat because we lose most of our body heat through our heads. And yes, gloves are more stylish, but mittens are warmer (something to do with having all your fingers together rather than separated, or so I’ve been told!)
- Try to get your groceries, refill your prescriptions, and do your necessary errands before the snows come. You have to assume it might take days for the snow plows (or Mother Nature) to clear the roads sufficiently for you to travel about.
- Keep your car’s gas tank full. Who wants to stand outside freezing while pumping gas?
- Buy a snow shovel. A snow blower looks cool but works best on the light, fluffy kind of snow. What, you didn’t know there are different kinds of snow? The heavy, wet variety is hardest to shovel, whereas the fluffy kind blows and drifts best when the wind kicks up.
Hospital emergency rooms see a lot of winter-related injuries. Don’t be one of them! Don’t stay outside more than is necessary and be sure you cover exposed skin to prevent hypothermia.
Snow and ice are two different things. The former is a nuisance, but the latter can be deadly. Walk gingerly; drive defensively, assuming the other guy can’t/won’t stop before slamming into you.
Don’t risk back injury by shoveling snow the wrong way. You want to push the snow out of the way, not scoop it up, turn, and toss it to one side.
Stand your shovel on the sidewalk or driveway (about a 45-degree angle) and push until the load becomes nearly immovable, then give your shovel a good kick to unload it. If the snow is particularly wet, you’ll need to tap it off between pushes. I don’t know for sure, but I think this is pretty good exercise for legs and derrieres!
If you must pick up a shovel-full of snow, bend your knees, squat, and scoop, rather than keeping your back rigid.
Don’t shovel after eating a big meal. Take frequent breaks and get out of the elements periodically. When you’re done, reward yourself with a cup of hot cocoa beside the fireplace!