Minneapolis received 700 feet of snow Saturday.
OK. Not seven hundred feet – a mere 17 inches.
But as we like to say up here, it’s not the cold, it's the wind - and those seventeen inches of snow were accompanied by a 40-mile-an-hour wind.
Now whose idea was that?
Yes, yes, I hear you. We all saw it coming, didn’t we? Winter is not, after all, a surprise.
What is a surprise is that it is not yet technically winter.
Nevertheless, here it is.
The snow arrived in aggressive fashion, has smothered vehicles in chilly lumps, driven itself between windows and screens, covered dryer vents in four-foot drifts.
The Metropolitan Transit Commission ceased all bus routes Saturday night; the airport closed; Mall of America Field/the Metrodome collapsed, moving the already-delayed Vikings/Giants game from Minneapolis to Detroit; and for several hours the Department of Transportation pulled even the snowplows off the streets.
And in the morning, we shoveled.
Oh, how we shoveled. Neighbors emerged, pale and blinking in the blindingly blue sky, be-hatted and be-booted, and did their best to shift the tons of snow that had landed on their weekend.
Which brings me to what I feel I must tell you today.
Rumor has it that the Inuit have a hundred words for snow: the very cold snow that falls in individual flakes, the heavy wet snow that falls in clumps, the yellow snow that Frank Zappa wants you to steer clear of among them.
But do they have a word for alley snow?
That’s where I was Sunday: in the alley.
Deceptively heavy and prone to breaking off in mid-sized boulders when struck just so with a shovel, alley snow has two purposes: to keep you from leaving your garage and to provide future work for masseuses and chiropractors.
I shoveled quite a bit Sunday; and what’s more, I was a darned good sport about it. Bob, The Guy Next Door, came in and shoveled alongside Willie and I, and we sweated and shouted above the wind, slowly moving the snow from two driveways into the space between two garages and into the backyard, where it now stands in a monstrous heap a good foot taller than me.
My back is aching, I can no longer raise my arms above my head, and more snow is on its way.
And now? It’s bubble bath time.
I felt someone should know.
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