Shoveling Snow

I was out shoveling snow on Sunday.  We had snow overnight and we ended up getting about five inches of snow on top of the ice we got first.  A

As far as jobs go around the house, I don’t mind shoveling snow.  Karl and I had Kalissa’s boys here.  Craig was working and Kalissa was driving home.  I told Karl that if he watched the boys, I would go out and start shoveling.  The way my house sits on the property, we end up having to shovel quite a bit.

We have the walkway by the garage and in front of the garage.


I hire someone to come and clean the driveway but he does it with a skid loader and can’t get all the way to the garage doors so we make two passes with the shovel there so he can safely remove the rest of the snow.

We have the front steps and the walk down them. We have the sidewalk along the front of the house.

We shovel a small walk from the sidewalk to the mailbox so that we and the neighbors can get to the mailbox without trudging through deep snow.

We also shovel a bit along the mailboxes so the mailman can get through after the road has been plowed.

Besides all of that…there is the back patio.  When we first lived here I thought we could get by and not shovel that…but we couldn’t.  Ruby would walk out the door and do her business right on the cement just feet from the door.  ICK.

I thought it was just a Ruby thing so when we got Rosie I thought, she won’t do her business right on the cement just feet from the door but she did.

If there is snow on the cement, both of the dogs would do their business right there.  If there is no snow, both will continue on and take care of business out on the shoveled off the snow that is covering the grass.

So, we shovel the back patio too.  I went and shoveled the back patio first.  I was about half done and I noticed closer to the house the snow was deeper.  Then I remembered that the last time we had snow, I had shoveled more of it but I didn’t do the area about a foot or so from the house.  I remember being rushed as the childcare kids were coming.

This time the snow came on a Sunday so… I have plenty of time to shovel so I made a point to get that snow that was close to the house this time.  As I shoveled I notice that the snow at the bottom was yellow.  Yep.  Rosie had snuck up there and did her business.  That reinforced to me that I really had to always shovel all of it.

I tossed the pee-stained snow out beyond the cement and into the area of the lawn.  Boy, that yellow snow looked awful against the clean white snow.  Quickly I got some clean white snow and shoveled to cover up the pee-stained snow.  I don’t know why.  I just liked the look of the cleaner snow.

That got me thinking about a blog post that Kalissa recently wrote that I thought was so good.  You can read it HERE.

Kalissa was saying that she was at an event where people she knew were at.  She was talking to them.  People in the group started gossiping about a person that wasn’t there yet wondering if they would come.  The person didn’t follow the regular path…that most of the people in the group did.

The person came and Kalissa, rather than joining in the gossip, left the group and went and greeted the person.

I remember the day Kalissa told me about this.  I remember how hurt Kalissa was.  I remember her saying that she thought her friends should have “grown-up” by now.

All of this got me thinking about that pee-stained snow.  Why when people see something different or out of the norm they want to expose it?  They want to gossip about it?  They want to point out the differences in a hurtful way.

Why as people don’t we gather the good and throw that over the bad much like I threw the fresh clean snow over that pee-stained snow?  Why when we are in a group of people we all too often don’t stop the gossip?  I’ll admit.  I’ve gossiped.  I’ve really worked to try to get better at it…age has helped…experience has helped, but we all know it’s hard to be in a group of people and try to stop gossip.

Kramer used to tell jokes.  He knew I didn’t like it.  I don’t mean to sound like a prude, but jokes are so demeaning.  There’s always a blonde, Polack, or someone “lesser”.  Many jokes reinforce stereotypes.  Someone is always the butt of the joke.

Although Kramer never meant anything bad, he said the jokes, and I didn’t like it.  He learned to not say them around me because I told him, I didn’t like them.

We can curb gossip around us, people can learn to not gossip around us much like Kramer learned not to tell jokes around me.

I had a friend that used to rant about someone we both knew.  She didn’t like the person and would say nasty, gossiping things about the person we mutually knew.  I had none of the experiences that the friend ranted about.  The mutual person we knew was nice to me.  I actually very much liked the mutual person.  When my friend started to rant, I learned to say, “I never had that experience” or “she has always been nice to me” or “I’m sorry you don’t get along anymore” or “that’s between her and her husband”.  I refused to say anything that would feed the fire and give my friend more reason to rant or gossip.

I was good in this case…but I’ll admit to failing from time to time.  It’s something I’m working really hard on though.  As tempting as gossip can be, I don’t want to do it anymore at all, ever.  I don’t like it.  I’ve been hurt by gossip and I know it hurts others as well.

The next time I hear gossip.  I’m going to remember my day shoveling that pee-stained snow.  I’m going to remember that after about three shovels of fresh clean snow, I couldn’t see that pee-stained snow at all.  I’m going to work to throw clean white snow on any gossip I hear.  I’m just not going to get involved in it.  If I can’t figure out a way to stop it in a conversation, I’m going to politely find a way to walk away.

After all, there is not a pet owner among us in the places that it snows that doesn’t have some pee-stained snow of our own and we’re all wishing for someone to throw some clean white snow it to make it all look a little better.

17 thoughts on “Shoveling Snow

  1. Janet Rice

    What a good illustration to help us all remember that gossiping can hurt people and can’t just be covered up like the colored snow. I’ve been guilty of it and have also worked on doing better.

    We’ve had a bunch of snow, too, but I think you’ve had more than us. Be careful!

    Reply
  2. Edna Gerrans

    Jo, Thank-you for this post. This will help me when I hear gossip. Just put some clean white snow on it! A really good analogy! If gossip were a fire the snow would put it out.

    Reply
  3. Donna

    I enjoyed reading your blog and about the snow and gossip. I used to live where it snowed a lot and I did just the same as you. When we used to walk our dog at different campgrounds,, we used to have to clean up after her. Somewhere there’s an analogy of that too. ;-)
    Love and prayers

    Reply
  4. Julie

    Love this column for several reasons. FIrst, I agree about gossip. It is important NOT to join in on piling up on the person not present. As someone once said to me years ago when I was 22, in my first job out of college, and was complaining about our new boss, “If you liked her, the things she does wouldn’t bother you.” SO true. I resolved to learn to like her. When I heard gossip, I used to say things like, “I don’t know her very well,” to deflect. Now, I have learned to remain silent, then change the subject at the first opportunity. Everyone gets the message. Second, I wish you would write a whole separate post on offensive jokes. My father was 2nd generation Swedish and he loved to tell Sven and Ole jokes that pointed out the mistaken thinking of new immigrants. He loved blonde jokes and would also go on and on about women drivers and certain women politicians (always from the opposite party from his), As an adult, I confronted him. I told him making fun of other people’s mistakes was not funny to me, change the subject. He did, although he never stopped with otherpeople, like the old guys who sat at his table at his assisted living residence. When he died, I was charged with going through his aol account and returning messages, informing people of his passing, and I was amazed and saddened at how important these jokes were to his social world and the way he connected with people.

    Reply
    1. Carla

      Jo’s post was thought provoking as they often are when she’s in that frame of mind. But, Julie, your comment has got me thinking. The situation you described is interesting from a psychological perspective as well as social and spiritual ones. Has me looking for insights.

      Reply
  5. Judith Fairchild

    Jo, I admire the way you do things. Number 1 your stand on gossip. Hurtful it is. Sometimes deadly. When I as younger someone called gossip about their pastor, fried preacher. Then said how can your Hildreth respect someone if you always find fault with them.
    You shoveled that much snow!!!! Wow! Your covering the yellowed snow eve. Though it was in the back yard makez sense. Who wants to look T peed on snow. Your pictures brought back so many memories of shoveling snow.

    Reply
    1. Judith Fairchild

      I appreciate your stand on1 gossip. It can be deadly.
      Your pictures of where you shoveled snow brought so many memories. Thanks.

      Reply
  6. Sue

    Thanks, Jo.
    My grandmother always insisted that we say 3 nice things about a person if we had said something unkind about them. At least one of the statements had to be TO that person. It also had to be specific. It really helped focus on the positive and helped her 14 grandchildren focus on the good in people regardless of if we liked them.

    Reply
  7. TeriDegonia

    Our dog would pee on the deck if it was snow covered. We would have to remember to take him down stairs to go out.
    Love your blog. Thanks for everything.

    Reply
  8. Kim J LeMere

    Wow, that is a lot of shoveling and brings back many memories of shoveling out after a big snowfall. Doing the mailbox or the end of the drive after the plow came threw was always the worst. Gossip is a hard thing to break but I agree I think we as we get older learn to pay less attention and deflect it. I admit its hard to cut if off when in a group but I really like what your daughter did, show an example of how she felt about the conversation. Bravo to her.

    Reply
  9. Elle

    Some people never grow up. I attended my 40y HS reunion in 2019. Some “ladies” were talking just like they did when we were 14. I walked away. Started talking to some actual adults/guys who enjoyed talking about life, goals and happiness.

    Yea you!

    Reply
  10. Ellen

    Your views on life are so refreshing and powerful! Thank you for the gentle reminder to treat people the same way we like to be treated.

    Reply

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