Here's the Scoop: March 17, 2010

Now we’re all wet
This will hopefully be the final installment of Storm Columns. Sure, there will probably be traces of the monster snowfall still around in June at higher elevations. But everywhere else, this episode should be committed to memory and photographs very soon. Naturally, the actual snowfall amounts will continue to increase each time the story is related.
Despite up to five feet of snow commonly reported in the lowlands and much more on the highest Catskill peaks (see note above), it’s universally agreed that we have been very lucky with the gradual meltdown.
Leading up to last week’s predicted heavy rains, the F-word was on many people’s minds. Even church-going, never-say-a-bad-word, types could be heard making statements like: “Boy, I sure hope it doesn’t Flood,” as they envisioned these massive amounts of snow turning to raging waters in a torrential Reverse Snowstorm. Talk of the Flood of January 1996 was heard constantly — like a bad 1980s Top 40 radio tune.

Pick up the action
Because we live at a fairly high elevation, the meltdown pace has not always suited my impatient nature. Sure, I feared a flood down below, but I also wanted the snow gone quickly. It was like being a chocolate lover trying to lose weight.
When the dreaded rains finally arrived on Friday night, it was fortunate that the bulk of the snow had disappeared over the past two weeks. Still, there were plenty of big piles around, mocking me.
We had one section behind our house where the Record Snowfall had only been intercepted with a narrowly shoveled path. By the weekend, the surrounding snow had been reduced to a snow cone-like concoction. It was similar to when butchers pack fresh ground beef around the older stuff — the truly icky parts were hidden below the surface.
This snow looked harmless enough, but under the snowy topping was an ugly, slushy mix. Stepping into this mess was like plunging one’s foot into an icy bathtub. I know this, because that was my experience as I tried to dig a channel to allow the meltdown to wind up somewhere other than in our basement. After a half-hour of this work, with only some nonwaterproof boots as “protection,” I was once again cursing the storm.

Let it flow
For some reason, it didn’t seem fair that weeks after the Record Snowfall, I was dealing with the consequences of this “weather event” (too much time on the Weather Channel for me) in a much more liquid form.
Anticipating such problems, I had invested in a $30 hoe a few days earlier. My wife was taken aback for a moment when I volunteered this information. She was relieved when I explained that I had taken her advice and gotten “a good one” and hadn’t merely taken advantage of recession-era entertainment pricing.
The expenses didn’t stop at the garden equipment, though. After hours of hoeing and shoveling, the quagmire didn’t appear much better. Of course, it wasn’t anything a snowplow and a few more dollars couldn’t cure.
After considering the price of an injured back, I made the call for assistance. Within the hour the plow had turned modified ice pond into an orderly stack of dirty, ugly snow — but it was beautiful to us.