British Columbia Life

The Cost of a Used Shovel

When we moved from southern Alberta to BC in 2015, we moved to Langley as we had rented a very lovely Rancher on a beautiful acreage.  We thought it might be a gentler adjustment for us small-town folk.  I remember in December, our first winter there, my husband Ward texting me saying ‘It’s snowing!’  Actually he texted a few more adverbs than that, but you get the idea.  With excitement I replied, ‘I know!’  And it was very lovely to watch.  It didn’t even cover the grass and then…like Frosty, it was gone.  I recalled winters when we were still in Alberta and my daughter, who has lived in BC for 5 or 6 years, (time becomes difficult to recall as we age) would text me all excited, that it was snowing!  But it never lasted for more than a day.  And then the next week, she’d text, “They are selling bedding out plants in the stores!”  Or, “The cherry trees are blooming!” Such a lovely memory.

Enter 2017…WHAT THE HECK HAPPENED!!!  We moved to BC because we were oh so very tired of the wind, and the heat, and the snow, and the cold, and the shovelling.  We now live in Abbotsford and apparently, although accounts do vary, there hasn’t been this much snow in:  5 years, 7 years, or 10 years.  Take your pick.  The first light snowfall was fine, the next not so much, the third had basically lost any hope of humour, and now, well now I’ve lost count of how many times I have had to shovel.

Our back yard

I actually thought, after February 6, all of it was done.  Gone.  Finito.  So much so, I cleaned the junk of the patio and made a trip to the dump, I sucked up leaves, unstacked the lawn furniture (it was stacked as I had to keep shovelling the deck), put the cushions out.  It was so fun!  I was positive I’d been hit with spring fever.  Alas, it was not to be.  Yesterday, again, snow…currently at 4 inches.

In Alberta, we had 3 shovels.   One for Ward, one for me, and one for my son Corey…a real family affair.  Then Corey left home and it was just ‘Team Reid’.  Ward started work in another town 1 1/2 hrs away, and it was just ‘Team Sandra’. You can see why I was delighted when this ‘shovelling’ bit would become a thing of the past.  We moved with ‘one’ shovel as the other two were literally, worn out.  No metal strip left, the plastic was curling…done.  We didn’t even use our shovel in the winter of 2015/2016 in BC.  Until December, 2016, and it snowed.  I went reluctantly to retrieve the shovel and it was gone.  After much pondering and searching, I remember we had thrown it out ‘after the move’ as although ergonomic, the plastic was destroyed on it as well.  So I borrowed the neighbours shovel.  Twice.  And then I went across the street and harassed, I mean borrowed that neighbors shovel.  For 3 days I borrowed a shovel.

Now I know you are wondering why I didn’t go buy a shovel.  I had lived in Southern Alberta all my life and drove through horrific weather conditions.  I’m seasoned. I’ve hit the ditch and it was so full of snow, and hard, I drove through the field and right back out.  I’ve drove through blizzards with my son watching out the right front passenger side looking for the edge of the road, as you just couldn’t see. But I was so scared to drive in BC.  Especially in Abbotsford…because it’s basically built on a mountain.  We have HILLS, not hills, or hills, or hills, but HILLS!  Alberta is flat, like a pancake.  Albertans do not understand that the snow in BC is different than in Alberta because it’s wet.  Yes, it melts easier, yes, it doesn’t last as long, yes, it’s warmer here.  But we deal with far more treacherous icy conditions than Alberta does.   My fear of driving was only increased by listening to the news of crashes and the entire city or cities, basically ‘shutting down’ because of the snow, and slush and ice.  It really is quite a sight.  I was surprised when we first moved and people said, “If it snows, stay home.  Everything closes.”  So, armed with this information, I decided to wait until Ward could drive me.  And that was a Saturday.  The roads were pretty so-so by then, but I was still glad he was driving.

We started out a Home Depot…sold out.  Onto Walmart…sold out.  Then we decided to drive to Mission and check out the Canadian Tire there, as we had ‘heard’ in our search that the entire City of Abbotsford was sold out of shovels!  Off to Mission Canadian Tire…sold out.  By this time, my husband is a little frustrated.  Roads are kinda crappy, he has a little road rage as it is, he does not enjoy shopping (except for tools or ju jubes), it’s a Saturday so it’s a little busy and I get an idea.  My daughter had texted me earlier and said we could have her shovel as her landlords do the shovelling.  She lives in Langley.  So off to Langley we go.  At least we knew the trip would end with a shovel.  I suddenly had this flashback to what the colour of her shovel might be…and thought it could be pink.  When I mentioned this to Ward his response was, “What?”  (Spoken in a surreal tone with his face contorted into a scowl).   He actually had me text her to see what colour the shovel was.  I could not believe he would care!!!  All was good, the shovel was green.  We got the shovel, got home, just beating the next storm.  So 3 hours later, $40 later in fuel, and we had a used shovel.  🙂




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