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Shovelin'! Dec. 11, 2010

I grew up in the snow. North Dakota winters, South Dakota winters and Minnesota winters are all pretty much the same. These are the winters I have experienced my entire life. Through these winters, I have grown acquainted with how to dress warmly, how to use a shovel, how to drive in the snow, how to get unstuck and how to unstick others. I’ve made it through some rough winters.

But this weekend was ridiculous.

The Twin Cities received (depending on where you were in the Metro) between 17 and 21 inches of snow within a 24-hour period. During the snowfall, things got crazy. The MSP international airport closed, the Mall of America closed early for the first time in its history, the Salvation Army pulled all its bell-ringers and sent them home, Metro Transit pulled all buses because a third of them got stuck (which stranded people, including my buddy whose place of employment closed early), trucks and automobiles were going off the roads getting into wrecks, fire trucks and ambulances on their way to emergencies got stuck, highways and county roads were closed, and people were a little surprised to see the snow continually piling up as quickly as it was.

I spent most of Saturday indoors. I lit a fire in the fireplace early in the day and kept it going until bedtime. We relaxed at home, played with the dogs, listened to the baby’s heartbeat, cruised the ‘net, played some Mario Kart, watched Paul McCartney on SNL, drank some hot chocolate, and I threw in a couple beers for good measure. All the while our sidewalks and cars were slowly being buried. Both of us were looking forward to lighting a fire and enjoying the Vikings game the next day. More on that later.

I got up at 9:00 a.m., bundled myself up and headed out the door. I labored for about an hour, trying to free my car from the snowbank. I needed to move it to avoid a tow, since Minneapolis snow emergency rules were in effect. The problem was that once I got it out of its spot, it got stuck in the middle of the road. Long story short, after talking to a person from the City, I had to pretty much just shovel the street. Which I did. I got the car out and around the corner to the emergency route that had already been plowed. I shoveled the front walk, the public walk, a path on either side of the house for the mail carrier, the rear walk the side walk, I dug the van out, and I cleared the driveway. All without a snowblower. I just needed my trusty shovel and my own two hands. I finished around 6:30 p.m., and then went to help a young woman whose car was stuck in an alley.

Remember the Vikings game we wanted to watch? Well, it didn’t happen. The night before, the opponent New York Giants got re-routed to the Kansas City airport because the Twin Cities airport had closed. The plan was to have them arrive early in the morning at be at the Metrodome for a noon kickoff. That got pushed back to Monday night, however, when weather conditions weren’t improving. The weather conditions did improve. However, a bigger problem emerged. Around 5:00 a.m. Sunday morning, the inflatable roof at the Metrodome collapsed, ripping three panels of the dome and sending literally tons of snow and water cascading onto Mall of America field. Needless to say, the game will not be taking place in Minneapolis on Monday night. The NFL has moved the game to Detroit on Monday night. Strangely, Liza and I were at the Vikings/Bills game the previous week and I remember looking up at the roof and saying something along the lines of “I wonder what would happen if the roof was weighted down with too much snow?” I guess we found out.

It’s more snow than I’ve seen in a long time. It’s definitely more snow than I’ve ever moved by hand before. Really crazy stuff. But I guess that’s winter in Minnesota.

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