Thanks!
Thanks!

Hello neighbor-I-likely-haven't-met-because-I've-only-met-one-of-you-since-moving-in-this-past-September,

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Thanks for taking one for the team and busting out the shovel in this winter snowstorm. It's been snowing since 2:30 p.m. yesterday here in Northeast Seattle and the whole city is blanketed in the stuff. I trudged down to the bakery this morning and when I came back you had cleared a path! My soggy boots were grateful. Sure, the cleared path only covered a few houses and stopped just before my own house, but wow! Thanks for doing that. You really didn't have to.

One of the houses in the middle of the freshly-shoveled path had a car parked out in front with a Colorado license plate. I'm assuming a Colorado-native would shovel snow, and would, perhaps, own a snow shovel. Did you use a snow shovel? Or a dig-a-hole kind of shovel? According to this weird Glassdoor interview question, there were somewhere around 6 million snow shovels sold in the U.S. in 2014. Take that number with a grain of salt (rock salt? Ha. I'll stop.), but I wonder if my neighbor was one of them.

Did you know there was a snow shovel shortage in 1996? It was an unexpectedly late snowstorm in the northeast (part of the country, not where I am in Seattle, sorry) and tool makers had stopped worrying about preparing for snow and started thinking ahead to gardening tools in the spring. But then a storm hit. Snow shovels were flying off the shelves, salt mines were running dry, and people were panicking. According to this archived New York Times story, nearly every hardware store (aside from Home Depot!) in New York City had sold out of snow shovels:

But at Pergament Home Centers Inc. of Melville, L.I., which operates 35 home improvement stores in the New York area, Donald Tattenbaum, the president, said: "We got 12,000 to 14,000 shovels last week, and they're gone. People are just desperate; customers just grab everything."

It was the end of days for the shovel industry in West Virginia:

"We're making shovels as fast as we can, but we ship by truck and the roads are a mess," said Cary Gregory, director of marketing. "It usually never snows here, but we had 22 inches on Monday, 18 inches two weeks ago, and everything's a sheet of ice now."

Don't worry, we're not nearly there in Seattle. The snow keeps falling and 4 inches of snow is nothing compared to literally anywhere that deals with snow. But we don't deal with snow here. We panic. We slip and slide down hills, intentionally, and well, not intentionally:


Be careful out there. One of the biggest streets right next to my house, and right next to where my kind neighbor shoveled, is a huge-ass (technical term) hill. It's turned into its own ski slope. Cars have been tip-toeing their way down it all morning. It looks perilous. If you're driving today go slow. Seattle doesn't really have its own winter weather response equipment because it doesn't snow here regularly. The hills and narrow streets make plowing difficult so plan accordingly. Also, make sure you clear the snow off your roof so it doesn't fly off and into other cars. Maybe look into getting chains for your tires? I dunno.

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Another thing I saw is to put out some thawed sugar water for hummingbirds today. They can't really get to the flowers when they're covered with snow. They're hungry.

This is about the bare minimum I know about snow and living in snow, as a Southern Californian. So, thank you again to my neighbor who shoveled the sidewalk because I definitely wasn't going to do it.

Made it!
Made it!

Sincerely,
Your-neighbor-you-will-probably-never-meet-because-if-we-haven't-met-at-this-point-we-probably-never-will