Snow Way…

19 Dec


I witnessed the first snowfall of the season a little while ago.

One thing I’ve found about Toronto is that a lot of people seem to like the snow.

There are a lot of students here at UTM from other countries that have never seen it before, so they think it’s “pretty”.


Me, I’ve lived in Canada all my life. So I know the truth about snow.

It’s cold. And wet. And cold. (It’s worth mentioning that twice).

And then there’s ice and freezing rain…which has always particularly annoyed me because it gives me trouble walking.

Yeah, WALKING…something I’ve done quite competently for most of my life. But a little ice and boom…I lose a skill I mastered as a toddler.

And then the snow starts melting and you get that icky slush that ruins your boots.

Oh, and then you also have to shovel that snow.


Now, I’m going to pretend that I’ve done a whole lot of shoveling in my life (Thanks, Dad).

But now that I’m living in a townhouse-style res at university, I have to shovel my walkway during the winter.

I recently got an email from the Student Housing & Residence Life people reminding me that I would be responsible for keeping that walkway clear (in case of emergency apparently).

The email included tips for safe shoveling. I thought I’d share some of them with you.

“Warm up your muscles before shoveling, by walking for a few minutes or marching in place. Stretch the muscles in your arms and legs, because warm muscles will work more efficiently and be less likely to be injured.”

Ok. Two things:

1. My walkway is about 10 feet long.

2. I’m not getting ready to climb Mount Everest. It would probably take me longer to stretch and warm-up than it would to just scoop up the three shovelfuls of snow on my walkway.

“Pick-up smaller loads of snow. It’s best to shovel by sections. If you are experiencing snowfall levels of 12-inches or higher, take it easy and shovel 2-inches off at a time.”

Only two inches at a time? I feel like they’re assuming I’m weak.

I go to the gym. I work out. I lift weights.

There’s more muscle takin’ up space on my arms than there is snow takin’ up space on my walkway! Hahahaha.…anyways.

Going two inches at a time would turn this 2-minute job into a 10-minute job…and that’s when a small chore turns into manual labour. That’s not what I signed up for.

“Step in the direction that you are throwing snow. This will help prevent the lower back from twisting and will help alleviate any back soreness that you might typically experience the day after a hard shoveling job.”

Ok. Again. “…a hard shoveling job” ??? It’s a short, narrow walkway!

“Listen to your body. Stop if you feel pain or observe heart attack warning signs. These may include chest pain as well as shoulder, neck or arm pain; dizziness, fainting, sweating or nausea; or shortness of breath. If you think you’re having a heart attack, seek medical help immediately.”

Ok, the idea behind this tip makes sense. People do over-exert themselves sometimes when shoveling.


I really don’t think that I needed to be told to “seek medical help” if I think I’m having a heart attack.

But it’s nice to know that university cares about my health.

(If they really cared though, they’d get rid of exams…I’ve experienced more shortness of breath, dizziness, sweating, and nausea during tests than I probably ever will while shoveling…)


Believe it or not, there were a lot more tips on the list than the ones mentioned above.

But I think you get the idea.

So enjoy the snow.

And remember: lift with your legs!


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