We all have chores that we hate to do, but there’s something about having to ask others to do them that really changes that attitude, at least for me.
I have always hated having to ask others for help, and I especially hate depending on them when I know it’s something they’d rather not do either. That’s why I’ve turned down my mother’s offer to clean my apartment. I know she would hate it, and she really doesn’t have the time for it. So I pay someone. I pay someone to come once a month to do the things that I can’t do.
Now the truth is, when I was able to clean, I didn’t do it as much as I should. At this point, I’d gladly do it. Ok, maybe not gladly, but you know what I mean. Unfortunately, dragging a vacuum is too painful, stretch and dusting and grasping a cloth to dust would hurt, and bending over the tub to scrub it out would knock me out for days. And then there’s the energy it would take, energy that I just don’t have to spare. I know that I can’t do it now, but I sure would like to.
Shoveling snow is the same. I used to think of shoveling as a chore. I live in the Boston area, so it’s not like this was a rare occurrence. I did it because I had to, but I didn’t enjoy it. And now? Now I dream that I could.
We got more than 2 feet of snow this weekend. Since I rent my apartment, I thankfully don’t have to worry about shoveling out the stairs to my building or the sidewalks, but I am definitely responsible for shoveling out my car if I ever want to drive it again before the spring thaw.
After spending two days indoors, I felt antsy yesterday, so I put on many layers and went for a slow walk. I chatted with neighbors as they shoveled out their cars and driveways, and I was amazed at the envy I felt. It’s backbreaking work. It takes hours. It’s thankless. And I wanted to be doing it. The jealousy practically dripped from my mouth as I commented on what a good job each person was doing.
I’m lucky. A neighbor had offered to help me out. And several of the other neighbors who I had just met on my walk joined in. I had been friendly to them, and they saw me help someone whose car was stuck (since I couldn’t shovel or push, I drove the car while the owner and others pushed it.) I guess it was a bit of karma or something. Or maybe it was the damsel in distress effect (let’s face it, there are men who just love to help out a “helpless” woman and I told them that I had a “physical condition” that stopped me from shoveling.) What it was, the big relief is that my car is free now. Still, I worry about what happens when I drive someplace. If I come back and there’s no free spot, I won’t be able to shovel out a space on my own. And what about the next time it snows?
I’m not naive. It could be much worse. But at the same time, this is frustrating and stressful for me at a time when I really don’t need more frustration and stress. And it won’t go away. I continue to hope that my health will improve. One day I may be able to dust, but my guess is that shoveling snow will always be beyond my abilities. I want to be self sufficient and right now that’s not an option. Some days I can accept that, some days I can’t. I guess this is one of the days that I can’t.
How are you handling the winter weather?