I’m not a grumpy old man, but I’m about to sound like one.
Used to be, as soon as there’d been a snowfall you’d see kids roving the streets, snow shovels in hand, looking for a way to make some quick cash.
No, mine was never one of those eager, flushed faces knocking on neighbors’ doors when I was a kid. But I do remember one winter when Howie and I had our doorbell rung by kids wanted to earn an easy few bucks in exchange for shoveling our sidewalk. At the time, we didn’t have the extra money to pay them. NOW where are they all?
Today we have about 4″ of snow on the ground, and tomorrow’s forecast shows more in store for us. It’s nothing like they’re getting elsewhere in the US, but it’s a lot for us. We’re the “house o’ bad backs” here and snow is something which, though pretty, is something we all rather dread because of the pain shoveling it is going to cause the shovelers.
So, where were the rosy-cheeked neighborhood kids as we stood today, cash-in-hand and eager to pay? Inside playing Playstation 2 and Xbox, is my guess. I ended up looking at AT&T’s directory site and searching for snow removal services in our area.
I called the first listing and, after describing the length of our driveway to the man, was quoted a price of $20 (their minimum charge). I called a couple other places, but just got disconnection recordings or answering machines – their loss. I called back contestant #1 and and he was here within a half hour. So far, so good!
My MIL and I watched him plow the driveway from our warm vantage point of her living room. Because our driveway is bordered by stone walls of varying heights on both sides, he could not just plow the snow to one side. He backed up, dragging the snow behind the plow blade, something I never even considered could be done. I’d wondered how he would get it out of there, unless he brought a snowblower.
He came to the door once he finished doing what was, to his credit, a thorough job. I asked him if he would include shoveling the walkway to our door within this $20 fee.
“Oh, no…No way — I have a bad back!”
He only plows. He then hemmed and hawed and hinted that the job was a lot more involved than he’d thought it would be. He said that, had we 7″ of snow on the ground, he wouldn’t have even been able to plow the drive (nowhere for it to go, what with the walls there) since that would be too much snow to scrape backwards.
He stood there like a bellboy wanting a bigger tip, but I handed him the $20 bill we had ready and thanked him. He was there ten minutes tops, folks, that’s it.
Hindsight’s 20/20, like they say, and now I wish I’d asked about this on the phone. We’ll not have him back.
We’re pulling our vehicles all into the driveway tonight so there will at least be some bare ground after the snow comes through and we can move the cars over a little bit and walk where they covered the pavement. The sidewalk and walkway to our front door, though, is still covered. It’s getting down into the single digits tonight, too…