For the past couple winters, I've been shoveling snow off of sidewalks at the local properties owned by my landlord. It's been a wonderful opportunity, a steady on-going project, and a great way to get some winter exercise. But it's also come to an end. Unless we get an unexpected snowfall in the coming weeks, today will have marked the last time I work in this capacity.
For most of the day today, my task was to help take down and put away the last vestiges of winter from each of those apartment complexes. Blue plastic salt barrels were removed from their wooden stands, rolled into a garage, and stored away until the weather grows cold again. Tupperware tubs of salt were collected from front doors, emptied, and stacked near the blue barrels. And dozens of steel fence posts were uprooted from the thawing ground, while the orange plastic snow fences they supported were rolled up and stored away. Even the snow blower and show shovels got moved to Summer locations.
Winter is over; it's Springtime here in Wisconsin. And with Spring comes warmer weather. But with Spring also comes the anticipation of Summer. And in Summer, I'm getting married and moving north to be with my wife. I will no longer live in the Milwaukee area, and I will be unable to continue my years of snow removal.
In some ways, it's a bittersweet end. Truth is, I enjoyed the work. It was cold, and I wasn't always excited to be out in the freezing weather, but was good work nonetheless. Next winter, I'll be living in small town, Wisconsin. The most shoveling I'll be required to do, are the few feet of sidewalk outside my fiancee's front door. Maybe even the few feet of driveway in front of her apartment garage. Compared to what I've been shoveling so far, it'll be a significantly less intensive job.
Sure, I'll probably miss the heavy labor. The smell of snow blower gasoline on a crisp snowy morning. The pretty layer of white. The beauty of Milwaukee in winter. But when all is said and done, I'd rather be living with my wife, in our apartment... with less snow to shovel.
A new chapter in my life is beginning. And the shoveling is just one part of the last chapter that is rapidly coming to an end. So, here's to new projects. New experiences. New opportunities. And a far less familiar snow shovel!