My Snow Shovel

cyberscooty-snow_shovel-800pxOut here on the prairie, the wind and snow are best of friends. They love to romp.

Shrieking in glee, the wind chases the snow who swirls about looking for the most unlikely of places to hide.

I don’t mind their games but I do mind having to clean up after them.

Once Mother Nature has settled them down, it is my job to scrape the sidewalk and clear the driveway. It is a task too light for the snow-blower, so I use a shovel – when I can find it.

This morning, the wind and his buddy played a prank on me. I had rested the shovel against a tree while I went into the house to warm myself. When I returned, it was gone.

Not only was the shovel gone but so was any sign that a shovel had ever been there. The snow was as clean as a fresh sheet of paper – even my footsteps had vanished.  I trampled around the tree, probing the drifts with my boots hoping to feel a shaft or a blade but I figured the wind ran off with it.

It wasn’t much of a shovel anyway, just a cheap plastic affair.  I won’t find it until spring – but that’s okay, I have a shovel in reserve.

So I went into the shed to get it.

The most important thing about looking for anything in my shed is to manage expectations.  The building is larger then an aircraft hanger and rumor has it there may actually be an aircraft or two under all the junk – which makes it hard to find things – but what makes it harder still, is things in my shed do not want to be found, it is where they go to sulk and be left alone.

Still I had to try.

I looked first in the place where I most expected to find a shovel; among the yard tools hanging on the south wall.  The wall held tools but nothing that might approximate a shovel.

Next, I looked under the things I had recently piled near the door. There was some amazing stuff in the pile, some that someday might be useful – but no shovels.

Then I tried an old hunter’s trick.

If you look for a deer in the forest or a shovel in a shed, you will never see them because you mind holds an image of what it expects to see and compares this to what it actually sees. The trick is to not look for a deer or a shovel but to look for an orderly line in the tangle of other things.  In the woods, this horizontal line is the spine of a deer; in the shed it is the shaft of a shovel.

It was a great idea but it almost never works.  There is just too much stuff out there. So I fell back on a sure fire method of finding things, I asked my wife.

“Honey,” I said, “do you know where the spare snow shovel is?”

“You left it leaning against a tree,” she said.

“No, that was the shovel I was using. The wind blew that one away.”

“No, it didn’t,” she said. “You always leave things laying around, so when I drove up and found it half covered with snow, I put it away.”

“And where did you put it?”

“Where would you expect me to put it?”

“In the garage?”


And there it was.

Author: Almost Iowa

46 thoughts on “My Snow Shovel”

  1. In similar situations, although they never involve a snow shovel because we don’t have to shovel snow in my part of the world, I’ve been known to accuse my better half of domestic blindness. Perhaps, if your wife ever tires of you asking her where the snow shovel is, you could suggest investing in a snow blower like the one I just read about over on Dan’s blogpost .

    Apparently, it comes with a storm cab, a track drive, a headlight, and most significantly, I thought, a cup holder for his coffee!

    Something with all those gizmos attached is bound to be easier to find in your shed.

    1. I had to snowblow the driveway yesterday to get my car out of the garage. On my return, twenty minutes later, I had to snowblow the driveway to get my car into the garage.

      A cup holder would be nice.

  2. Why is it, we never look in the place things are supposed to go… a place for everything and everything in it’s place. So simple of a concept. Yet, my children cannot seem to grip the fact there IS a place for their shoes. A shoe holder, with a slot for each shoe inside their closet! When I ask them to go put their shoes away, they do (after much whining, and trudging heavily with feet)…they are tossed on the floor right beside the shoe holder. (sigh)

    MOM, I can’t find my shoes…where did you put them? You keep moving them on me.

    1. I had that problem with my mother too. I would tell her over and over again that I intentionally placed one shoe in the bathroom and the other shoe in the laundry room. The reason I could find neither is that someone moved my t-shirt.

  3. You realize that Rules of the Universe apply from micro to macro, don’t you? While you were looking for your shovel, folks have been poking around Einstein’s shed, and may finally have found those danged gravity waves they’ve been looking for all these years.

    I had to smile at this paragraph about Einstein’s second wife, from “Einstein for Dummies”:

    “Although some of Einstein’s friends criticized Elsa’s eagerness for fame, she was receptive of her husband’s importance and was able to create a nice environment for Einstein to work in. Her efficiency in running the household made Einstein’s life much easier.”

    I’ll bet she knew where the shovels were, too.

    1. “looking for the ripples in spacetime created by violent clashes in the distant universe – for example, mergers of two black holes,”

      I was wondering what caused all that banging around in my shed.

      I am sure Elsa said more than once, “Albert, quit looking for your spectacles, you are wearing them.”

  4. Sounds like your wife could give Sherlock Holmes a run for his money. She sure did a great job in “The Case of the Missing Shovel”. At first, I thought that shovel might have been murdered. You know the likely suspect? Not your wife. C’mon. It would have been the butler because the butler did it. Crime solved. A happy ending if ever there was one.

  5. Funny. I love old sheds. I think they all have been created equal. That dark spot in the back that still makes neck hair stand on end is one of the unique features. Great story.

  6. I got this on Facebook today and thought you’d enjoy it—although you may have written it! Peggy Sanders

  7. Don’t you hate when that happens? My husband is always moving stuff after I knew where I left it. Takes more time to search for things than it does to accomplish the actual task.

  8. This reminds me of my hubby. He spends more time looking for the tool he needs to do a task than he spends actually doing the task. Chaos at its best.

  9. Loved this! You have a way of making the everyday stuff of life entertaining….
    I wish, however, my 85-year old mother would lose her snow shovel. No matter how often we beg her not to, every time it snows, she insists on shoveling a path for Penny, her six-pound dog, to use when she needs her “potty breaks.” I’m thinking seriously about trying to teach Penny how to use an indoor litter box!

    1. I lived in a rooming house run by a 93 year old woman who was constantly knocking out walls and rewiring the place. She had no intention of slowing down. Years after she died, the place burned down. It was her wiring.

  10. The description of your shed reminds me of hidden object games. I’d guess finding stuff in there is just another way of keeping your mind sharp.

  11. I have learned that things left lying around are never lying, they’re just waiting in precisely the place where my husband plans to find them. Of course, the snow shovel is part of my domain, and I wouldn’t dream of leaving anything lying anywhere, or leaning against a tree.

    1. I know how that works, sometimes I can’t find things in my toolbox. My wife says I should get organized – but then I point to her sewing room.

        1. You have a point there. We all have our personal chaos. We like things to be confusing in our own way and we are utterly baffled when someone else messes with it.

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