The surprise blanket of snow over the weekend and the mini-storm we had last week have recently put the shovel in my hands more than I'd like.

But I do shovel. I can't see spending that kind of cash on a snowblower in an attempt to make it easier when we all know it just complicates things. You spend $1,000 for a machine to move snow that you have to store and maintain, only to have the thing not start when it really needs to.

Let's be honest, we just don't get that much snow. It's actually quicker in most cases to grab the cheap plastic shovel. Plus, it's exercise.

The bad part is that I never get out there before the driveway gets driven on a few times. That means I have to do a bunch of scraping of packed snow tracks. This time, I almost left the long ribbons of compressed snow and ice but my South Dakota pride couldn’t let that happen.

You know what I’m talking about. You’re tooling down the neighborhood street a day or two after a storm, sort of taking stock of everything. And you know you do this – making a mental checklist of which neighbors have been holding up their end of the bargain and who isn’t.

Looky there, the Murphys only shoveled a path on the sidewalk.

And how about that, Old Man Jones snowblower must not have started. Looks like he had to shovel. Damn shame that.

Oh my, Billy Bob just scraped the top layer off. Look at those unsightly car tracks. Man can’t let that happen this early in the season. What’s that going to look like in late February? That man is dragging down our property values.

See, you just can’t let that happen. So instead of walking away, I found a nice heavy steal coal shovel – flat head, about 6 inches wide – and started scraping away. Once you start that kind of thing you just can’t stop.

It was pretty glorious site when I finished, if I do say so. I took kind of victory stroll around the perimeter under the guise of cleaning up a few rough edges. But make no mistake, I was admiring my own work.

Paying for it today though. My arms are killing me.

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