When it snows during the day like today - it stopped at 1:35 p.m. - you've got all these other obstacles.
1) people in the roads, so you're slowed when driving between accounts
2) cars are parked, so you can't get a clear shot at the yard. Double the work
3) school is in, school is out
It makes it a joy to do it all at 3 a.m.
My day started in a panic. I got up at 5, looked out the window, and didn't really see much. But then at 6 we had a covering. I think at 5:55 we'd gotten a dusting of snow. I sort of freaked a little. Called Dad. He was calm as could be. He was having coffee at Frannie's deciding what to do. 'Yeah, come on in,' he said, as if there was a decision to be made.
Got in and and at 7 o'clock was in the garage where Gene had the hood open on my No. 4 pickup and a battery charger connected to it, saying it wouldn't start. He couldn't get his sander out because it was behind my pickup. That was a sign of bad things, and we should have just left my truck in the garage today. But Dad was optimistic. "Oh it will get going. Once it runs 20 minutes the battery will kick in." It will pull a charge - I think that's the term he used.
We get the pickup going but the battery needle on the gauge was dipping to precariously low levels - under "12." I guess you need to have it between 14 and 18. My first stroke at St. Mary's school and the needle dipped to like 10. I knew I was dead in the water, but I kept plowing. About four strokes later, the truck totally died on me. My battery pack was also dead, so Dad came out and rescued me. By now it's 7:30, and both of us have lost a half an hour at least. He gives me a jump and tells me to bring the pickup to Royal Battery at Vernon Plaza by 8 o'clock. Then he gets a brainstorm and has us switch trucks. "You take mine and do the Melrose route and I'll take yours back to Malden." It made an infinite amount of sense. I hadn't thought of it. He was thinking. So he takes mine, I start doing Melrose, and basically we don't switch trucks until 2 p.m., or 2:30 p.m.
His truck - an extended cab 2006 Chevy which I drove back from the dealership in Quincy this summer - took a little adjusting to. It felt bigger at first, but after a while I got used to it. It's the same same chasse as the other trucks, only the cab is extended. I ended up having a great day plowing. As I told Laura, I really just kicked ass on my yards. Couldn't do half the Melrose Post Office because a truck was there. Cars were zipping in and out of St. Mary's. Was lucky as hell to have plowed as much as I could have. Actually, I finished the lot at 2:30 almost on the dot, and that's when school gets out, so I learned. Fifty percent of the lot was filled with parents waiting for their kids to get out of school when I took my last stroke. I really timed it well. I stopped only at 2:10 to have a gargantuan slice of Sicilian pizza my dad had given me when we switched trucks. (It was like lead in my stomach. But them's the brakes when you're driving all dam day.)
So I did all the Melrose route, then all the Medford route, which was a pain in the ass, including Crystal Cold Storage. Did all the loading bays practically. Hit a manhole cover and swore like hell - louder than I have since I struck out in high school baseball. That jerk who runs the place was there, watching over me. Although he called my father later and said I did a great job (after which my Dad turned to me and said I did Too
good a job. Figures.) I did all of Medford, came back, did all of Melrose again.
Today I met Dezi, nice guy, maybe Morroccan, who knows, at the Gulf station. At the end of the day I pulled my truck up and said, "Can you put in super?" He deadpanned: "No. No, I can't do that." He was a funny guy. Nice guy. Good smile.
Smith and Jenkie's putting up a new addition. There's an excavator in the yard. They've fenced in half the parking lot. Santilli Steel company is going there. Probably on wetlands. The whole building is built on wetlands, as my father pointed out last year when one of the owners was on his ass about moving snow further back into the wetlands. On Monday I was plowing the yard, the construction guys told me what was going on. The mailman was there and I almost hit him as he walked right behind me as I was backing up. But I was like, 'You know what?' I took a deep, don't yell at the guy, just say good morning. My window was rolled down. He comes up to it, huge smile, and says to me, "You finally got some, huh?" I said, "Yep. Sure did." He's a snow lover obviously. It was nice. He brightened my morning. Here's a guy who felt for me. I'm a snow-plow driver without any snow to plow. He was a good guy.
When I finished Melrose at the very end of my day I punched out some of Dad's yards. I even did 519 Pleasant and Pleasant Fuel, ended up the day really tired. Did the diner because it hadn't been done forever. Frank was kind of slow that day. Did Summer St., did Nana's, saw Philly for a minute. She looked good. Sharp as ever. I told her I liked her wine cookies and she said she'll make more. [postscript: she did.] Did Sabco's uneven crappy dirt parking lot, because dad didn't get a chance to get to it. He was really behind in this storm. In the morning he actually stopped plowing to show space in the building. It's not even his anymore! He'll never say goodbye to it. He also screwed with the No. 4 truck to get the battery fixed at Royal. So he lost probably 2 hours. I don't think he was out plowing until 10 a.m.
Saw this nice, short lady at Candlelight. Actually I didn't think she was nice at all. She waved me down as I'm was at Sabco. "Oh God," I thought. It's never good when people wave you down.
"Can you do a little more here near the door," she said.
I sighed. "What do you need done Miss?"
"Near the door."
"Well, you'll have to show me."
I remained polite. After all, she was like 4 foot 10. She backed out her humongous car and I made two backdrag strokes, pulling about three feet of snow from the door. But she was so thankful. "You're a doll," she said. So a nice lady, after all.
I finally, finally finished plowing at like 5:30. I punched out, went home and prayed that Karen wouldn't need my story on Dr. Hawk for the health/science section. And at 7 p.m. we finally connected and I found out she didn't. Thank God. That was the night. Picked Laura up at the South Station bus station, where she was coming home from Saratoga. Got to bed at 11 and got up again at 4:15 to go sanding.
I should add that Dad, Gene and Frank stayed on after I left, working until 7:30. Gene sanded and Frank trailed Dad in the loader. They're all way older than me, but they never stop.Dad's amazing fix of the Day:
As I pulled out of the garage with the No. 4 pickup the tires are sticking on Waite Street Extension. Dad was watchign me from Candlelight Condos. I am pulling down Waite Street. He calls me on the radio and says: 'Is the emergency brake on?" I'm like "What?" Sure enough, the emergency brake was stuck. He had noticed that my headlights wouldn't go on, which is a telltale sign that the emergency brake is set.