Spring is here! (Maine, unfortunately, didn’t get the memo.)
related: Snow shoveling etiquette
FILED UNDER: Maine · p.s. · snow · TL;DR
Team not sure. I like to run/walk regardless of weather conditions, and am always annoyed when every few hundred yards I hit that sidewalk that belongs to an owner who wouldn’t be caught dead outside of their house or behemoth SUV, so they could care less about letting their sidewalk become a frozen nightmare for pedestrians.
He did say he digs out mailboxes, but he may be neglecting the rest of the footpath he owns but everyone has to cross over.
Mar 24, 2013 at 10:50 pm rating: 18
It sounds like an apartment block to me, and someone is annoyed at him for not shovelling his parking space. I’ll be team not sure too, because I’ve never lived anywhere that it snows like that. And I never will.
Mar 24, 2013 at 11:01 pm rating: 34
I agree this sounds like a parking lot, but I got much the same complaint from Boston neighbors when I’d pull out of my on-public-street spot using 4WD and not shoveling. People become terrifically hostile if they feel you did not labor exactly as much as they, whether or not such effort was warranted. And I dutifully shoveled the sidewalk.
Mar 25, 2013 at 12:02 am rating: 44
I always tend to find that shovelling actually makes it worse for me when I walk in the snow. Unless it’s done 100% perfectly, with something to stop water from gathering, it normally seems to turn into a sheet of black ice. Give me snow to walk on any day.
Mar 25, 2013 at 3:53 am rating: 64
I agree with Silent Psycho. I don’t have a 4WD car and I will shovel if I need to in order to get the car in or out of its spot, but I don’t shovel the sidewalk.
Mar 25, 2013 at 9:08 am rating: 4
When I shovel (i’m a renter, so I shovel by choice), I shovel down to pavement. That way when we have a sunny day, the pavement is bone dry, rather than a big soupy mess.
Mar 25, 2013 at 12:58 pm rating: 6
As a person who has to take her daughter to daycare in a stroller I have to say I hate your “we are making it less slippery” sidewalks. I find if it gets compacted from not being shoveled it turns into a freaking skating rink.
Mar 25, 2013 at 3:15 pm rating: 23
I read “4WD” as “WD40″ and was all, “Damn! How tightly do they park their cars?!”
Mar 25, 2013 at 4:53 pm rating: 22
Out here, unshoveled snow will partly melt and then refreeze overnight, creating a hidden underlay of ice. Always fun when you’re walking down a hill and that secure footing you thought you had from compacting snow has suddenly changed to an experience more like walking on a greased teflon ramp.
Mar 27, 2013 at 1:24 am rating: 3
This sounds like an apartment to me, so I don’t see what they need to shovel. There’s a guy with a plow that does the whole parking lot and the walk way, and more then likely get’s paid to do so. So what they’re not clearing their parking space keeps other people from stealing their spot if they can’t get into it with their little car due to all the snow.
Mar 24, 2013 at 11:29 pm rating: 29
Small (3 floors or less) apartment buildings – usually run by cheapo landlords – don’t necessarily have a superintendent, let alone a snow person.
Mar 25, 2013 at 4:06 am rating: 4
But the note said the plow guy already does the parking lot and steps. It does sound like the original note writer was annoyed this note writer (wow, that’ll get confusing fast) didn’t shovel out his own personal parking spot, which makes no sense, because it’s his, and why does it matter to the first note writer? Not like he should be using it.
Mar 25, 2013 at 7:02 am rating: 21
Wow–”more then likely get’s paid”?[sic] and [sic]
You ain’t from around here, is ya?
Mar 25, 2013 at 8:28 am rating: 7
If the complainer has a parking spot beside the submitter, then it does make a difference to him. He’s the one who has to step into a mountain of snow to get into his car – a mountain of snow that got there because the snow plow guy pushed it there. At least that’s what I’m assuming. Otherwise the complainer doesn’t make sense. And my head hurts.
Mar 25, 2013 at 8:33 am rating: 3
Spoko: I happen to be dyslexic if you want to be an asshole about my spelling or grammar all the more power to you. I could always stop any form of spell check and you could make it your life work to follow behind me and correct every mistake I make. Otherwise bite me.
Mar 25, 2013 at 1:12 pm rating: 35
Let’s learn how to rite.
Mar 25, 2013 at 3:06 pm rating: 5
@Kermit – If the complainer had properly shoveled HIS/HER own parking space, stepping into a pile of snow would not be an issue.
Mar 25, 2013 at 4:56 pm rating: 2
Very nice pooham do you also make fun of people in wheelchairs or down’s syndrome? I just like to know what kind of jerks I’m dealing with.
Mar 25, 2013 at 9:29 pm rating: 3
H for Toy
I think pooham was just talking about the Rites of Spring. Maybe our traditional Rite of Passage here of lighthearted teasing. Most of the regulars on here aren’t genuinely nasty people.
Mar 26, 2013 at 7:14 am rating: 5
I was mimicking the original PA note mentioned in the note. People on here enjoy a good PA note. The word rite was poking fun at myself, b/c it shows that I make mistakes too, see?
Mar 26, 2013 at 10:42 am rating: 8
@ pooham Then I’m sorry for making a public ass of myself.
Mar 26, 2013 at 12:42 pm rating: 11
I do that all the time.
People here find that very entertaining. Hope you keep posting!
Mar 26, 2013 at 1:08 pm rating: 7
That’s a lot more elaborate than what my note response would have said in that situation. “Let’s go fuck ourselves.”
Mar 24, 2013 at 11:32 pm rating: 27
Mar 25, 2013 at 4:55 pm rating: 0
And this is why snow is for Holidays, not living in!
But if you are going to live somewhere where it does snow all winter, doesn’t it make sense to drive a four wheel drive car with winter tyres that DOESN’T need to be shoveled out? What, because he bought the suitable car for the conditions, he has to spend hours shoveling just to make his neighbours feel a little better about buying the wrong car???
Mar 25, 2013 at 12:26 am rating: 21
Er, what? You do realize that people buy the cars they can afford, not necessarily the most appropriate car for inclement weather.
And unless you’re using a teaspoon, there’s no way it takes hours to clear one single parking spot.
Mar 25, 2013 at 4:02 am rating: 28
Team kermit. My old Pontiac Bonneville does better in the snow than some SUVs.
Mar 25, 2013 at 6:54 am rating: 7
Agreed with Kermit on the car count – really, you think everyone can afford that kind of car??? But one person with a shovel would indeed take hours to clear out a parking lot. Parking space, no, but lot, yes, unless it was very small. (that’s a moot point though, isn’t it?)
Mar 25, 2013 at 9:11 am rating: 2
I live in Maine and I drive an AWD Subaru that I bought for $750. Try telling us again how not everyone can afford proper transportation, why don’t you? My other much nicer car is also a Subaru that only cost me $4,000. Even if you don’t want to buy used, you might spend an extra $3000 on a new Impreza AWD vs a Ford Focus FWD. Not a huge difference.
Mar 25, 2013 at 9:37 am rating: 5
Er, a new Impreza is $20K – $35K, according to their website.
And while I’m sure your $750 used car is in proper working order without extensive and costly repairs, the chance of that being common are virtually nil.
If anybody offers me a $750 car, I bet it’s a lemon.
Mar 25, 2013 at 10:00 am rating: 16
I live in MInnesota. SUVs are overrated. THe streets get plowed and salted and sanded. I drive a 2005 Camry (given to me by my mom; who turns down a nice free car? not me!). I’ve never had a problem. I have good, new tires on my car.
So I’m not going to get an SUV (with worse gas mileage) to deal with two bad days of driving. We have a lot of snow on the ground right now and I’ve had only two slow commutes all winter.
Mar 25, 2013 at 12:43 pm rating: 10
Eh, I’d wager the $750 Subaru runs better than cars costing thousands more. Those things are tanks, you just can’t kill them. I had a friend in college who drove one that was easily 20 years old. It had NO breakdowns over 4 years, compared to my only 4-year-old car that needed repairs here and there (although never very costly, they were awfully inconvenient when it meant I had to hitch a ride for a day or more…but I always knew who to call for a working car!).
But any large car with good tires will do well in snow. I never dug out my parking spot fully when I had a car (we have reserved spots, so no one but me should be parking in it anyway). I dug just enough out from under the tires to get going and then just plowed out of the spot. Perchance they were complaining about the snow left when they “brushed it off” after pulling out (I always took the snow off the car and deposited it out of the way/inside *my* spot before pulling out)? Otherwise, STFU and park in your own spot.
Mar 25, 2013 at 6:37 pm rating: 4
I agree, I live in Maine, I live in the woods, I wouldn’t bother owning a vehicle that couldn’t drive in at least a foot of snow. That’s just asking for tragedy on these narrow back roads, dangerously close to the water.
Also I don’t get why people are getting their panties in a bunch about sidewalks. That’s city property, blame them for you inconvenience. I say this as someone who had to walk everywhere for a long period of time, in which I did not have a vehicle, It’s not really a big deal.
Mar 25, 2013 at 8:13 pm rating: 2
At least in Philadelphia and Boston (and likely in many other cities), property owners are responsible for shoveling sidewalks in front of their property – not the city.
Mar 26, 2013 at 5:32 am rating: 3
Mar 25, 2013 at 12:30 am rating: 11
Everyday I’m shovellin..
Mar 25, 2013 at 3:02 am rating: 62
While driving his Suburu out of his parking space, the snow that he should have shoveled off to the side (or brushed off the top, then shoveled off to the side) was certainly redistributed into the surrounding spaces instead, which had probably already been cleared. Seems like a dick move to me.
Mar 25, 2013 at 5:02 am rating: 6
Exactly. So, he doesn’t have to clear his spot. And I can understand why someone with a 4×4 wouldn’t want to. But you know all that snow just isn’t going to stay in his spot, so the NICE thing to do is to shovel it out anyway.
Mar 25, 2013 at 9:11 am rating: 1
I wouldn’t shovel a spot out if I didn’t need to. It’s not a dick move. Don’t be so sure YOU would shovel unless you absolutely had to.
Mar 25, 2013 at 12:44 pm rating: 7
I don’t need to shovel out a parking space. I shovel. I also shovel out my elderly neighbors. Then again, I also live in a state where snow only happens a few times a year.
Mar 25, 2013 at 1:50 pm rating: 0
I wouldn’t live here without a garage.
Mar 25, 2013 at 6:27 am rating: 7
totally cool – unless the 4wd driver wants to use one of the spots his neighbors spent an hour shoveling out because their car can’t drive over mountains of snow.
Just because you do have to shovel doesn’t mean you can’t do something nice for everyone else on the block/in the lot.
Mar 25, 2013 at 6:38 am rating: 4
He does something nice by shoveling all the mailboxes. If he doesn’t need to shovel his space, what’s it to his neighbor? He said he pulls out of his own space, so it doesn’t sound like he stole his neighbor’s spot. I think he’s just responding to some cranky neighbor who probably needs a break from the winter weather.
Mar 25, 2013 at 7:57 am rating: 16
Where does all the excess snow get shovelled to? It must be like shifting sand on a beach.
Mar 25, 2013 at 8:46 am rating: 7
You dump it in the front yard, or whatever the nearest patch of not-street, not-sidewalk, not-blocking-access-to-anything you can find. And sometimes it feels exactly like shifting sand on a beach!
Mar 25, 2013 at 8:59 am rating: 5
It’s dangerous: there are many large hills of snow piling up at corners, so you have to sneak out into the road/intersections in order to see if it’s safe to go!
Mar 25, 2013 at 12:59 pm rating: 3
After huge snow storms, there are huge pick up trucks that accompany the city’s snow machines. They dump the snow in those trucks. The trucks usually dump it in a nearby lake, river or just some deserted area where a mountain of snow isn’t an inconvenience for people.
Mar 25, 2013 at 2:50 pm rating: 2
Tired of winter
Maybe where you live, kermy. Where I live, dumping snow in waterways isn’t allowed. It just turns into taller and taller and taller snowbanks…
Mar 26, 2013 at 11:36 am rating: 5
Kermit, they don’t do that where I live or work — they save that for the downtown areas where there’s no place to push the snow. In the residential areas and in the suburbs, the parking lot snow mountains just get higher and higher.
Mar 26, 2013 at 11:59 am rating: 1
In my state (MD), there is a law stating that homeowners are required to shovel their sidewalks and folks get fined if they don’t adhere.
Also, like Jorge Barnes, I am one of those crazy people who likes to walk/run in all kinds of weather and have nearly died several times because someone failed to perform their civic duty. On the other hand, I know some neighbors are elderly/disabled and can’t do it themselves.
Mar 25, 2013 at 8:51 am rating: 3
In bad weather, I used to walk 1 1/2 miles to the bus stop. There were sidewalks all the way, but three jurisdictions of government doing the clearing, plus private homeowners who are required by law to clear their patch. Sometimes it was beautiful clear pavement, sometimes it was utterly uncleared snow, sometimes it was cleared snow that iced over to treacherous black ice (thanks, Maryland Park and Planning). It was the same culprits each time, and I’d curse them under my breath as I slogged through the stuff just trying to get to work.
In both of the neighborhoods where I’ve been required by law to clear snow, the neighbors would help each other out. Currently, when we shovel ourselves out, we also shovel out the elderly on our street. In my previous neighborhood, there weren’t many elderly homeowners, but occassionally we knew so-and-so just had back surgery or whatever. Somebody always shoveled them out, too. Then when my husband was recovering from surgery and I had to go to work, I came home to find everything but my parking space was beautifully cleared for me. (And when I found out who it was, he got a plate of brownies in thanks). Good neighbors help each other. But if you aren’t lucky enough to have that kind of neighborhood and you can’t physically do it yourself, you are still required to clear the snow. That’s when you cut a deal with the neighbor kid or something.
Mar 25, 2013 at 9:08 am rating: 17
I hate laws like that. I don’t own the sidewalk, the city does. Ergo, it’s their responsibility, not mine.
If I have to take care of it, then I should own it, and be able to set up toll booths.
Mar 25, 2013 at 9:42 am rating: 34
I fell TWICE on city sidewalks while going to stupid jury duty while pregnant one morning. That’s very possibly the reason my water broke at 21 weeks and my daughter was born at 29 and stayed in the NICU on oxygen and what not for 3 months… but I digress.
The city’s lucky I didn’t sue. Should have but didn’t make the possible connection until much later. The first was thick snow that turned to ice and just because it wasn’t RIGHT in front of a shop door, it hadn’t been shoveled. Then I had to walk a block to the courthouse and the second time I fell was on ice I didn’t see where the snow had melted over the shoveled/plowed sidewalk, then re-froze over night. That hurt.
It burns me up to think about it now, I should have done something then, but what do we pay all of these taxes for if they can’t put down a bit of salt, even, on sidewalks!? (Oh, and I wasn’t wearing heels or other non-sensible shoes, either.)
And all that, just to be sent home early because they settled out of court. What a joke.
Mar 25, 2013 at 1:14 pm rating: 2
You know, I was thinking the “why is it owner’s responsibility to clear the sidewalk” thing all the way to the subway today. We got a couple inches of wet snow overnight, and the roads were beautifully clear. The temperature of the asphalt (higher than the sidewalk by virtue of being black asphalt instead of light-colored concrete) combined with what was surely a $50K+ (or even +++) effort by the city to salt it overnight made driving a breeze. But walking was TREACHEROUS. I don’t really blame my neighbors. We were supposed to only get a mix of stuff that wouldn’t stick, and it turned out to be much more. Plus, they were well within their “8 hours from the time the snow stops” window (it was still snowing at this point). Chances are they woke up at their normal hour, were as surprised by the accumulation as I was, and didn’t have time to do it before going to work.
Now, I get that with varying sidewalks, the city couldn’t just buy a few riding lawnmowers and hook up the salt spreader/snow brush (it looks like a combo of a brush, thrower, and plow) and run down the sidewalks quickly clearing them. These things wouldn’t fit or work on our narrow, residential sidewalks, for example. But why, in a city where over 50% of residents commute by public transit and nearly 40% of households don’t own a car, are we spending so much public money making it safe to drive and nearly NOTHING to keep sidewalks usable (the city clears sidewalks around its own buildings/offices, but that’s it). At the very least, wide sidewalks on main arterials should be handled by the city. When I first moved here, I looked askance at people who would walk in the street under these conditions, but I now join them. If the city doesn’t see fit to make the sidewalk safe for me to use, then I’ll use the clear road I paid to clear. I know, I know, I’m promoting the war on cars…I’m a dick like that.
Mar 25, 2013 at 6:55 pm rating: 4
Anyone else wish submitter had posted the original “shoveling class” PAN? That one sounded pretty awesome.
Mar 25, 2013 at 9:13 am rating: 23
I think he did, its just “Let’s learn how to shovel” and I’m guessing it was left on his car.
Mar 25, 2013 at 9:40 am rating: 4
Team note-writer. How else is he supposed to respond to an anonymous snarky note? I liked his response. And yeah, if he doesn’t need to clear out his parking space he shouldn’t have to.
Mar 25, 2013 at 9:14 am rating: 14
I have done research on this. In every case where snow has accumulated on a sidewalk or in a parking lot, the substance goes away eventually.
I’m vegan, gluten-free, anti-genetically modified food, and I melt snow by natural means.
Mar 25, 2013 at 9:16 am rating: 14
H for Toy
By peeing on it?
Mar 25, 2013 at 9:25 am rating: 24
Salt is gluten-free, vegan friendly and not genetically modified. It melts snow. And adds flavor to your food.
Snow, however does not add flavor to your food, unless you’re that guy from the fake North Korean documentary about America’s poor. Then snow adds lots of flavor.
Mar 25, 2013 at 9:30 am rating: 9
Ah, so that’s what Marion Barry is up to lately! Posting on PAN!
When criticized for DC’s total lack of response to clearing after a snowstorm, Mayor Barry responded “The Lord Giveth, and the Lord Taketh Away”. I guess it was the wrong kind of “snow”.
Mar 25, 2013 at 10:15 am rating: 3
I was thinking about sunshine, but pee and salt would do for the impatient among us.
Mar 25, 2013 at 11:34 am rating: 2
Living in Maine, big apartment buildings are less common than multifamily homes set up as apartments. Many don’t have assigned parking spaces. So you pull out without shoveling, you best pull back into the same space.
And the plows don’t get the parking spaces unless everybody is out of the driveway / parking area at the same time.
Also, the snow has been particularly nasty the last couple of times, as it gets slushy and half melted, seeping out and creating ice conditions on my driveway. (It snowed overnight, I shoveled in the evening after. It was awful.)
Mar 25, 2013 at 9:46 am rating: 2
Wait, so you live in Maine, so this automatically makes you the expert on how all apartments and plow businesses operate?
Mar 30, 2013 at 11:17 pm rating: 0
The last snowstorm we had here (I live in New England, but not in Maine), I went out to shovel behind my car so I could get out. Took me forty-five minutes to clear five feet of driveway, because the snow was so wet and heavy that I had to keep stopping to catch my breath. So yes, it could take hours to shovel out a parking space. Depending, of course, on how much snow and how wet it is.
Mar 25, 2013 at 3:23 pm rating: 5
H for Toy
Come on, Eileen.
Mar 26, 2013 at 10:26 am rating: 6
When I walk, I know certain rental houses will never shovel the snow, so I carry a small shovel with me and make a path. One house has a big dog that then poops on the narrow path I made. So I shovel a path across the street now. All the schoolkids use this route to walk to school so it is just helping others and myself. You can’t make people shovel by nagging.
Mar 26, 2013 at 7:24 am rating: 2
Honestly, if you’re a renter, the landlord should be the one handling the snow, either by shoveling it themself or hiring someone to do it. In trade for below-market rent, the landlord may require that the tenant shovel, but, otherwise, it’s ultimately their property, their responsibility, and they would be the one getting the ticket from the city for not shoveling. I’m a landlord, and if my properties were not exclusively in condo buildings that cover snow removal in the association fee, I’d budget a snow removal contract into the rent. Renting is full-service, yo!
Mar 26, 2013 at 9:11 pm rating: 1
My father is a landlord and he’ll give people two different prices for the house one for if you want/need him to take care of the snow in the winter and the grass in the summer, and a cheaper one for if you do those things yourself.
It comes down to are you cheap or are you lazy/unable?
Mar 28, 2013 at 1:05 pm rating: 0
If he leaves after the plow truck, then 4WD or not he is a dick for ruining other people’s spots. He just seems like a prick for essentially saying “get a better car”, it’s a nonsense and stupid thing to say. Even wet snow takes under a minute to clear, get a good cheap shovel and put some effort into it … doing work for the common good is something we all should do.
Also, unless he clears a path to the mailboxes, just clearing them is something so small it shouldn’t even be brought up.
Finally, to all those people complaining about why you need to clean the sidewalk: it’s a civic duty, it’s for the good of others you selfish people. Just run the shovel in a straight line and throw a bit of salt, it’ll be clear and only take 5 minutes. Your driveway is your business, but your sidewalk and path to your door is for others as well (like the mail), so don’t be a dick.
Mar 26, 2013 at 11:34 am rating: 2
There is no evidence here that he “ruined other people’s spots.” All that is clear is that he didn’t clear his own spot, which, depending on the circumstances, may not impact others AT ALL.
If clearing the sidewalks is a “civic duty” that benefits others, what about the street? Even living in a city that doesn’t get a lot of winter weather, my city spends MILLIONS of dollars a year clearing the streets of snow and ice. It’s extremely rare that I benefit from that. I have items delivered to my house a couple times a year and mail every day, but almost all of those things could wait until the weather lets up. I shop before storms, so that I don’t need the stores to be well-stocked during the storm (they rarely are). I drive approximately 20 times a year, and that can be done either before the storm hits or after it passes. Sure, emergency vehicles need the street to get to people in need, but for every emergency vehicle that passes my house, HUNDREDS of personal automobiles drive by. It would probably be cheaper to send a snow plow out in front of every police car/fire truck/ambulance responding to an emergency than clear ALL the streets ALL the time. In a storm like we had Sunday night/Monday morning, it would have been easier for drivers to navigate untreated roads than pedestrians to navigate untreated sidewalks. Yet, I paid for the streets to be cleared and had to rely on the goodwill and prognostication of my neighbors to get to the subway station without walking in free-flowing traffic uninhibited by winter weather conditions. Seems fair, right?
Mar 26, 2013 at 9:32 pm rating: 0
LKM32, from whence did this duty arise? I have checked, and it turns out I signed no social contract which obligated me to expend my effort for your benefit.
The concept of social contracts and civic duties is so entitled douchebags can impose their will on others.
Mar 26, 2013 at 11:50 am rating: 1
Cool! My note got posted! To explain, snow removal is included in our lease, except for the mailboxes. When I got up for work, the lot hadn’t been fully plowed yet. Only a strip in the middle, which I think the plow guy does at 4 AM or so after a storm so we can at least get out of the driveway after getting our cars out of their spots. So I did my normal thing and pulled out and brushed the snow off into the snowbank and went to work, knowing that while I was gone, my spot would be plowed (our spots are assigned). I came home to a clean parking lot, and the anonymous “Let’s learn how to shovel. Thanks” on my apartment door. I’d had a rough day at work and that was the last thing I needed, so I drafted the posted note and put it on my door. By the way, it was ripped up 15 minutes after I put it up.
As far as the mailbox thing, our mail guy refuses to deliver mail if there is even the slightest amount of snow around them. None of my neighbors have ever shoveled them out… If I’m gone for a few days on a business trip and there was a storm, the mailboxes would be buried in snow, and no mail would have come. But, it’d be a dick move to just shovel mine out and no one else’s, so while I have a shovel in hand, I just do everyone’s.
I know this is only one side of the story, but honestly, I don’t know the other side. None of the neighbors in the other 3 units of this building ever came to talk to me, and I really don’t know what issue they had with me, other than maybe wanting to move their cars into my spot so theirs would be cleaned by the plow. I would have liked to find out.
Oh, and I’ve got a Subaru because I’ve lived in Maine all my life, and my job makes me drive all around this giant snow covered state… in any weather.
Wow, that was longer than I expected, but I guess my note shows I’m kinda wordy.
Mar 28, 2013 at 9:51 pm rating: 12
I liked your note; thought it was a perfect reply.
Mar 30, 2013 at 11:37 pm rating: 0
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