There's a Subaru under there, somewhere

I’m sure we’ve all heard the proverbial advice about how to carve a statue. Start with a block of stone, then chisel away everything that isn’t what you’re trying to carve. That makes stone-carving sound easy enough, and it pretty much applies to digging out a car covered in two feet of snow. Just start chiseling, and stop when you hit anything “car.”

Side mirror "wings"

In the past when I’ve had to dig out my car from a massive snowstorm, a broom has done the trick: just sweep away the bulk of accumulation, then use a snow-scraper to remove the rest. (That’s what I did in this post from eons ago, when I lived on my own in New Hampshire and Reggie was still alive and young.) When you’re removing two feet of snow, however, a broom just doesn’t cut it.

Chisel away everything that isn't "Subaru"

Yesterday I tried a regular broom then a push-broom to remove a few inches of snow from my car before settling on a compact plastic shovel, one I’d bought years ago to keep in my car for emergencies. Luckily, that shovel now lives in the garage, so I was able to use it on the snow-pile where my car had previously been.


When you’re shoveling out a buried car, you aren’t trying to create something pretty. Instead, you’re aiming to uncover the rough contours of the vehicle: here a tail-light, there a door.

Almost a driver's side door

Once you’ve uncovered enough of the hood, grille, and tailpipe to make it safe to start your engine, you can concentrate on digging out the driver’s side door. Why? Once you’ve turned the car on, you can run the heater at full blast through the vents, melting the windshield from within.

Melting windshield

Once you’ve cleared most of the snow from the roof, hood, and windows, you can move your mostly-clean car into a spot where you know it will eventually be sunny. If you carve out the rough outlines, the sun will do the rest.

Ready to roll

Guess we won't be eating outside any time soon

I guess we won’t be eating outside any time soon. (Click here for more photos from the morning after winter storm Nemo.)

Stan monitors snowfall accumulations

This afternoon, J and I walked to our local pizza and sandwich shop for lunch instead of going to the Boston Symphony Orchestra concert we had tickets for, the concert being cancelled due to this weekend’s impending blizzard. At lunchtime, the snow had just started to fall, and many businesses had signs in their windows announcing they were closing early. Our local Dunkin’ Donuts was closed, for instance, but the liquor store next to it was open, ready to capitalize on the handful of people stocking up on last minute “essentials.” On the streets, only a few cars and dedicated joggers were out, enjoying one last trip around the block before hunkering down for the storm.

Empty streets

On our way home, J and I encountered a frantic dog-walker who was looking for a friend’s beagle. She’d agreed to walk “Monkey” along with her own dog, but he’d slipped from her grasp and was running around the neighborhood with his leash still hooked to his harness. Following a set of dog-tracks, we cornered Monkey between our and our neighbors’ backyards, and with all three of us closing in, J was finally able to tackle the skittish fellow. That was our good deed for the day, and we haven’t been outside since.

Snowstorm self-portrait - Feb 8 / Day 39

J and I are getting good at preparing for storms, having had repeated practice over the past few years. Between Irene, Sandy, and now Nemo, we’ve perfected a routine where we check our pantry for provisions, charge our devices, and locate and test our flashlights and battery-powered radio. I’ve learned from experience to post an announcement in each of my online classes explaining that if I should suddenly stop answering email, that means I’ve lost power, Internet connectivity, or both. After having spent the day trying to catch up with online teaching tasks, I’m ready to power down for the night, watching TV coverage of the storm as long as the power holds and listening to the winds howl outside. Tomorrow morning, we’ll see how badly the blizzard has buried us, and we’ll start digging out. Right now, though, we hunker down and wait.