Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas shoveling ambition

Like any other Minnesotan, I endured the "Christmas blizzard of '09."

My car required 20 minutes of shoveling to dig it out from the snowy abyss that was the parking lot at my apartment Christmas Eve morning. The drive to my parent's house in St. Cloud that day was a three-hour adventure complete with ice, snow and bad drivers on Highway 169. And Christmas morning at my parent's house, I woke up to -- surprise, surprise -- another round of snow, as the storm from the night before forced my step dad to take a snow blower to our driveway for the third straight day.

Needless to say, Mother Nature certainly added a bit of gloom to the holiday season. But after staying inside Christmas morning and avoiding the snow, like many Minnesotans probably did that day, I decided to make the most out of the weather. I put on my winter clothes, grabbed a shovel, reached into my inner 4th grader and took a few hours out of the holiday to build a snow fort.

I'm still not sure what exactly motivated me to do so. Maybe I wanted to negate the onslaught of Christmas cookies my mom had made with a little exercise. Maybe I wanted to tap into the nostalgia of my days as a Boy Scout, where we once built a snow fort big enough to sleep six comfortably during a winter camping trip. Or maybe, just maybe, I came to conclude that there was nothing new I could derive from watching "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" for the umpteenth time on TNT.

Whatever the case, I decided that I'd had enough with being inside and attacked the snow with vigor. It started as a mound at first, gradually building up to a hill large enough to require a ladder to apply additional "substance" to. After burrowing into the hill with my trusty shovel, I managed to hallow out a fort area with about a 5 ft. ceiling and enough space to sleep two comfortably.

By the time I had another family holiday function to attend to, the fort was completed, my shoveling muscles were aching and my appetite for Christmas dinner had been created. I had also exerted enough energy in the building process to burn roughly 1,500 calories according to the exercise calorie counter on my blog (take THAT, holiday eating habits!).

But most importantly, my worries about the bad traffic, weather and other stresses of the holiday season had been set aside for a few hours in favor of some innocent wintertime fun.

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