Two utterly draining and exhausting shifts at the Major Home Improvement Retailer. Thanks to Mother Nature, to put blame where blame is due. Because of some impending tree and shrub deliveries, the outdoor display area in front of the garden department had to be cleared of snow and ice. The area is around 100 feet long by about 20 feet wide, with several display racks spread throughout. Now, it would normally be a simple job to clear the snow, just use the store’s big snowblower and everything’s done.
Except this wasn’t a normal situation. There has been a thick snow cover on the ground for over a month, and when one of the managers used the snowblower it became apparent that there was a layer of ice on the bottom that was at least three inches thick. It was rock-hard and needless to say far beyond the snowblower’s ability to remove. Rock salt, hundreds of pounds of it, pitted the surface but didn’t do much else.
Only one thing would work: repeatedly lifting a heavy (50+ pounds) breaker bar and slamming it into the ice (normal ice choppers were far too light to work, painstakingly breaking it into pieces, and then shoveling away the broken pieces. I spent a good part of each shift with another couple of workers, alternating between wielding the bar and doing the shoveling. It was extremely slow work, given the hardness of the ice, and physically draining. The fact that both shifts were eight hour ones made me even more worn out. Thankfully we had a nice dinner on Saturday evening, a celebration of sorts, and I had dry aged beef for the first time ever. Suffice to say that it’s very, very tasty.