Saturday, February 06, 2010

Calculating The Value of Snow

After nearly killing myself last night after a night of intoxicating indulgence, I decided that I might as well break my back or encourage a heart attack by digging out from the blizzard that dropped 30 inches of snow on my house.

Thirty inches. You just don't know what that's like until the snow is mid-thigh deep and higher than the car doors you're trying to open. Insanity.

The shoveling begins.

After a few quick texts with my JHU Genius, we determined that I had to clear roughly 99,000 gallons of snow from the approximately 6,000 square feet of driveway that were covered in 30 inches of snow. If we presume that one cubic foot equals fifteen pounds by weight, then I had to clear roughly 225,000 pounds or 113 tons of snow.

Clearly, that's a lot of snow.

Now, calculate that my snow shovel is 24 inches wide and 15 inches deep and I can maybe scoop one cubic foot (by weight) of snow per shovel load, which translates into 15,000 scoops of snow.

Crap, that's a lot of shoveling.

And too much shoveling for daddy...

There's a Subaru in there. Somewhere.

Luckily, I've got Tim, the golf pro turned winter snow guy. He's got a Chevy 2500 with a snowplow that's ready to clear the driveway lickety split. Turns out Tim started plowing clients driveways about the same time last night that I started heading home. By his count, he got stuck twelve times over the last sixteen hours.

In order to clear a driveway of this size of the magnitude of this much snow, Tim needed to plow the drive four times over the course of the blizzard. Each pass costs me seventy-five dollars for a grand total of three hundred dollars.

The Sonoma starts to emerge from its slumber.

Three hundred dollars or 15,000 scoops of snow that I must shovel by hand? Which option would you choose? At that rate, each scoop would cost me two cents for that three hundred dollars - and how many days would it take me to scoop that much snow?

Let's presume that each scoop of snow took four seconds to scoop and toss into a pile. At that rate, it would take me seventeen hours of shoveling to clear the driveway. And that's non-stop without lunch or dinner.

Note to readers: when your vehicle is covered in snow, pull it out onto the county road before sweeping it clean. The government vehicles will then sweep the snow out of the way.

Even at my old sound department rate of $45 per hour, that would be worth $750 of my time. Three hundred dollars is a bargain.

Thanks Tim, and they're saying there's another snowstorm coming on Tuesday...

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