Author Topic: Am I rude for not shoveling the driveway?  (Read 12637 times)

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Cass

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Am I rude for not shoveling the driveway?
« on: February 21, 2013, 11:39:09 AM »
I recently moved in with my boyfriend. His sister and her husband Tom live in the other half of our duplex house.

Every time it snows, Tom gets up at six thirty and shovels the driveway. The problem is, we really don't want to join him. I'm perfectly happy to leave the driveway uncleared. The snow's never higher than ankle-high, so you can walk through it just fine, and it's not a problem for any of our cars, either.

I wouldn't mind shoveling snow when I come home from work, but Tom's not willing to leave the snow in the driveway all day. This has led to some bad feelings between us, because Tom feels like we're forcing him to do our portion of the work, too, while we feel that if he wants to do work that doesn't need doing at all, knock yourself out but leave us out of it.

To be clear, there's no legal obligation to clear one's own driveway, and we're not regularly visited by any elderly people who might be in danger of falling in the snow. Do we have some sort of moral/etiquettely duty to help clear our joint driveway, even though we don't mind the snow there?

DottyG

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Re: Am I rude for not shoveling the driveway?
« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2013, 11:44:20 AM »
Six-thirty in the morning is, as far as I'm concerned, the middle of the night.  If someone wants to get out and do something then, go right ahead.  But I'm snuggling under the covers at that hour and snoozing until I absolutely have to get up*.

I don't think you're rude for waiting until the timing is right for you to shovel it (since you said there isn't an ordinance to do so, and it's not a requirement in some way other than Tom's wishes).

* I realize there are parts of the country where you have to get up before dawn to shovel snow.  I'm not in one of those areas - thank goodness.  Because there's no way I'd do what a coworker of mine does (she works remotely and lives in another state) and get up at 4 AM to shovel snow.


GlassHalfFull

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Re: Am I rude for not shoveling the driveway?
« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2013, 11:48:41 AM »
Since this is a shared driveway, I'd say to keep the peace and be fair you should shovel your snow, as it can blow/fall/whatever onto their cleared side.  However, you should shovel it when you want to and can.  How about saying "Go ahead and clear your side whenever.  I'll get our side when I get home from work, and will take care of anything that fell onto your cleared area as needed."

heartmug

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Re: Am I rude for not shoveling the driveway?
« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2013, 11:48:49 AM »
No, doesn't sound like you are rude.  But to minimize hurt feelings, I think your BF should say this out to his sister.  Or you could offer to do it just one weekday per week.
One option in a tug of war with someone is just to drop the rope.

Sharnita

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Re: Am I rude for not shoveling the driveway?
« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2013, 11:50:30 AM »
What are the liability issues if you leave the snow and somebody visits and slips? He migjt not be willing to risk it and might feel you have an obligation too.

mandycorn

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Re: Am I rude for not shoveling the driveway?
« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2013, 11:52:04 AM »
I think that with some communication, there might be a compromise here, but it's going to depend on why Tom's doing the shoveling when he is. Is there any way that he can just do his half and leave yours alone until you're ready to deal with it, or would that not work with your driveway?

If he knew that you'd be willing to do it in the afternoon, would he be okay letting it go that long? It could be that if you've never talked about it, he doesn't know that you'd be willing to do it later in the day, he just knows that it hasn't been done yet, so he thinks that if he doesn't do it, it won't get done at all.

As far as etiquette, I know of no requirement to ever shovel your driveway. I'd say about half my neighbors do and half don't, and it doesn't seem to make much difference as to how long it takes the driveway to clear up between storms (we usually have a good clear stretch between snow storms, so almost everything will melt or blow away on its own).
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Coralreef

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Re: Am I rude for not shoveling the driveway?
« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2013, 11:52:12 AM »
I would suggest only cleaning the part of the driveway each household uses.   Clean your side, Tom cleans his, no muss no fuss. 


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DottyG

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Re: Am I rude for not shoveling the driveway?
« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2013, 11:54:40 AM »
Quote
I would suggest only cleaning the part of the driveway each household uses.   Clean your side, Tom cleans his, no muss no fuss.

This makes the most sense to me.  And this solves the problem of "what if someone does need an uncleared place to walk because of liability?"  Because they can walk on Tom's side and be fine.

His side is cleared in the morning.  Your's is cleared in the afternoon.  And there is, therefore, always a safe place to walk at all times of the day.  And no one is having to do it when it's not convenient for them.


bah12

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Re: Am I rude for not shoveling the driveway?
« Reply #8 on: February 21, 2013, 11:56:07 AM »
So, it's been a while since I lived in an area that snows, but from what I remember, the ability to walk/drive over the snow is not necessarily the only thing to consider when shoveling snow.  Chances are you will drive/walk on the same area over and over...mashing that snow down and leaving the rest of the snow to pile up...this causes "ice ruts" in the spring. (Depending on how much snow you get).  They are a pain and can be damaging to the driveway beneath.

Also, for me (and many people I know) 6:30 is the time that we are awake getting ready for work, so while it may seem early for some, there's a whole lot of us out there who are doing all kinds of necessary things in the morning.

You share a driveway with your neighbors/family and I think that the correct thing to do is work something out with them.  You may not think that the driveway needs shoveling, but they do.  They think that 6:30 is mid-morning and you don't.  So, why can't you talk to them about it and work out something that you all can agree on?  One suggestion would be to offer to shovel the driveway a couple of days a week...but since Tom can still leave for work with the snow on the driveway, on your days, you get up whenever you want and shovel it.  On his days, he can get up 6:30 and do it if he wants.  If Tom is concerned about the possible damage to the driveway, it's unfounded as long as you clear the snow that day.  So, just try to reason with him.

GoTwins

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Re: Am I rude for not shoveling the driveway?
« Reply #9 on: February 21, 2013, 11:58:08 AM »
The one thing that makes shoveling later a bad idea is that once cars have driven over the snow it's packed down in those spots and almost impossible to shovel clear. The the temp goes up and softens the packed snow, then the temp goes back down & turns it into ice. (I'm in Minnesota. I deal with this A LOT.)
I think it's best to sit and have a conversation and reach a compromise. If it snows overnight, they clear the driveway. If it snows during the day, you clear it when you get home.

DottyG

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Re: Am I rude for not shoveling the driveway?
« Reply #10 on: February 21, 2013, 11:58:16 AM »
bah, what exactly are "ice ruts"?  I'm not familiar with that (not living in a place where we'd have those).

GoTwins

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Re: Am I rude for not shoveling the driveway?
« Reply #11 on: February 21, 2013, 12:00:42 PM »
bah, what exactly are "ice ruts"?  I'm not familiar with that (not living in a place where we'd have those).
See my post above.  :)

*inviteseller

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Re: Am I rude for not shoveling the driveway?
« Reply #12 on: February 21, 2013, 12:04:50 PM »
Share the shoveling, but let him know you won't do it at the crack of dawn, but ankle deep snow seems a bit high to just drive on it.  What does your lease say about snow removal?  We have 24 hours after a snow fall to clear (altho after the blizzard 3 years ago, that wasn't enforced thankfully).    And POD to Sharnita for the liability issue.
bah, what exactly are "ice ruts"?  I'm not familiar with that (not living in a place where we'd have those).


When there is more than a few inches of snow, what you keep driving on and parking on packs down and turns to ice, making it hard to shovel, and in my lovely hilly town, trying to get off of one of these is not always easy.

DavidH

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Re: Am I rude for not shoveling the driveway?
« Reply #13 on: February 21, 2013, 12:38:54 PM »
I think the answer is to talk to him and find a solution you can both live with.  I like the idea of him clearing snowfall from overnight and you clearing it if it happens during the day.  You never need to get up early to shovel and he never has to go to bed with new snow on the walk.

Cami

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Re: Am I rude for not shoveling the driveway?
« Reply #14 on: February 21, 2013, 12:40:39 PM »
I recently moved in with my boyfriend. His sister and her husband Tom live in the other half of our duplex house.

Every time it snows, Tom gets up at six thirty and shovels the driveway. The problem is, we really don't want to join him. I'm perfectly happy to leave the driveway uncleared. The snow's never higher than ankle-high, so you can walk through it just fine, and it's not a problem for any of our cars, either.

I wouldn't mind shoveling snow when I come home from work, but Tom's not willing to leave the snow in the driveway all day. This has led to some bad feelings between us, because Tom feels like we're forcing him to do our portion of the work, too, while we feel that if he wants to do work that doesn't need doing at all, knock yourself out but leave us out of it.

To be clear, there's no legal obligation to clear one's own driveway, and we're not regularly visited by any elderly people who might be in danger of falling in the snow.* Do we have some sort of moral/etiquettely duty to help clear our joint driveway, even though we don't mind the snow there?

I wouldn't agree with  you about leaving the snow there forever and it would tick me off. Driving over or walking over icy ruts is a pain and can cause pain, even for those of us who are not elderly. That said, I'd also be willing to wait for you to do  it when you got home from work or to split the shoveling into overnight/daytime snowfall divisions. Would Tom be reasonable about that split? Or would that split be a fair division of labor (as where I live, more snow falls during the day than overnight so if I took the daytime shift, I'd be getting the brunt of the work).

*The guy I knew who died from slipping on an icy pavement at his workplace was only 32. His surviving family successfully sued his employer for a chunk of money. The coworker who slipped and fell in our icy parking lot was only 55 and she ended up with a massive concussion and 11 stitches in her head.  Both of them, I should note, were wearing boots but ice is icy. So it's not about being elderly and falling, it's about a person of ANY age fallng and hurting themselves. Aside from any moral obligation, there is also the legal liability.
« Last Edit: February 21, 2013, 12:43:01 PM by Cami »