Posted tagged ‘shoveling’

“The most serious charge which can be brought against New England is not Puritanism but February.”

February 19, 2017

Today is a bit of a gift from Mother Nature, and considering how many times I cursed her this winter, I am surprised by her generosity. It is sunny and warm, even springlike. A few puffy clouds add texture to the blue sky. A breeze ruffles the brown leaves. It is a day to be outside. I’m working on getting there.

My neighbor put my newspaper on the front steps for me this morning. I saw it and one other paper when I opened the door. The other paper is the Cape Times from February 13th. I have no idea where he found it. I didn’t  miss a paper. I figure it must be my neighbor’s, and it got tossed here with the snow when her driveway was shoveled.

Small mounds of snow are still visible but only on the corners of the streets. Between the rain and the above freezing temperatures, the snow had no chance. I’m glad it’s mostly gone.

My front lawn, mostly on one side, is a total mess. It is covered with branches and needles from the tree sized branch which fell. There are long gashes on the grass. I’m thinking that whole side of the lawn may need a reboot.

This is school vacation week. I used to like traveling to one place for the whole week. My mother and I spent this week in Rome on our last vacation together. We saw it all. One of my favorites was the catacombs, a couple of bus rides and a long walk away.

Each night we’d have a drink in the bar before going to our room. My mother had cognac. That was a shock. My mother was a whiskey and coke drinker. When I mentioned my shock, my mother said it was vacation mode when anything goes. I loved that.

My week will be quiet. Actually, the rest of February will be quiet. I have an empty dance card until March.

Gracie needs to be fed, and I need to get dressed in my outside the house clothes. We are going out to enjoy the day.

“Be pretty if you can, be witty if you must, but be gracious if it kills you.”

March 6, 2016

The day is getting lighter as the sun struggles to appear. It is in the high 30’s but the rest of the week will be in the 40’s and one day may hit 50˚. I think the forecast is worthy of song, “We’re having a heat wave, a tropical heat wave.”

Some things just drive me crazy. Men wearing baseball caps inside is one of them. It is old school, I know, to expect men to take their hats off in a restaurant, but I do. Some people, mostly of the male variety, shovel their food into their mouths. They hold their forks like a piece of equipment, like that shovel I mentioned. Little kids doing it I understand as they’re still in process, but I don’t understand adult shovelers. Pocketbooks on the table at restaurants drive me crazy. Texting has its place but not while we’re eating. How about some table talk, some conversation?  Catch up with one another. Mumbling doesn’t count. One of my former relatives ate with her mouth open. I could never sit across from her. She obviously didn’t have the constant reminder, “Chew with your mouth closed,”the way we did. My mother was big into manners.

I admit we did some things just to drive one or both of our parents crazy. Shuffling our feet as we walked was one of them. My father inevitably yelled, “Pick up your feet.” We did literally and that made it even worse. Tapping a fork on the table was more than my mother could handle. She’d come right over and take the fork out of the offender’s hand. I admit I am a tapper, but I have never intended malice. It just happens when I’m engrossed in something like figuring out a crossword puzzle word. “Stop tapping!” from my mother would pull me from my reverie.

I live alone and even drive myself crazy at times. That’s the worst.

“There is nothing in the world more beautiful than the forest clothed to its very hollows in snow. It is the still ecstasy of nature, wherein every spray, every blade of grass, every spire of reed, every intricacy of twig, is clad with radiance.”

January 24, 2016

“We’re happy tonight, walking in a winter wonderland.” I’m lying. I’m not happy. Here I am stuck in the house, and from the window I can see way off to the driveway where the blue plastic sleeve of my newspapers is clearly visible. I know if I really wanted the papers I could put on heavy shoes and some warmer pants then trudge my way through the deep snow to the papers. I think I’ll choose to be patient and wait for Skip, my factotum, to come to plow and shovel.

We didn’t get as much snow as I expected. I think maybe we got only 8 or 9 inches. The problem is the snow is heavy and wet. Branches and bushes bow under the weight. The sky is still grey. I was hoping for some sun. Nothing is prettier than untouched snow glittering in the sun.

My dad was one of those shovelers who went out during the storm hoping to stay ahead of the snow. I used to watch him from the picture window. He’d do the front steps first then the path then the three steps to the street and finally his car. Sometimes the snow was so high I couldn’t see him, but I knew where he was because I could see the snow flying left or right off his shovel into the air.

The plows left layers of snow on the street. Sometimes the first layer would melt just a bit from the sun then overnight it would refreeze and produce the perfect hill for sledding with a layer of ice on top. This happened every day until the streets were down to pavement then we went sledding on the grassy hills.

Today I have football, the Pats against the Broncos. The winner will be Super Bowl bound.  I’ll be cheering and clapping the whole game; at least, that’s what I expect.

(P.S.  Skip has come and gone. Yippee!)

“January brings the snow, makes our feet and fingers glow.”

January 4, 2016

I saw a few snowflakes this morning. At first I wasn’t sure so I kept watching. I saw a few more, not many yet, but it is definitely snow. I checked the local forecast. The prediction is 2 to 4 inches by late afternoon. The sky has that snow look, a light grey almost white, so I’m believing the forecast.

Some things never go away. I love watching snow fall. When I was a kid, I’d sit at the picture window, my elbows resting on the sill and watch the snow falling under the street light. Behind the light was darkness. The falling snow obscured even the neighbors’ houses. The road and the walkways disappeared. Everything looked the same. It was all snow.

I still watch the snow and keep track of how much has fallen. I turn on the outside lights in the back so I can get a close-up view, but it’s different now. Long ago, when I saw snow out the picture window, I had dreams of flying down the hill on my sled. Over and over I’d fly until I could no longer pull the icy rope of my sled for even one more run. I’d be cold, exhausted and exhilarated.

Snow is not for flying when you’re older. Snow becomes an inconvenience. The car needs to be shoveled out, the same with the mail box and the walkway to the car. I don’t do any of it. I just wait for it to be done. I used to do it, but I was much younger then.

I’m going to watch the snow. I still love watching the flakes, and I think newly fallen snow is pretty. It equalizes everything.

“The first fall of snow is not only an event, it is a magical event. You go to bed in one kind of a world and wake up in another quite different, and if this is not enchantment then where is it to be found?”

January 30, 2014

If someone was giving out gold stars, I’d get a few. I feel so accomplished. This morning I had blood drawn, went to the bank, the dump, the pharmacy and Dunkin’ Donuts, all by 9:30. Yesterday the @#$%$$#dump was closed because of the snow on Tuesday night. My trunk had been filled with potentially smelly trash so I was not happy. Luckily it stayed cold. Now I am done with errands and intend to stay inside cozy and warm. I have earned it. A sloth I will be.

Both my papers had stories about Atlanta. One headline was “City Brought to Standstill by 3 Inches of Snow.” It gave me the chuckle I suspect was meant. We got between 4 and 5 inches overnight on Tuesday which is not even considered a snow storm, a dusting maybe. The schools were even open. I swept the walk all the way to the car which plowed easily through the snow in front of it to the road without needing any shoveling or sweeping. By late morning the sun was shining, and the road was down to pavement. Today the sun is shining again with that shimmering light that only comes with winter and the sky is stark blue, both helping the day take on the illusion of warmth. It was 20˚ went I went to the dump.

The threshold between childhood and adulthood is hazy and comes in steps. Thinking of snow as a bother is one of those steps. When I was a kid and it had snowed, I was just so excited. I’d grab my sled and we all, the whole neighborhood, sledded, and flew down the hill whizzing by those trudging up the hill, those who had already flown. We’d build snow forts and use water to ice and reinforce the walls. They’d last for weeks. We had snowball fights. The world was a giant play-land. Some time or other all that stopped and snow on the ground meant shoveling and not much more. That’s still my current stand about snow. Once you cross the line, it’s usually forever.

The sledding and the snow forts may go, but a few pieces of that childhood and snow never disappear. I think snow is lovely when it falls, when the world is hushed. When I was young, I’d watch the flakes fall in the shine of the street light by my house. Now I turn on the outside lights and stand at the door to watch the flakes falling and sometimes I put out my hand to catch a few.

After the storm, I used to pile on the winter clothes, put on a hat and mittens, shovel the walk and then free my car. Sometimes it took hours depending upon the amount of snow, and I’d come close to freezing. The snow had stopped being pretty and had become a nuisance. Now I stay and wait for Skip, my plowman. The snow is pretty again.

“The snow doesn’t give a soft white damn whom it touches.”

February 15, 2013

Sometimes, if you’re really lucky, you have one of those moments that just makes every part of you smile. Last night was trivia night. I arrived early to get a table for all of us, ordered a drink and just sat and looked around. It was Cape Cod I was seeing, the old Cape when in winter most places shut their doors and the summer people are long gone. At the Chatham Squire the walls are wood paneling like the old small summer cabins were, but there were even more remnants of the Cape I knew when I was young. Lots of guys had beards with lots of grey and the guys wore sweatshirts with hoods, not hoodies, but sweatshirts with hoods, and dark wool watch caps and you knew many were fishermen. Women wore heavy sweaters or sweatshirts and little make-up. Conversations were loud. It was like everyone knew everyone else. Music was playing, and I was about as content as I’ve been in a while. My team was running late, but I knew they’d make it in time. I was in the mood for seafood and had the fried clams. At the end of the evening, we didn’t win; in fact, we were awful, but we didn’t care. We went for the fun of it, for the companionship and for the laughs. It was a perfect evening.

Today is a beautiful day. It is supposed to hit 45˚. I know the ice is already melted, but it will freeze again tonight, and I’ll slip on it again tomorrow. Snow is a possibility for the weekend with snow showers Saturday and heavier snow on Sunday. I’m pretty sick of it. Snow is a kid’s thing. Adults look and first think about how beautiful it is. The falling snow quiets the world and leaves a pristine landscape like the front of a Christmas card then the snow stops then comes the shoveling, the cold hands, wet feet and misery. Meanwhile, kids throw snowballs and sled down hills. School is out for the day. Snow is wonderful.

I, however, have both feet in the adult camp right now. I’m still living with the misery of that last storm, and I’ll be hard-pressed to think how beautiful when it starts to snow again on Sunday. It’s going to take a while before I leave the outside light on so I can watch the snow fall the way I used to a few short weeks ago.

“Snow falling soundlessly in the middle of the night will always fill my heart with sweet clarity”

November 24, 2012

Okay, I will not bore you with today’s weather report. Just think of the last several days. To add to the misery, it’s damp and chilly, and I just put my second load in the washing machine. Even I couldn’t take another day walking around the laundry bag by the cellar door.

When I was a kid, I didn’t really care much about the weather except when it snowed. The first one of us to notice falling flakes would yell “Snow!” and the rest of us would run and jostle each other for the center spot at the picture window, the best vantage point for snow watching. I can still remember the excitement a snow storm would bring and how at night the snow flakes glittered when they fell below the street light. We’d watch then keep going back to the window to keep track of the amount of snow as those flakes carried all our hopes of mounting inches and no school.

When I got older, snow was far less welcomed. It meant shoveling the walk and getting the car free of the mounds of snow left in front of it by the plow. I begrudged snow days as each one meant going deeper into June before school was out for the summer. Snow was an inconvenience.

Snow and I are on far better terms now that I’m retired. There is no hurry getting the car loose as I have nowhere to go. Let the school extend forever. It doesn’t affect me at all. Skip, my factotum, is also my plow guy. He comes and shovels the walk, gets my car loose and shovels the back steps for Gracie so she can get into the yard. Sometimes he doesn’t come until late as he also does the library and several other houses. I don’t care just as long as he comes.

Even in my anti-snow period, I loved watching the snow fall, still do. I always turn on my back light and leave the inside door open so I can stand there and watch the flakes as they glimmer and shine in the light. I figure there aren’t many things as beautiful as a snow flake.