Remember when you were a kid and schools would be closed because of snow? Wasn’t that one of the best feelings ever? Snow days in the work-a-day world aren’t quite so much fun, but it’s still nice not to have to get up at dark-o’clock and clear the driveway and then drive to the office on snow covered roads. In the late ‘80s, I had a full-size 4-wheel-drive pickup just so I could get to work under the worst of conditions. Our network and our computers needed much more care then than they do today. Also, they were all in the office. Today, we can take the computers with us and we can monitor and, if necessary repair the network from our homes.
The storm that kept us home on Tuesday was supposed to be “crippling” and “historic” according to the weather service. Seriously, I think those guys should stick to the facts. We were prepared. We aren’t the kind of folks who run out for milk and bread at the first sign of trouble. However, Monday is the day my wife normally shops and she normally buys a few gallon bottles of water. She wants a sign for her cart that says “Not Shopping for the Storm.” As for me, I had gas for the snow-blower but I was missing an accessory that the forecast suggested I might need – a drift slicer. I have been meaning to buy one but I was affected by that family trait, the “we could make that gene” that Faith wrote about…twice.
I was pretty sure that I could make a drift slicer, and for far less than the $55 price tag on the website. For a few dollars’ worth of steel, a few feet of heat-shrink tubing and some stainless steel screws I had a sturdy and functional drift slicer. We didn’t have the three-foot drifts they predicted, but we had enough snow to test the effectiveness of my handiwork.
I follow a pattern for clearing the driveway and the sidewalk in front of our house. It’s designed to require the least amount of time overall and the least amount of time slogging in reverse. I won’t bore you with that. Actually, I might some day because it has taken a long time to perfect it, but for now, there’s a more important pattern – building Mt. Maddie. The diagram at the right isn’t drawn to scale and isn’t meant to be a roadmap. The gray lines represent paths that I clear so my wife can get to her firewood racks, and some are for Maddie, um, for business purposes. When the discharge shoot can be angled properly, all of the snow goes into a single heap. Mt. Maddie. She loves playing on that pile.
Maddie loves to play in the snow as much as any of the Irish Setters we have had. Her favorite activity is to steal something of ours and play keep-away. Tuesday, she stole my glove. She snagged it with one of her front teeth and as I tried to wiggle it free, it came off. In the words of June Carter-Cash in one of my favorite country songs “Jackson” – “Goodbye, that’s all she wrote.”
The day ended with a good deal of work having been accomplished, a driveway and backyard cleared for normal activity and one very tired pup. Also, the day ended with a very nice gesture from a snowplow driver. I had cleared the driveway after the storm ended but before what I thought was the last pass by the plow truck. After he drove by, I went out with a shovel to clear the snow that was pushed into the driveway and onto the sidewalk. When I was just about finished, the plow truck returned.
As he was coming toward our driveway, he saw me, raised the blade and swerved into the center of our street. Then he turned around and returned to finish the street in front of our house heading away from our driveway. With that kind action, he avoided pushing a new pile of snow onto the space I had just cleared. Sorry, but I couldn’t resist another diagram. It’s a slow night.