The Snow Shovel

This past week we had an early Spring snow storm that brought us a few inches of heavy wet snow.  After the storm ended, I went outside to shovel the walkway and driveway, a bit reluctantly since it’s April and I know that all this snow will melt in a few days anyway.  It was just me shoveling, as Mr. C and Ms. J were out taking Scout for a walk.  It was an early Spring day, and the temperature was approaching 50, so I really wasn’t in a rush to finish the shoveling.  It was already starting to melt, so why should I work so hard to clear it off the drive way anyway, I thought.

So I decided to take a break for lunch, and went inside to make a sandwich, leaving my shovel propped up on a snow pile  Between making lunch and eating lunch, I must have taken about a half hour.  Just as I finished my sandwich, the phone rang, which added another fifteen minutes or so to the time inside.  After my break, I thought I would go out and finish clearing off the side walk. However, when I went outside, my shovel was gone!

I looked all over the front yard and there was no sign of the shovel. It wasn’t in the big pile of snow next to the driveway, not in the pile next to the sidewalk, not leaning next to the back of my car in the driveway, not leaning next to the front of my car in the driveway. It was nowhere to be seen.

Then I looked down the street and saw my shovel sticking out of a pile of snow in a neighbor’s driveway.  It’s a very distinctive yellow color, with a yellow handle, and I remember the brand name was ‘Garant, and that the table had started to peel off the handle.  Is that my shovel?   Did my neighbor “borrow” my shovel ?

The house in question is four houses down, across the street, so I walked over to the shovel to check to see if it was mine.  It had the yellow handle, the yellow shovel, and the label was starting to peel off the handle.

‘Hmmm… why would this guy take my shovel?’, I thought.  Very odd.  I knew that this was a new family on the block, so maybe they didn’t have a shovel, or maybe they didn’t know where their shovel was in the pile of boxes they must have from moving in.  So I took the shovel back home and finished shoveling.

After I finished shoveling I put the shovel away, stacking it with the two other shovels I keep in the front entry way.  By this time it was about 3:00pm, Ms. J and C had come back home from walking the dog, and it was still early afternoon, so we were able to do quite a few other things the rest of the day.  I forgot to ask J what she thought of the missing shovel, we were just too busy doing other things and it didn’t occur to me at the time.

The next morning at about 5:00 am, Scout needed to go out.  He doesn’t bark to let us know he needs to go out, he shakes his head until his ears shake around making a distinctive sound.  It’s a fairly quiet sound, so often only one of us wakes up, me or Ms. J.   Since it was still early, J and C were still asleep, and since I was barely awake myself, I decided to just let him out into the back yard.  The back yard is fenced, so we can just let him run around out there if he needs to.  This has been a great advantage on freezing cold Winter nights. We can just open the back door, let Scout out, and wait inside where it’s warm.  So I put on my bathrobe and slippers, went down stairs to let him out.

I open the back door, Scout runs out, and just as I turn to go back inside, in the early morning light I see a snow shovel with a yellow handle next to the back door.  My shovel.  At the back door.  I didn’t leave it in the front yard when I went inside for lunch yesterday, I went in the back door and left the shovel at the back door.

Now I had stolen my new neighbor’s shovel and it was on my front porch.  What to do?    I don’t even know who these people are yet, they just moved in.   Should I wait until the morning and introduce myself as their neighbor down the street who stole their shovel ? So at about 5:15 am, I took the shovel walked down the street and put it back in the snow pile at the end of their driveway.  I did change from the bathrobe and slippers to a shirt and pants before doing that though.





Snow Day

So I probably spoke too soon in my previous post about what a mild Winter we have bern having here in New Hampshire.  We got about a foot of heavy wet snow last night.  Here I am (on the passenger side) driving after the storm.


Groundhog day

Today was ‘Groundhog Day’ here in the US.  This is the day when the famous groundhog, Paxatawney Phil, lifts his head out of his hole, and if he sees his shadow then we are destined to have six more weeks of winter.  If there is no shadow, then we are destined to have an early spring.

I always thought it was just a cute way for the town of Puxatawney, Pennsylvania to get some tourist attention in the middle of winter with no basis in fact.  This year Phil could be right though.

Here is what our front yard looked like this time last February, with about 10 feet of snow piled up around the driveway and front door.  The Southern New Hampshire  and Boston area received a record amount of snow last year with a total of 32 thousand feet of snow. Ok, there was really just about 12 feet of snow, but it felt like 32 thousand.

So after last year, we’re ready for a mild winter, and thankfully that’ what we have.

Here’s the same scene as above now. This was taken earlier today, it was about 55 degrees out, sunny, and there is no snow.  Bring on the early spring, Puxatawney Phil!

Mr. C’s Tree News

It’s warming up here in New Hampshire, the snow is melting fast.  This can make for some nice photos..





but it also means that the massive piles of snow in parking lots are now completely covered in dirt.  Much of which gets tracked into the house, the source of the term: “Mud Season”.


and there are potholes everywhere…


At least our new tree made it through the Winter!


Ice Dam Abstracts

Owning an old house in New England is fun!    Let’s see what we can find when we look at the ice dam stains on our ceiling!

Here’s one that looks kind of like a running kiwi bird!



And here’s another one, this one started out looking like a map of Australia.  It has since grown a bit and now looks like a fish jumping up to look at a butterfly!


This is what happens when you get more than 100″ of snow the roof of  your 100 year old house!



Our New Tree

This past Fall, Mr. C planted a tree in the front yard.

In the Spring, we had found what appears to be a Red Maple trying to grow very close to the house foundation.  Red Maples are a bit weedy around here, meaning they can seem to easily grow just about anywhere.  I didn’t want it so close to the house, so we dug it up and put it in a small pot to see how it was doing before we found a permanent spot.


In the Fall, we picked a spot in the front yard and Mr. C helped to plant the new tree.


When Winter came, I built a small protective cover out of some wood scraps. I thought it might help to protect the little tree from piles of snow.


As Spring approaches now, Mr. C can’t wait to see how the little tree is going to do in the coming year.  I hope it has survived the Winter, it’s still covered by about ten feet of piled up snow.  It’s somewhere under this pile of snow!



Again with the snow!

The snow is now up to the “Stop” sign at the end of the street. You might also be able to see a “Do Not Enter” sign across the street at just about the same level of snow.

Here’s a couple more photos of the latest snowpile.

It can be a challenge driving now. There’s no visibility around corners, so drivers have to pull far into intersections to see oncoming traffic. Some two lane roads are now one way . Apparently, there are entire neighborhoods in Boston that are now mazes of narrow one way streets due to the snow piles making them all much more narrow than they normally are.

One of our neighbors let me use his roof shovel, which helped get the huge mound of snow off our roof. We’ve never had a problem with snow on the roof since it is a fairly steeply pitched roof, there’s just too much of it for any roof to handle now.

See how gray the sky is? That is what most days look like. There will be maybe one or two days a week that will have a few hours of sun, but most of the time its gray, gray, gray.

33 days till Spring!



The Valentine’s Day Rule

For Valentine’s Day, let’s revisit a story I wrote a post about last year.   This happened almost ten years ago now, but Ms. J reminds me of this story every year.     I’m sure that I’ll be reminded of this story for the rest of my life.    

A few years ago, when Ms. J and I had just started going out together, I had a meeting with a client I was working with at my former Ad Agency job that was scheduled for February 14. It was a dinner meeting.  A business meeting on Valentine’s Day. And of course, the client was a woman who was about the same age as I was. It’s OK, said Ms. J, not a problem, if you have to work, then you have to work, it’s a stupid holiday anyway that people put too much pressure on themselves to make into a special night, she said.

The client worked for a company in London, so she had scheduled the meeting months in advance since she had to arrange to fly from London to New Hampshire for the meeting. Once she had arrived, I drove over to the little Inn where she was staying. Apparently, this Inn is a popular place for a romantic getaway, as it seemed to be filled with couples on dates. I asked for her at the front desk and the clerk asked if we might want to have dinner at the Inn since they were having a special Valentine’s Day dinner. My client soon arrived in the Lobby area and it was then that she remembered that it was Valentine’s Day and apologized for scheduling the meeting on that day. When she had made the plans months ago, she had forgotten that it was Valentine’s Day. Oh no, don’t worry about it, I assured her. It won’t be a problem.

We drove a few miles to the restaurant where I had made reservations. It was a somewhat formal restaurant, and of course it was packed with couples who had planned special Valentine’s Day dates. As we reviewed the menu, we discussed plans for the coming year. What approach will the Marketing take this year, what the goals were, what the budget looked like, that sort of thing. The sommelier approached the table and asked us if we might like a recommendation of an appropriate wine for this romantic dinner ? The waiter asked if we might like to order the creme brulee or the popovers early so that we could have them ready at the end of our romantic dinner ? While we ate dinner, someone from another table asked us where we had met. The bartender came by to ask if there was a special drink we might want to have a toast with ? The owner of the restaurant came by to let us know that he appreciated our business and hoped that our big night was everything we had hoped it would be. While we reviewed the Advertising plan over dinner, a violinist came by to serenade us with some kind of romantic song while we both cringed and hoped would stop as soon as possible.

At least we both thought that it was amusing that we were surrounded by couples on well planned Valentine’s Day dinners, while we were there reviewing business plans for the coming year. Though I did want that violin player to not come back to the table again, after having come by for the third time in his rounds of the room.

Since this was New Hampshire in mid February, the ground was covered by about a foot of snow and ice. On the way out of the restaurant, as we walked down the sidewalk back to the car, I slipped on some ice on the sidewalk and went flying across the sidewalk. I landed flat on my back, in a pile of slush and ice. I was unhurt, but I did find out later that the business suit I was wearing was pretty much ruined by that fall into the dirty slushy snow. As I lay there on the pavement, an older couple came by and offered assistance. I rose to my feet with some help. Once I was back on my feet, the older couple said that the story of how I crashed to the ground on Valentine’s Day would we be a funny story to tell our kids years from now.

After that night, I readily agreed to a new rule for Valentine’s Day that Ms. J proposed. We don’t have to do anything on Valentine’s Day, but we can not go to dinner with anyone else.

Does this photo look familiar ?



In the past two weeks we have had a storm that dumped 33 inches of snow, a storm about a week later that gave us 14 inches of snow, and this past Monday we had a storm that dropped another 12 or so inches.  Today,we are getting hit with a small storm that will probably drop a measly 3 or so inches, but then there’s a storm coming this weekend that might have 18 to 22 inches of additional snow.  There’s just no place left to put all this snow!

I have to carefully schedule trips to the supermarket to make sure we don’t run out of food during the extended periods of seclusion in the house.  Sounds easy, but the weather forecasts here are usually not that precise, so I will sometimes not make it out in time to stock up, leaving us to eat random things we find in the cabinet and refrigerator.

We also now have a huge ice dam on the roof that is letting in a steady trickle of water into our living room.  Living in New England is fun!

Let’s look at some garden pictures instead!   La-la-la-la, I can’t hear you Mr. Weatherman, winter is over, winter is over, it’s springtime now, la-la-la-la…..