Archive | February, 2011

The Tweeners

February 10, 2011

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I’m a tweener right now. Probably most of us in the Northern Hemisphere are! A “tweener” is what I call a person who is stuck between one weather season going out and another struggling to get in. In other words– we’ve reached the end of our tolerance for one season, and are eager to get into the next! While I like the snow and even the cold, I am sick of the ice and ice dams. Yet, I am torn, because I am one of the very rare people who dislike spring. Spring is wet, soggy, damp, cold, muddy. I am chilled more in spring weather then I am in the winter! I think it’s because spring is so clammy and damp. I dislike it. So I’m a tweener. Ready to see the winter go, but not really eager to see muddy spring come. Hmmm….

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So far, spring is nowhere in sight...

In other news, we got approved for a home equity loan! HURRAY! I used credit cards and cash for the renovation expenses last summer. The cards had good promotional rates, which have now ended. So we applied for a loan and got approved. I like the scheduled payments, I like the routine. I’m praying with all my heart that we can get this loan paid off very soon, because we have the entire UPSTAIRS of the house to do yet!! Then, we tackle the exterior– we’ll need a new roof, new siding…. *sigh*

I am relatively new to home equity loans. Any kind of loan, especially on my beloved home, makes me nervous. It’s all out of pocket, all on our own. It is a REALLY gratifying feeling, though, to see your home’s value skyrocket because you sweated it out one summer. I am so proud of my kids, who helped with our renovations– thanks to our persistent work, we increased the value of our home AND “earned” money enough to refinance everything with a little extra, too. No wonder it’s called sweat equity! I am so thankful for my kids. I couldn’t have done this without them. And now, of course, comes the paying it all off!!! Which reminds me, I better get back to work….

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Winter’s Walk Through the Neighborhood

February 7, 2011

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The temperature rebounded into the teens over the weekend, so the kids and I enjoyed a brisk walk in the neighborhood. This is what Upstate New York looks like in February: gray and overcast, snowy, brown. We almost look forward to more snow because it whitens everything again and we don’t have to look at dingy snowbanks.

Here’s a big snowbank in a parking lot.

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You know what’s really weird? There were NO children outside. Not a one. When I was younger, we were outside in the snow all the time, especially when the snowbanks were this huge.

We took a jaunt through the town. Some folks don’t shovel their walks, but some do. I am so very thankful for the people who do. We don’t have to walk in the road. Thank you, neighbors!!

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Gives you an idea of how high the snow is here.

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A woodpecker is digging for gold in this old tree, huh? Well, sure looks like it, anyway.

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Doesn’t it look like this car is smiling?

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We came back into our driveway and I saw this. It’s transmission fluid. Our van is bleeding it, terribly. šŸ™ I hope we get a new vehicle soon. I’m too nervous to drive the van anywhere.

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About an hour after we got home, the snow started falling very heavily. The flakes were fluffy, but huge- some the size of half dollars. It was so pretty. And it covered all that brown for a day!

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Thanks for reading. šŸ˜€ How are things where you are?

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The Blizzard That Never Was

February 3, 2011

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I’ll always remember Christmas Day 2002 and February 2, 2011. Both were weather freaks.

On December 25, 2002, local weather forecasters thought they saw a monster storm coming, but for some odd reason, predicted only a few inches. Well, maybe he should have said a few inches per hour, because when the snow started, it wasn’t going to stop. When all was said and done, we had 28 inches of new snow that day. For most people, it was not a great inconvenience, since most businesses and schools were closed for the holiday. My husband, however, had to work that day (restaurant), and it took him forever to get home. (The weather wise guys later said they “knew about the massive storm all along” but hesitated for this or that reason.)

Then there’s the February 2, 2011 “storm.” It clobbered the midwest/western side of the Rust Belt pretty well (have you guys finally dug out yet, huh?), and our weathermen here in Upstate New York were quaking in anticipation about this one. They originally predicted 8″ then 12″ and then 18″! Since we already have a good snow mass packed around us, 12″ is a pretty good amount. Some businesses and nearly all the schools in a 250-mile radius issued closings and cancellations. Folks raced to the store to get bread and milk, prompted by excited news outlets.

But the whole thing fizzled out somewhere along the Pennsylvania border, no? We got a whopping THREE inches. It ended almost as quickly as it came. By 10am, the snow had dissipated. I saw glimpses of sun peeking through the clouds later that morning.

Oh well.

Later that evening, we got about 2 inches more– lake effect stuff from good old reliable snow donor, Lake Ontario. It’s fluffy and light, not at all like the slushy stuff that crawled through the Ohio Valley.

So anyway, here we are. The skies are bright blue and I decided to take camera in hand and venture out into the deep for a photo shoot. It’s cold out today, temps in the mid-teens.

Perhaps the first thing you notice are the enormous icicles looming atop the eaves. Grrr, these nasty things are responsible for some of the ice dams.

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Snowbank in the driveway is about 18″ high.

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The grill is buried. I’m not feeling like having a barbecue yet, anyway.

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The sky is blue, like a sparkly sapphire.

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Snow-covered bunny tracks. Since my good old feral cat died a few weeks ago šŸ™ the rabbits have been bolder. Their tracks are everywhere. Maybe it’s all this bunny traffic causing the dogs to bark their heads off all night long.

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The mailbox with monster snowbank.

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Blue shade from the trees. Pretty.

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So thus ends *another* storm of the season. And gee, just think– we only have two more months of winter yet! šŸ˜€

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Please Stop Now…

February 2, 2011

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LOL!!!!!!

I am not sick of the snow, just the ice dams in the house. But this picture is hilarious, no?

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The Mangled Mailbox

February 2, 2011

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“Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds” is the old postal proverb. Those mailmen must be in tip-top shape delivering mail, but my poor old mailbox has seen better days. You see, the snowplow has been through.

My mailbox actually fared pretty well than some others this year. Some poor folks have their mailboxes ripped right off of the posts by the sheer force of the snowplows roaring by.

Did you know that in most municipalities, the snowplow operator is not responsible for damage to your mailbox, even if he used it as target practice during a dull night of plowing? It’s true; the property owner swallows the cost of replacement.

Photo courtesy of chagrinvalleytimes.com

My own mailbox has been slowly waning for a few years, anyway. When we installed the mailbox a few years ago, carefully set the post into the ground, making sure the post was level and plumb. But the post has become as crooked as Harry Lauder’s walking stick. Not sure how this happened. Either the wood warped pitifully (it looks like it’s turning around to see who’s coming), or perhaps the ground has shifted so badly that the pole is a-kilter. We get a lot of water running underground here, I wouldn’t surprised if the fish took off with my mailbox one of these days…

Anyway, it’s always a sorry sight when winter is over– the seas of snow recede only to expose the ugly gray clumps of old sand and road salt littered all over the yards… and poking up through the crusty brown snowbanks are the mangled spindly legs of all the neighborhood mailboxes– well, those that survived the vicious clutches of the snowplow, that is. Some say that we never do find out what happens to some of them…. Old mailboxes never die, they just…. fade away….

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