Being neighborly

Our senior citizen neighbors (no, not those senior citizen neighbors, the other ones – the ones we met just last summer after living next door for nearly two years) called for help shoveling the driveway and sidewalk yesterday. John helped the last time it snowed, in December, I think, but since there’s no such thing as a snow day anymore, work does not go on hold when the weather gets bad, and it’s hard to squeeze in shoveling at home AND shoveling for the neighbors. Luckily, it hasn’t snowed much this winter.

So the other day, David left a voicemail for John, requesting help. First, he shouldn’t have to call – we’ll be better about that. It’s not like we didn’t see the snow. Second, David is trying to find college students or someone to help him out, but he’s striking out. Third, that day was not a good day for John to walk away from work for a couple of hours. He could keep half an eye on Jack, though, so we brought some toys and the tablet upstairs, and I went to shovel some snow.

I don’t think shoveling is fun, and I don’t want to have to do it every day, but it felt pretty good to be out there. It was hard (the overnight rain had packed the snow down so it was heavy and slushy), but it was good exercise. We started in his driveway, and by the time we reached the sidewalk in front of his house, I was so warm I took off my coat. We cleared his entire driveway, including the snow-plow slush at the street, and then cleared his entire sidewalk, all in about an hour. David was out there with me, so it was nice to catch up with him, and it felt good to be helping him out.

And then he tried to pay me! I refused, of course, but accepted the present he had for Jack. I can’t remember if I’ve said this before, but David spent his entire career designing and building toys, and he has the neatest stuff. His present to Jack was the most recent version of toddler power tools, the first versions of which were his idea and his design. How cool is that?

He’s an interesting guy, and I’m looking forward to nicer weather so we can hang out in the yard and talk.

The snow is more fun when you’re well-rested

Yesterday’s adventure in the snow was not so positive. I took Jack out while it was still snowing so I could do a first round of shoveling before the snow turned to freezing rain and packed everything down.

He was fine with the snow on the ground (progress!), but it was windy, and any time the wind blew snow into his face, he started to shriek. I mean, I can’t blame him – it’s cold and it’s wet and it’s in his face. He didn’t quite understand that he could turn the other way and be protected.

He let me get quite a bit of shoveling done, though. At one point, I escorted him back to the door so he could sit on the step, protected by the overhand. He sat there contentedly for the 10-15 minutes I needed to get to a stopping point, which was truly surprising. Then we played with snowballs under John’s office window until the wind turned on us again and we went inside.

That’s when we tried hot chocolate. You’ve seen the video – he liked it okay, but it wasn’t a life-changing experience.

Of course, the whole afternoon might have gone better if Jack had napped. Yesterday was the third day in a row without a nap. I’m not hopeful about today.

A little fall of snow

We got an inch of snow, maybe a little bit more, the other day, and it’s been cold enough not to melt away. We haven’t left the house, so the only tracks are from the Amazon Prime delivery van. Every few hours, I look out the window to see a light flurry – pleasant to look at, but not enough to add to the accumulation.

I’ve had meetings during our play windows the last couple of days, so this afternoon was my first opportunity to get Jack out to play.

When it snowed in October, he was NOT a fan. He didn’t want to touch it, didn’t want to walk in it. Since then, we’ve watched some TV episodes where it snows. We’ve got a Thomas book from the library all about snowy train tracks, we’ve read a book about Little Owl experiencing snow for the first time, we’ve read about snowmen and snowballs, and his favorite episode of Thomas and Friends (after Diesel and the Ducklings) is about Percy and Thomas crashing into the snow.

With all of that, I was hopeful that he’d be more open to playing in the snow this time around. On top of that, he has brand new snow boots (no more rain boots with extra socks) and brand new tiger paw water-resistant mittens, AND he watched baby cousin Lucy enjoying the snow this morning. I said, “Look! Lucy’s playing in the snow!” and Jack said, “I play in the snow!” Progress!

And it paid off! I got him all bundled up and outside, and then he stopped at the edge of the snow. “Pick you up! Mommy, pick you up!” I suggested we go play in the meadow (side of the house), and he let me hold his hand. He took a few cautious steps, and then we were fine. Over the course of the next hour, he touched the snow, threw the snowballs I made, crushed the snowballs I made, crushed the tiny snowmen I made, leaned over to try to make his own snowballs, fell on his face once, fell on his butt once, and ran to the other side of the yard. He stopped short of tasting the snow, but (thank goodness!) he had a good time, and after we came inside, he told me he wants to do it again.

We have conquered the beach. We have conquered the snow. Next stop, paint! Ha, who am I kidding, I’m not ready for paint. Next stop, potty-training!

Maybe I should give up on titles and just number posts sequentially. Titles are hard.

Hey.  Didn’t mean to disappear again.  Everything is totally fine, things are good, I just fell down a “I don’t want to do anything” hole.  Once work is over and I walk away from my computer, I haven’t wanted to look at it again, so I’ve been reading (finally back into GOOD books) or watching TV (we started over with The Americans since it had been YEARS since we saw the first few episodes, and we’ve been using Parks and Recreation as a palate cleanser).

Also, the coworker I occasionally fight with has been SUPER IRRITATING this week, today in particular, and UGH.  So much ugh.

Oh, it SNOWED the other day.  Like, three-inches-on-the-ground-before-noon kind of snow, even though the two days before had been in the mid-50s.  Then the sun came out and ALL the snow was gone by 5pm.  Weird day.

So yeah, that’s my news.  Totally worth the wait, right?

Was I going to say something?

Is this pregnancy brain?  When I think I wrote something yesterday but it turns out I didn’t even have a draft?  How about when, at 4pm on one day, I schedule an 8:30 meeting for the next day, and then forget to call in to it?

It started snowing, I made hot chocolate, John is going to start cooking soon, and I am going to read my book.  You just try and stop me.

Side effects with drifts

A side effect of working from home is that I don’t pay that much attention to the weather.  It’s cold out?  Okay.  It’s raining?  Whatever.  I can stay in the comfy coziness of my own home, no worries about commutes or clearing snow off the car or whether the office will be open.  The downside is that whatever the weather, as long as I have power, I’m working.  No snow days.

Speaking of snow days, imagine my surprise when I discovered this morning that, in addition to the RIDICULOUSLY COLD TEMPERATURES we’ve had lately, that John and the locals assure me are most definitely out of the ordinary, no sirree, it never gets this cold here in the Ocean State, nuh uh – where was I? Oh – in addition to the cold, we’re in the path of a blizzard.  A winter hurricane.  A bomb cyclone.  (I can’t make this stuff up.)  What’ll it bring us?  High winds and 8 to 12 inches of snow.  What’ll come after?  MORE COLD WEATHER.

Before you tell me I got what I asked for by moving to New England, hear this: I wouldn’t trade it.  Shocked?  Me, too, a little.  But I woke up this morning to clear blue skies.  The sun has been shining for days on end.  Sure, it’s cold, and sure, we’ll get a day of snow and no sunshine, but the sun will come back.  I just checked the weather in Eugene – nearly 50 degrees for the high for the next week, but you know what else?  Rain.  Every day for a week.  Where’s the sun?  I’ll tell you.  It’s here.

As for the cold, I’ll just stay inside.  Our heat works.  I have books.  I have internet.  I actually went grocery shopping on New Year’s Eve, so we’re all stocked up (although I’m a little amused that food was that far down my list of hibernation priorities).  And I’ll buy real winter boots with fuzzy warm linings and gloves and mittens that keep my hands warm.  I’ll be the coziest.

I could have been cool AND warm

I guess I was paying more attention to the forecast in Kentucky than I was to our forecast because I had no idea it was supposed to snow last night and this morning.  We only got about an inch, but it was coming down when we woke up and that was enough to convince us to skip the gym.  (It shouldn’t be that easy to convince us to skip the gym.)  I had a moment of welcome-back-to-the-east-coast panic (everyone from Texas to Maine got snow last week – it’s not just New England), but then I remembered that this is the year (or maybe next year – we’ll see) that I get real, honest-to-goodness cold weather stuff.

I can’t have the coat I WANT because it sold out in less than 30 minutes the day it came out.

John wants this one.

Columbia made 1,980 of each of these (plus a Han Solo parka we don’t like as much), and even though they were $400 each, they were GONE.  The website said they were totally sold out online, but stores had a limited number, so I called three different stores.  I only got through to one place (in Minneapolis).  The guy said they had one XS Leia and one 2XL Luke left, but “I’m looking at a customer who has them both in her hands right now.”  It was 10:20 in the morning.  The store opened at 10.

John and I are holding out hope that they’ll make more of them someday.  Until then, I’ll just have to be cold in my totally not awesome normal coat.

My future as a hobo. Almost.

It snowed most of today and then sleeted the rest of the day.  John and I did NOT go to the grocery store yesterday (which should surprise no one who knows us), so we had to venture out for dinner.  We got all bundled up (temps were in the high 20s) and headed for downtown and the nearest food, but we got stalled at the train tracks by the SLOWEST TRAIN EVER.

Aaaaannnnndddd then it stopped, right where it was. That building on the other side is where we were trying to go. So close! We waited. Waited some more. Waited a little longer. Watched a guy in a sweatshirt with no coat swing himself over the linkage between two cars. Meanwhile, the train hadn’t budged. We could see the end of it maybe 100 yards away to the left, so we eventually gave up waiting and followed the train to its end (no caboose!) and crossed behind it.

Then we had sushi because who doesn’t deserve sushi after contemplating climbing over a train?

Still strange

It occurred to me today that I haven’t posted a “something weird happened in Eugene” post lately, and that occurred to me today because I saw something weird in Eugene.  Funny how that works.

We got about 3 inches of snow yesterday, it tried to melt for a couple of hours yesterday afternoon, clearing the streets and sidewalks part of the way and turning the slow into slush, but then the temperature dropped below freezing overnight and stayed below freezing all day today, so the snow and slush turned into ice and is still around.  I was driving along 5th Ave this afternoon, slowly, carefully, with the 4-wheel drive on, when I saw a guy with ski poles making his way to the corner.  Turned to John: “Is that guy skiing?”

Yes, he was.

Snow Eve

Today was sunny. Cold, but sunny. It was so odd to watch the craziness mount on the internet as the snow crept closer and then look outside to see the most innocuous weather. The blue sky was all, “What? Me? Rain down buckets of ice on Atlanta and dump massive amounts of snow on you? I would never do that.” But as the day went on, the Capital Weather Gang’s forecasts got more and more ominous and the warnings (“Be where you’re planning to stay by 7 or 8pm tonight”) were downright scary. Never mind the clear skies outside – the clear skies are a LIE.  I’ve got one coworker who thinks the whole thing is going to disappear, that we might get a dusting at most.  One the one hand, that might be okay with me.  No wet snow everywhere, no shoveling.  On the other hand, NO!  I want to work from home all cozy inside with a fire.  We shall see (but my money’s on snow).

The Snow Also Rises

Bridget and her boy came up with much better names for the snowstorm than I did.  Actually, since Cleveland routinely gets SO MUCH MORE SNOW than we do, I’d be surprised if Cleveland residents didn’t have a system for naming snowstorms.  Kinda like how hurricanes get named.  This year they’re all named after girls.  Like Driving Miss Snowy, Snowy Poppins, and Forgetting Snowy Marshall.

I’m reaching, I know.

This snow, she is unnatural

Now I have everything I want (for today).  We have a fire blazing in the dining room, and John and I are set up on our laptops across the table from each other.  Riley is on a towel on the floor to my right, and Roxy is on the dog bed in front of the fire.  I have a glass of wine, classical music is coming from the family room, I’m wearing my pretty new shawl from Jess, and if I really want to, I can watch the Super Bowl ads on hulu.com.  I may even turn the TV on at some point during the game (John has expressed an interest in seeing The Who during the half-time show).

We did a lot more shoveling today and managed to get both cars out of and back in to the driveway, so we know we can get out tomorrow.  Then I was done shoveling, but John decided to be a good neighbor and help the downhill neighbors clear their driveway and sidewalk.  I played with the dogs in the backyard.  Then I made John come out with the camera and see it, ’cause it’s really funny to see them try to stay on top of 3 feet of snow.  Which they wouldn’t even try until I jumped in first.

Here’s John shoveling the sidewalk:

And here I made him pose:

And here’s the neighbor with the snowblower who could make a TON of money if he wanted to rent that thing out to his neighbors (or a ton of friends if he wanted to clear everyone’s sidewalks for free):

The poor buried mailbox again:

And the path I dug to it so the mailperson can deliver the mail:

The view down the street:

The view up the street:

The house, with a clear driveway, clear cars, and a TON of snow piled in the yard:

Here’s a short series of Riley in the backyard.  First, sitting nicely but not looking at me:

Second, getting WAY too close to the camera.  That’s his nose in the top right corner.

Third, Riley singing “STOP in the name of love!”:

Me and Riley swimming through the snow:

Roxy coming over to see what’s up:

And here she is, glad to get away before the wrestling and the hand-chewing started:

The hand-chewing started when I grabbed Riley’s lower jaw:

Riley, trying to crouch in the snow and failing miserably:

And here, apparently, he’s trying to fly, but his little ears just aren’t big enough:

Riley and I are sitting on top of 3 feet of snow and..yelling at each other?

And here’s a series of Roxy going “Okay.  Enough with the yelling and playing.  Can we go inside where it’s warm now?  What is WRONG with you people?”

Riley’s sneak attack…

…Ended with kisses:

Then he went back to my hands (coated in bacon maybe?):

Apparently, my hair was coated in bacon, too:

Riley officially won, though, by STANDING on me as I tried to get up:

Okay, enough pictures.  Really.  And it may look like I was having fun in the snow, but don’t believe everything you see on the internet.  That smile was photoshopped.  I had a dream last night that the snow had melted away overnight and I was so happy.  Then I woke up.  Snow snucks.

Snowmygod

The snow just stopped.  Maybe 15 minutes ago.  And the sun is out.  Our total is somewhere around 30 inches, maybe a little more in places.  Definitely more in the corners of our yard.  When we were shoveling this morning, the sidewalks (which were a little lower than the yard) had 24″ of snow.  We spent a couple of hours shoveling the driveway and part of the sidewalk, mostly to make sure we could get the car out if we really had to.  Tomorrow we’ll tackle what fell after we quit, the rest of the sidewalk, and we’ll try to dig John’s car out.  If he can swing it, I really think he should work from home on Monday.  The roads will be terrible.  We had a plow come through sometime last night, maybe early this morning, but none since then.  Our street has at least a foot of snow.  Snow snow-snow, snow-snow-snow.  I’m tired of it.  And it’s way too deep for the dogs.  The first thing we did today was clear a path on the deck, clear the deck stairs, and shovel out an area in the yard so they could get around.  They can blaze their own paths from there, although they really haven’t this time.  They’ve stayed under the deck overhang, where the snow isn’t as deep.  Mark asked for pictures (apparently, he needs proof – Hi, Mark!), so here they are.  Maybe it’ll all disappear overnight.  I’m ready for spring!

Snow depth on the bench around 9:30 last night:

Snow depth on the bench as of about 9:30 this morning (through the sliding glass door with snow on it):

Snow depth on the bench around 4:45 this afternoon:

The back corner of the yard yesterday afternoon (3-ish, I think):

The back corner of the yard around 4:45 today:

My flower bed, buried:

An evergreen in the neighbor’s yard, yesterday:

Same evergreen, after the snow stopped today:

Out the front door this morning:

The driveway, before shoveling:

John shoveling the driveway:

The house, after shoveling (and the buried mailbox):

The neighbors, also shoveling:

And Roxy, peeing in the clearing we shoveled for her:

You’re welcome.  🙂

So yeah, we have lots of snow.  We came in from shoveling around 11:30 or so, showered, and then had breakfast even though it was after noon.  Hot chocolate (of course), cereal (Wegman’s version of Lucky Charms), and muffins.  And we watched a little TV.  Since then, I’ve been messing around on the internet, and John has been stealing cars and beating people up.  Seriously.  Oh, yeah, and we’re drinking champagne that’s been in the fridge since New Year’s.  It’s better aged.  🙂

Snow in March is not cool

So we got more than 4 inches of snow last night.  It’s March.  It should not be snowing in March.  Not here.  School was out, of course, but the federal government didn’t shut down, so we had work as usual.  It just took us a little longer to get there.  John’s class got canceled, though.  It’s a little ridiculous that his evening class was canceled.  I mean, the morning classes, sure, but by early afternoon, all the roads were clear.

I don’t really have anything to say today.  I could complain about our DVR (we recorded Friday’s episode of Battlestar Galactica, but for some reason it won’t play), but I don’t really feel like it.  I don’t really feel like complaining at all, actually.  Surprising.  🙂  I’m just tired.  Today felt stressful, even though there wasn’t anything stressful about it.  I felt rushed this morning because I was supposed to be at work in time for a 10am conference call.  I called in from the car (we didn’t get to work until about 10:15), and the people from the Department never showed up, so that call ended quickly.  Our boss understood our tardiness (the roads were mostly a mess and everyone was driving REALLY slowly even where the roads were clear), so that wasn’t a cause for stress.  And then the day dragged on forever.

That sounded like complaining.

Wonderful snowy morning

I hate being cold, but I love being snuggled up inside when it’s snowing outside.  I got to spend part of my afternoon curled up on the couch under a blanket, with one of my favorite books and a mug of hot chocolate, while I watched snow drift down out the window.  It’s not snowing anymore, and we didn’t get very much (and it’s starting to melt away already), but I just like to see it come down.  Unfortunately, I don’t get to spend the entire day inside.  The grocery store beckons.