25 February 2009

One of these days...

I will actually post a coherent update.

However, until then... some highlights from the past week.

* The kids had a week off school, plus one day.

* We saw about six robins in a tree during a snowstorm.

* On Sunday night, we had a significant snowstorm.

* The power went off just as the snow began.

* The power stayed off until yesterday.

* I hate our elderly, dying snowblower.

* I love our neighbor who helped with the driveway with his younger, healthier snowblower.

* I love hot water. I mean, I really want to hug and kiss it and snuggle with it. I missed it while it was gone.

* I forgot about my son's tropical fish (and their lack of a heated tank) until yesterday morning. Miraculously, they are still alive. Sort of.

* My dad is visiting for the week.

More updates and photos of all this - other than the fish - very soon!

Copyright © 2009 - Paulla Estes

19 February 2009

It's Mid-Winter and I'll Cry if I Want To

This is the time of year that I begin to hate winter. It's odd because the days are getting (a tiny bit) longer, and really, it isn't as cold as it was. (20 degrees is quite warm after many days well below zero).

For me, it's the snow. Not the snow, in and of itself, but the CONSISTENCY of the snow. Back when it was cold (you know, way back when, in January), the snow was wonderful. Beautiful! It was fluffy and pretty and was how snow should be. When we shoveled, it simply flew out of the shovel.

Now, it is slush. Evil slush. Sure, gone are the freezing temps, but with that comes yucky, messy, drippy slush. Literally, it is slush when it falls out of the sky.

This morning I was pleased to see only about 4 or 5 inches of snow on the driveway (after 6-12 had been forecasted), but it was harder to remove than a foot of cold snow. It was like soup. And to add insult to injury, it was no longer snowing. It was raining.

Our snowblower is just that - a SNOWblower. It blows snow. It doesn't know what to do with slush. I have to sweet-talk it and man-handle it and threaten it a bit to get it to deal with the slush.

This morning, as I wrestled it through the end-of-the-driveway-purgatory of hard-snow-plow-packed slush, at one point, it stopped throwing the slush (or gurgling it, as the case would be). I kept pushing it, but then I saw (and smelled) smoke.

Thankfully, it was cram-packed with slush, so I dug it all out with a broom handle and we were good to go.

I did notice that my neighbor started snow blowing his driveway AFTER I was already out there, and then he finished before me. I think I hate him.

Afterward, I went inside to take a shower, and when I walked into the bathroom I heard that unmistakable drip, drip, drip. That would be the tell-tale sign of ice-damming on the roof. The water is dripping down inside the wall next to the bathroom window. I wanted to cry.

Instead I left the cold house and went to the library. Denial can be very sweet. Besides, in two months, the snow will all be gone, and with it the dripping. Right?

Copyright © 2009 - Paulla Estes

11 February 2009

Robin Sighting

Today is another balmy day (35 degrees, but feels like 50 - is that even possible?)

I always attribute the change of season to my first robin sighting of the year. It usually happens sometime in March, and really, it doesn't mean anything as far as the weather goes, but it helps me in my pretending.

Today, however, I saw a robin. We haven't even passed mid-February. Is he lost? Or, do I dare say, does this mean Spring is coming early this year? What about all the groundhog nonsense? The powers-that-be told us that not only will Spring NOT come early, it might not come at all. Ever.

Ok, not really, but some days it feels like that. For me anyway. In February.

Yesterday my husband emailed me the link to one of his favorite comic strips. He says this is me...

Or here is the LINK in case this is too small to read.

And actually, if you follow that link and look at the strip for the NEXT day, I'd say that's more me. Every year I look out at the snow banks that are higher than my head and I wonder about global warming. Every year I bring in firewood to heat our home because it is BELOW ZERO outside, and I wonder, where the heck IS that global warming?

I think it spends its winters in Florida.

Copyright © 2009 - Paulla Estes

09 February 2009

Ice, Ice, Baby.

So, after having temperatures well below freezing since like, LAST SUMMER, yesterday we had a bit of a thaw. Actually, it was QUITE a thaw. My car thermometer read 42 degrees at the warmest part of the day, and I'm pretty sure the thermometer wasn't damaged (from all the cold of course) because when I got into the car, it actually felt warm. Foreign concept!

The snow and ice build-up that has been plaguing our driveway turned to water yesterday. Water! Liquid! Yes, it was THAT warm. I found myself saying, "Why did I bring this coat?" And someone wisely answered, "Because it's February." Yeah, whatever.

After turning the heat down and not bothering to start a fire in the wood stove, we went to bed with winds howling around the house. I thought, "Yay, the wind will dry up all the water and Spring will be here in the morning!"

Uh, no.

This morning, it was about 9 degrees out there. The 3-foot walls of snow that line the sides of our driveway had only melted down to 2.5-foot walls. The ice and snow that turned to water on our driveway did not blow away. Rather, it froze. Solid.

Bring out the ice-skates, winter is still here.

Copyright © 2009 - Paulla Estes

06 February 2009

Coming up for air...

... or poking my nose out of our warm house into the cold, as the case would be here in Maine.

This has been the week that I thought would never end. When I think back just five days ago to Monday, it feels as though it was a month ago. Here is what has been going on in our neck of the woods:

* our dog got sick, got sicker, and then got sick enough to go to the vet; several hundred dollars later, it seems he had eaten a piece of hard plastic which ultimately worked its way out on its own and now he is fine. Go figure.

* our daughter, who is a freshman in high school, is on the JV basketball team and has been asked to swing up to Varsity; while this is a great honor, it means my hubby and I are watching YET ANOTHER basketball game every couple of days, and 99 percent of the time, she's just sitting the bench.

* it is cold. Ok, sure, it's February in Maine, but c'mon. It seems colder than its been so far this season (though it isn't) and in fact, it seems colder than its been in years. Though I haven't checked any stats, I'm sure this isn't true, so its probably just me.

* we got a new TV; we've been saving for one for quite some time and this is, I think, the highlight of my husband's entire life. Yes, I think this trumps our wedding day and the births of our children. I would include a photo, but the TV is just TOO big. And you can bet that my husband is smiling ear to ear as he reads this.

* ebay has become more complicated. I have been selling much of our old homeschool curriculum on ebay and while it still works for me, it seems much more complicated than it was when I started using it a few years ago. Or maybe it's just me.

* my favorite internet friend (read that, I met her on the internet and we have been friends for years now, but we've never actually met in person) just moved my website to a new server and did all the grunt work for me. In my mind, that trumps the new TV.

* the past has caught up with me as I have somehow come into contact with a bunch of old friends on Facebook. When I say "old friends," we're talking elementary school. 30 years ago. This has been such a trip that I don't even know how to talk about it coherently, but it is pretty cool.

* today I went on a field trip to Portland; I actually rode a school bus with about 40 ninth graders, and we spent the day visiting various houses of worship for a study of religion in a history class. While I secretly wasn't really looking forward to this outing, I signed up so I could be with my daughter for the day. And let me just say, I had a wonderful time. The kids (yes, ninth graders) were, in a word, hilarious. I just love teenagers. Oh God, did I just say that? Seriously, though, my hat goes off to the public school teachers who literally give their lives to our kids each and every day. And I am amazed at the veteran bus drivers who took those big yellow buses through the narrow streets of Portland, complete with traffic, badly parked cars, and snow banks infringing out onto the roads. That is a job I would never want.

* my older daughter used her Christmas money to buy the drum set for guitar hero on xbox. It is quite odd to see your children and their friends playing quasi-band instruments to all the music you loved as a teen - and none of it is real. That makes my head hurt... the unreal part, not the music. Keep the music coming!

* I am learning to knit; it seems like a good winter thing to do, and if I can knit a blanket big enough, it will keep me warm WHILE I am working on it. You know, since I didn't have anything else to do this week.

Ok, I'm off to sit by the fire and once again count the days until spring.

Copyright © 2009 - Paulla Estes