13 Steps to Successful Snow Removal

1. First, have five children. Buy each one a snow shovel.

2. When your children complain and ask, “When are we going to get a snowblower?” explain that you already have one: 5 kids with shovels who tell you how much this blows.

3. Every snow day, wake them early even though there’s no school, so they can help shovel.

4. When friendly neighbors come by with their snow blowers or plows and offer to help you out, thank them and send them away. Explain that you are attempting to teach your children the value of manual labor.

5. Dream of the day you no longer have to lead by example.

6. Be okay with the eldest child moving out– right up until the first time it snows and you realize your work force has decreased by 20%.

7. Break two shovels with use during a heavy snow season and attempt to replace them. Discover that the only shovels available at the hardware stores in the middle of winter are cheap plastic ones that are manufactured in places that never see snow, such as Sri Lanka.

8. Receive, one season, the snow that breaks you. The one you give up on, with the ice layer on top. The one where you can’t even make your kids help out it’s so heavy and brutal. The one where the mailman will no longer deliver your mail anymore because your driveway is too treacherous. Where your dogs slide right out of their collars like Max in The Grinch and go shooting down the hill into the street. The snow that every day the sun messes with a little more, tricking you into believing it’s helping when in actuality it is only creating still more tenacious ice rivers everywhere you need to step.

9. Go online to check the weather and see 40 days and 40 nights of snow coming. Order real shovels off of Amazon.

10. Have the delivery of said shovels delayed by the weather.

11. Reschedule a weather-cancelled outing with a relative and discover he has an extra snowblower. He always was your favorite relative. Not only is this more unlikely and better than extra bacon, but he’s willing to loan it to you until his other one breaks. Forgo sleep to retrieve it. Offer him up to three of your children in exchange for the snowblower. Extoll their shoveling virtues.

12. Come to the understanding that, unlike a pre-season purchase of a snowblower, a mid-season gifting of a snowblower does not possess any snow-preventing voodoo.

13. Bring your children to the understanding that possessing a snowblower does not actually get them out of shoveling detail; it only lightens their load.

Did you have to shovel snow when you were a kid?

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Happy Halloween

I may as well get it out there, because you guys are going to find out sooner or later.

The winter storm that hammered the east coast this weekend was all our fault. Perhaps the fault of my family as a whole, or it may be that the blame can be placed squarely on my shoulders.

#1 believes, and the idea is not without merit, that this was God’s way of telling us that we should have taken our Christmas lights down.

She bases this belief on the fact that the giant branch that landed five feet from her head and could have killed her instead took out the gutters, to which the lights were attached.

If you look at the vertical bar in the center of the picture, that’s the gutter. With the Christmas lights. As far as why those lights are still up, that’s another post entirely.

But it may have been me and what I wrote about Winter on Facebook.

Halloween decorations at the start of the snow
Halloween decorations, plus branches.
Back view

I’ll not be taunting Winter in print in the future.

I feel like we’re the luckiest people on the planet. It’s hard to show in the pictures, but we had two giant branches that just missed doing serious damage to the house, not to mention the one that didn’t land on #1.

Besides the gutters, we got our porch pierced:

And that’s it so far. That’s it!

So. Lucky.

The power’s still out. School is cancelled. I just hipped the little ones to the fact that power out days count as snow days. If we go over three snows days, they have to make it up at the end of the school year. Two down so far, and winter hasn’t even begun.

CC got a generator today, thanks to the shop that our shows rent their sound gear from. We now have heat. We got power to the freezer and the fridge before we lost anything. We have the internet back.

I Facebook-bitched about how the county hadn’t even started to clear our street yet- it’s completely blocked by one of the giant branches that didn’t land on my house- and they showed up within fifteen minutes. Never doubt the power of social media.

No school parties, no Halloween parade, and the neighborhood with the best candy and haunted houses behind us is pitch black and deadly with debris and laden branches that continue to fall. But #1 came home from an errand and said that everyone was out on main street, trick-or-treating where all the businesses have power. They went to main street and hit all the houses between here and there while it was still daylight. As soon as they finish hand washing the dinner dishes by candlelight, we’ll eat candy and make s’mores and continue telling spooky stories that may or may not involve the county’s wood chipper (whirring away in front of the house) and wayward children.

Here’s to Halloween miracles.