Lost in the Storms

So Seattle has had an honest encounter with winter this year: first we had a few inches of snow that hardened to a nice layer of ice on the frozen ground…then we got ten inches or so of powder on top of that, another four just as that was starting to melt off, then a big thaw, then a sudden, sodden additional four to five inches.

To my surprise, drivers have generally smarter about the hill this year: we've had our share of spinning wheels and drivers giving up on trying to go up the hill and opting to slowly back down the way they came. And while there have been a few near-misses, we haven't had any fender-benders or collisions on the block—a significant improvement from years past when people wantonly abandoned their cars in the middle of the street.

This year, I made a private little vow to myself to keep up with the sidewalk shoveling—particularly once it became clear a freeze was going to keep the first snowfall around. I'd seen enough people tumble ass-over-teakettle on the sidewalk outside the house—and performed more than a few tumbles myself. Once someone tried to cross the street and literally had to crawl, the ice had been so well polished by intrepid drivers. So I'd dutifully clear the sidewalk and put down de-icer, and I'm proud to say that when the street was a sheet of ice, the sidewalk out front was bare and wet and completely safe for pedestrian traffic.

And shoveling the walk...it's amazing the things you find dropped in the snow. Among the treasures I scooped up or uncovered clearing the walk were:

  • three pairs of mittens or gloves
  • a small (child's?) wool scarf
  • mascara
  • eyeliner
  • lip liner
  • a bit of plastic from a car's air dam
  • an unopened bottle of cheap wine
  • a custom mix CD called "Gwen Stefani's Mid-Life Crisis"

Sadly, a few other things have fallen on the walk too: during the 10-inch drop, the leaning pine tree out front lost a seven-foot branch…and during the sloppy five inches that came down last night, a fifteen-foot limb came down. Fortunately, neither hit anybody or any thing. I'd been going out to knock snow off the limbs, but there's only so high you can reach with a garden rake: both limbs that broke were too high up for me to clear. (Of course, it occurred to me I could climb the tree to get to them…but in the snow and ice and dark it didn't seem like a good idea.) I'm hopeful the tree will recover: it has a lot of character.

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