Tag Archives: snow

Go for the Gold

The winter Olympics are coming up, so I hope you’re ready to compete for national pride!

Well, maybe you’re not an Olympic athlete in the traditional sense, but I suggest we look into some new alternative events.  After all, anyone who has slipped on a fabric softener sheet and performed a double axle on the kitchen floor knows we’ve been training our lives for these moments.

“Slush Shopping Slalom”

In this event our amateur athletes at the grocery store get behind the wheels of a grocery cart and enter not a smooth and icy track like a bobsledder gets, but the slush-filled parking lot of the store.

Large amounts of stamina are required to make it to their car in less than 10 minutes. And while lower body strength is needed to propel the cart through the slush, upper body strength is necessary to try and steer the cart away from the direction the slush wants to go—most often into another parked car.

The athlete who clocks the quickest time from the automatic door of the store to their car without taking out any pedestrians is declared the wintery winner.

“Weather Update Biathlon”

While the biathlon usually includes cross country skiing with random stops to shoot things with a rifle, this event requires the athlete to check the weather report by running to the window to see if it’s started/stopped snowing yet, checking other sources of information—Internet, TV, radio—and then shooting off updates to anyone who will listen.

Competitors who can do this the most number of times in an hour will be annoying, but also declared the winner. Extra points are given for checking more than one source simultaneously.

“Digging the Car Out of the Snow Sprint”

In this event, the athlete is given a shovel, an ice scraper, a parked car and two feet of snow. The first team to get their car out of the driveway and get to work on time wins.

Using your arms to push the snow off the hood of the car and/or the automatic car starter for the front windshield is legal, as is using various forms of profanity. However, bribing the neighbor kid to help by stealing their sled is grounds for immediate disqualification.

Bonus points are given to the competitor who can open up the driver’s side door without any snow falling onto the driver’s side seat.

“Outdoor Freestyle Photography”

Here competitors are given a digital camera and 30 minutes to go outside and take pictures of how much snow has fallen, often using things like rulers stuck in the snow for comparison and captions like, “What happened to global warming?” and “Can you believe how much snow that we got?”

After the time is up, each athlete is required to submit their top images to the judges who will decide a winner based on technical merit, required elements, presentation and number of “likes” on Facebook.

“Refuse Relay”

Athletes are timed as they put on multiple layers of clothes and run from the warmth of their house to the trash bins stationed outside, deposit the bag of trash, wheel the bin down to the curb and then sprint back into the house, all before a) the trash collector comes and b) they freeze their ass off.

This event is usually frantically done in the early morning hours on the day of trash collection, and bonus style points are given to the competitor who can take off their winter boots without losing a sock in the process.


So as you can see, this will obviously require massive amounts of carb loading and couchgating on my end. Lucky for me, unlike skiing or luge—this is an activity I’ve been training for my whole life.

Go for the gold!

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Brush It Off

For many people who live in a state that experiences winter—and I don’t mean 50 degrees one day out of the year, California friends—snow is inevitable.

That means that for those of us who don’t keep their vehicle in a covered garage because the weirdos that built their house 60 years ago failed to equip the garage door with the tools to be automatic, scraping the ice and snow off said vehicle is pretty much a regular thing.

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It’s also almost a science.

I have a remote car starter that I can activate from the warmth of my house, but it’s an automatic car starter—not an automatic “scrape all the crap off your entire snow-covered vehicle including the roof and the back end”-type thing.

There’s still quite a bit of work to be done.

  • Hit the starter so the defroster can begin its work.
  • Dress as warmly as possible with coat, hat and gloves. Take off my gloves when I remember I can’t tie my boots with big gloves on.
  • Gloves off, I tie my boots and make sure to tuck my pants into my socks so I don’t a) lose my sock when I take off my boots and b) get snow stuck in my boot.
  • Put gloves back on. Struggle to unlock and open the door.
  • Take gloves off, open door, head outside and put gloves back on.
  • Get distracted and shovel the walkway.
  • Grab snow brush out of my car.
  • Brush the burst of snow off the driver’s seat that falls in upon opening the door. Every. Single. Time.
  • Start with brushing the snow off the roof.
  • Curse the wind that is blowing the snow directly back into my face and continue to brush what I can reach, leaving an icy unreachable island in the middle of the roof.
  • Move on to the side and back windows. Feel proud that I remembered to brush off the lights and my license plate, both caked with ice.
  • Prepare plan of attack for the windshield. Sometimes there’s only a dusting of ice that the defroster can tackle alone. However, some mornings the ice is so thick that I need the strength of a roided up rhino to scrap that stuff off.
  • While strategizing, a large gust of wind will blow through.
  • Notice that half of the snow from the hood of my car is now lodged between my sock and my boot.
  • Wonder why I’m living in such a frigid climate, how the bastard groundhog keeps his job and yell at the garage as it mocks me.
  • Take rage out on scraping off ice.
  • Scrape, scrape, scrape…still scraping.
  • Lift up frozen windshield wipers.
  • Scrape, curse, scrape, curse, scrape…still scraping, still cursing.
  • Realize the defroster is starting to kick in and actually helping me out.
  • Quit cursing.
  • Get hit in the face with the snow from the roof that I couldn’t reach with the brush.
  • Resume cursing.
  • Decide it’s “clean enough” and walk back towards the house.
  • Shovel the walkway again before struggling to unlock and open the door.
  • Take gloves off, open door, head inside and take off boots.
  • Build small igloo out of snow that’s removed from my boot.
  • Show cat small igloo made from snow that’s removed from my boot.
  • Clean up bloody scratches on my arms from less-than-thrilled cat.
  • Decide it’s not worth leaving home.
  • Turn off car.
  • Make tea.
  • Spike tea.
  • Count down the days until spring.

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Be Mine

I would be remiss if I didn’t at least mention Valentine’s Day—that holiday in between Christmas and Mother’s Day that card and flower companies use to guilt people into spending more money in an effort to show that they care.

I know. I’m a hopeless romantic.

But to be honest, even though I’m single and not willing to mingle, I really don’t mind Valentine’s Day. I like the decorations, the fact that I have a reason to bake and the image of a meddlesome cherub flying around armed with a weapon.

So to celebrate the holiday this year, I’ve decided to forgo sending myself a heartfelt card and instead explore a few viable Valentine options. (Food and drink suitors were excluded, as those are obviously tops on my list.)

My Shovel

We have been spending a great deal of intimate time together these past couple of months. It hasn’t been easy, but I have to admit that the shovel’s icy demeanor is oddly compatible to my own. Together we have made the neighbors jealous with our quick and thorough removal of things in our way—mostly large amounts of snow—which left me feeling slightly superior and a little bit cold.

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Okay. Mostly cold.

And while I get the feeling that as soon as things heat up it’ll be gone, I’m okay with the seasonal nature of our relationship. I like my space…and being warm.

My Couch

If by “afternoon delight” you mean coming home after work, watching “Ellen,” plodding away on the computer and then eating, we have a serious thing going and have for some time.

Our love is nothing new — my couch gets me, it really gets me. While it took me a long to let myself literally settle down and relax, I now find comfort—and often a stray piece of broccoli — in the confines of the cushions.

Scentsy

We were introduced this past Christmas by my mom, and given my love for smelly things and not being left in the dark, this combination nightlight/air freshener is basically all that is proper and good in this world. Never fussy, never needy, a simple flip of the switch radiates both light and light scents. I have to admit that I’m smitten.

Uncle June

This cranky bastard is still hanging around, and while he’s a good backup plan and travel companion, the drunk dials at 2am have seriously got to stop.

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However, I just can’t deny that creepy little face and the fact that he speaks not a word.

This Blog

We fall in and out of love, usually on a day-to-day basis. At times I feel like I don’t know what I would do without it, while other times I feel like it’s that pain-in-the-ass friend you have to constantly reassure isn’t a huge loser who nobody loves (and that no, their ass doesn’t look big in those pants.)

Our relationship has spanned years of good times and bad and evolved into something I never thought it would—a book, priceless connections, a reason to overshare and broadcast insecure rambles to strangers on the Internet.

But I suppose that’s just how love is—a wonderfully messy mix of delight, frustration and Internet stalking.

I know. I’m a hopeless romantic.

*This post was not sponsored by Scentsy. However, Uncle June slipped me $20 to mention him.

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Who is your Valentine this year?

Forecast: Sunny with a chance of jazz hands

There’s no polite way to say this, so I’ll just come out with it. I’ve developed unnatural annoyance towards the local weatherman. Let me explain the rationale I use to help me make this seem okay:

Forecast: Obnoxiously Sunny Disposition

While I’m all for enthusiasm, he is entirely too excited about his job —and natural disasters — and wants everyone else to be too. Whether he’s stuck outside in a blizzard with icicles forming from his snotty nose or simply flashing his jazz hands in front of a green screen, he’s entirely too spastic. A raindrop falls, graphs are drawn and excited overanalysis begins. 

Forecast: Flood of Hyperbole

He completely abuses his “Severe Weather” and “Breaking News” privileges.

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Yes, we get severe weather, but not every day. His hyperbole and penchant for overexcitement and exaggeration—actually using the phrase “Snowpacolypse” on multiple occasions —have left me indifferent to possible natural disasters. Until I hear sirens and a cow flies by my window, I will assume he’s simply meteorologically manic. Again.

Forecast: Cloudy Credibility

I understand he’s trying to predict the future, but he’s wrong quite often. In an effort to gain credibility, he will tell you to take an umbrella if it’s raining and wear a warm coat when it snows. We will then be inundated with station promos about how they “brought us the most accurate forecast” in the area.  My suggestion would be to focus on the forecast for 10 minutes from now, not 10 days, and stay humble. You don’t get bonus points for doing your job.

Forecast: Slightly Corny

I often feel like I’m watching bad stand-up and the annoying “filler” banter back and forth with the anchor borders on adolescent awkwardness.  Weather puns will be made. He will call her by some abbreviated form of her name and “Suze” will politely laugh while looking directly into the camera instead of at him. If it’s nice out, she’ll thank him for the nice day, to which he will reply, "You’re welcome", as if he had control of it.  They will laugh and laugh and laugh…

Forecast:  Condescension, not to be confused with condensation

Finally—and most importantly—he makes me feel like a social reject with absolutely no life (on this he’s only halfway right—as usual.) Every forecast is prefaced with something along the lines of, “If you’re getting ready to go out to dinner tonight” or “If you’re planning a picnic followed by a long walk on the beach tomorrow” etc. Never does he say, “If you’re planning on sitting on your couch in your yoga pants watching the ball game and writing a blog post while trying to find that piece of food you just dropped down your shirt,” plan on partly sunny skies.

Extended Forecast

Even with all that said, I still watch the weather, mostly because the weatherman has convinced me that I need to find out how the weather won’t be when I’m sitting on my couch in yoga pants watching the ball game and writing a blog post while trying to find that piece of food I just dropped down my shirt.

But I have started to switch to the Weather Channel and their “Local on the 8’s” instead. I usually don’t remember the forecast five minutes after I’ve watched it, but I know it will run again in 10 minutes and the music is catchy.

And catchy music means there’s a strong chance of an impromptu dance party in my living room—with jazz hands, of course.

Summer Rhyme Time

Today’s post is the result of what happens when it’s 96 degrees outside and I don’t have air conditioning. It is also a combined effort of a prompt from Studio 30 Plus—Summer Days—and the Red Dress Club—something you memorized or remember from childhood.

Mine involves a hook man and a pot selling ice cream truck. Go figure.

Anyway, it’s a two-for-one prompt special today. Next time I will try and compose something more coherent and less heat-stroke induced. Now without further ado (ahem–clearing throat here,) begin!

Long gone are the mornings spent scraping off snow,

wearing our hats and gloves each place we go.

Flip-flops (or no shoes) replace our big boots,

and out come the T-shirts and bright bathing suits.

But when I was a kid summer meant a bit more,

you never quite new what fun could be in store.

No school to attend and no homework to do,

or boring assemblies left to sit through. 

Instead I would sit on my bike or the swings,

falling in rosebushes, icing bruised things.

Wiffle ball games were held back in the grass,

so that it would hurt less to slide on your ass.

The arguments came with about every play,

as someone who sucked at the game would then say:

“I so wasn’t out, you can all go to hell,

get off of my property before I tell.”

Running through sprinklers and stepping on bees,

Skateboarding fearlessly, skinning our knees.

The trampoline served as a real launching point,

as we “popcorned” each other right out of the joint.

Over the fence they would fly with great height,

setting new records for seconds in flight.

Slip and splash basically served as a way

to quickly maim someone through innocent play.

SlipnSlide

A water-slicked tarp leading straight down a hill?

A highway to taking one hell of a spill.

Trucks all pimped out with some music and lights,

would sell us kids all kinds of frozen delights.

(Looking back now I think most of those rides

were really a front to sell pot on the side.)

At any rate, we ate treats in a cone,

and our parents bought brownies and left us alone.

We always would find that one friend with a pool,

(the one that we never hung out with at school.)

Camping’s been talked about here once before,

but it’s simply a summer thing I can’t ignore.

For I still remember the fear and the fright,

when told of the Hook Man each hot summer night.

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Thanks to the moron who told me that bit,

I was waiting for serial killers to hit.

(Another reason I don’t like camping.)

Anyway, now that I’m older and work every day,

this “job” that I speak of just gets in the way.

Work on my tan is replaced with real stuff,

like deadlines and editing drafts that are rough.

But things balance things out with the sunshine and heat,

flowers in bloom and the market with treats.

My skin glows with color and freckles appear,

that normally hide for the rest of the year.

The smell of a charcoal grill still can’t be beat,

even though I’m not into consumption of meat.

Things can get steamy, uncomfortably so,

but at least I’m not shoveling three feet of snow.

So while things are different for whatever reason,

summer is still quite a wonderful season.

I might not get weeks off but with any luck,

I soon will cross paths with that great ice cream truck,

(For ice cream, of course.)

Humor me—summer memories from childhood?

Snowpocalypse

People who actually use the word “snowpocalpyse” should be dragged out back and beaten with a wet noodle. It’s not clever, and in fact, it’s quite annoying.

These same people most likely shorten the name of things that are already shortened or combine the two names of a couple. I repeat—it’s not clever, and in fact, it’s quite annoying.

Pardon me if I sound a bit cold—emotionally, not physically—but I am in Michigan and they are once again predicting the biggest storm of the season to hit later this week, with around 10-16 inches predicted for the area.

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This was last year’s storm of the season.

If you live in a state that actually has winter—and 50 degrees does not count as winter to all you California dreamers that complain about rain—you expect that snow will be part of the forecast. But whether it’s because we’re all stuck inside for these cold winter months or because CSI: NY is in reruns and we’re bored, people tend to go crazy and get obsessed with the weather (and use words like “snowpocalypse.”)

Here are several things that will happen:

  • Manic meteorologists will spend more time telling you that their station has been tracking the storm longer than anyone else than they will actually spend talking about the storm itself. This is their Super Bowl.
  • Even if no snow has fallen yet and it has been discovered that there is a recall on oxygen for the entire planet, the news will still lead off with a “breaking news” bulletin to tell you about the impending snowy doom of the area. And remember, you heard it there first.
  • Facebook will become the repository for complaints about it being snowy and having to shovel or about the meteorologists being wrong if the storm does in fact pass by without declaring war against our four-wheel drive.

shovel

  • There will be multiple jokes about the lack of global warming. None of them will be funny.
  • Kids everywhere will be making silent deals with the devil in order to have a snow day, while parents everywhere will be making silent deals with the devil in order to send them off to school.

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  • People who have lived through multiple winters will still neglect to brush the snow off their car and turn on their lights before proceeding to forget how to drive.
  • A majority of people will decide that they have to stock up on toilet paper, bread and shovels and talk about nothing except the snow. In Michigan. In winter.

I’m not saying I like the snow— I don’t—but it’s expected and inevitable. I am exponentially less pleasant to be around when we lose power, so as long as that doesn’t happen, I can survive.

(And for all of you who tell me to move to a warmer climate, thank you for the suggestion. That will be feasible as soon as I am discovered as the next “Dear Abby” and given a column and condo in California or swept off my feet by a tropical Romeo. The likelihood of either being less than that of a “snowpacalypse” in hell.) 

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Anyway, here’s my advice:

  • Make sure that your car has a full tank of gas and emergency provisions in case you get stuck—boots, gloves, blanket, flask of Vodka—the basics.
  • Don’t rent a new release from the video store, as you will be required to leave your snow shelter to return it the next day under the threat of a possible late fee.
  • Stock up on the essentials you will need to get your through not one, but possibly two (gasp) weekdays without going to the store.
  • Be prepared to shovel and listen to everyone else complain about having to shovel—usually the same people that complain it’s too hot in the summer.
  • Remember that despite the current snowy situation, Opening Day for baseball season is just two months away.

That, my friends, warms even my cold little heart.

Yes, I’m nosy

I had another rather opinionated post that I was working on, but it was interrupted by some hemorrhaging from my head, so you get this instead. It’s probably a good thing that I wait to publish the other one, as I should edit a bit.

At any rate, back to head hemorrhaging.

Along with being kind of large, my nose is prone to bleeding in the winter months when the air is dry. No, I don’t pick my nose and cause it to bleed as so many people remark. But rather the simple act of inhaling and exhaling—rather necessary, I might add — or the occasional nose blowing can cause a nosebleed.

It’s not a big deal at all, other than being an inconvenience, which it totally was last night when I got one while shoveling my driveway with the ferocity of a manic gnat with roid rage. My quest to remove the frozen slush was interrupted by what I thought was the typical “noseous runneous” so common when outside at night in the winter.

Red snow is a bit scarier than yellow snow. Don’t eat either of them.

So I found myself inside, lying on my back in the bathroom staring at my ceiling, tending to what I prefer to call an overuse injury. While I was studying the shower curtain liner, it occurred to me that I’ve never talked about my nose on here. Considering it was basically begging for attention at that moment in time, I figured I might as well.

The thing is, I’ve never really had traditional body image issues. I know that sounds weird coming from someone “with issues,” but if you’ve known me for more than five minutes, you know the deal. Much like bloody noses, we won’t clot up the space with that info once again.

But I have always had a part of my body that I was very self-conscious of—not my legs, not my stomach, but my nose.

See, it’s kind of big and had a bump in the middle of it.

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Ever since it matured, I’ve despised it and wondered why I couldn’t get matching bumps a bit lower instead. I would cover my nose up in pictures to see what I would look like with a “normal” nose, started researching rhinoplasty when I was nine and too smart for my own good and went out of my way to make sure my profile was minimally photographed.

My mom always told me I was nuts, but there were a few kids that validated this insecurity for me (the nose, not the mental instability.) Middle school was the worst. I admit I didn’t help myself with bad perms and questionable fashion choices, but that awkward phase is made even more awkward when your insecurity is literally staring you in the face—and if you’re a loud sneezer.

High school was better and I kind of grew used to it. I actually got a body to distract from the schnoz and developed a personality that slowly found validation in things I did and not in how I looked from the side.

But it was — and still is — one of my biggest body image issues.

The irony is that the thinner I get, the sharper and more prominent my facial features become. I look better when my face fills out, and not just because of the nose thing, so if nothing else you would think appealing to the attention whore in me would speed up this process.

You would think.

Anyway, as my nose matured, so did I. The nose I have is the same nose that my grandpa had, my mom has and a majority of my aunts, uncles and cousins have. Along with kielbasa, chrusciki, a love of baseball and politically incorrect humor, carrying on this Polish protuberance is sort of like a family seal.

Do I love it? Heck no, but I do love my family (with a few exceptions.) When I started to look at the profile of my nose instead of my nose in profile, my obsession over it slowly went away. Plus, it’s kind of important for that whole breathing thing. Barring a few nosebleeds, it does it’s job well.

But if offered would I get a nose job today?

Nope, and not just because I’m cheap. But grandma didn’t pass along her ample boobs, so those puppies are up for grabs.

Figuratively, of course.