The storm, the tumble, and the grudge

I’ve said it before and I’m saying it again: I’m a big fan of Mother Nature, but sometimes she drives me to the brink of wanting to play a winter game using house-invading rodents as targets on a Tee-Ball stand. It’s been so cold lately eagles are soaring around clutching huge snowshoe hares just to keep their claws warm. My mutant mutt Howard now has developed a winter coat so thick that he resembles a musk ox and I’ve tied a flasher to his tail designating which end to feed. Once again Alaska has turned into a monstrous, human-flavored Sno-Cone and we’re only about a third of the way through the challenge. Now don’t get me wrong. Some ice is cool. Popsicles are a treat unless they’re being wielded by a deranged proctologist. And let’s not forget how the frozen substance enhances ice hockey, ice sledding and ice racing along with its soothing application to areas of the body sprained, maimed, smashed and totaled by participating in the aforementioned sports. But ice has its treacherous side too, especially when it sneaks up on you when you are trying to maneuver the deck’s stairs while trying to wrestle a grumpy old toy poodle that’d rather pee on a nice warm rug rather than a snow bank. She lost her battle. I lost my footing. She went flying as did my butt. She landed in a nice drift. I totaled out on a glaciated berm. I now have zip code-size bruises from the neck down and a left foot that only operates on days with an “o” in them. I’m looking for puppy Depends for our disgruntled princess and have bought stock in the company producing Advil. I should have figured that we were in for a wild ride when the first storm hit around here a few weeks back. At the beginning things weren’t too bad. The road had to be plowed a couple of times, normal stuff. Then came the insidious rain and the dilemma of getting my wife’s car ready in the morning without doing a double back flip after coming out of an unsightly pirouette off the deck stairs. I solved the issue when I inadvertently discovered that intense and flamboyant swearing while in mid air would instantaneously melt ice down to the gravel within a six-foot radius of her rig (although it certainly didn’t do much during the flying poodle incident). Ice cleats helped too, of course. Getting her to the car was one thing. Piloting the car up to the main road to town was another. Although our street is flat, it leads to a lane that is a challenging incline covered with rain-bathed ice so slick that the Earth rotates under it. Cue the sanding professionals. No problem. She was gone without a problem. I was smug for a couple days until the winds came and brought some delightful white-out weather. Mother Nature had upped the ante and the battle of wills was on. I kept up with the snowfall for a couple of days until Ma ratcheted her bluster fan to “flatten the ville” during the night and drifted solid everything from the deck to the town access road. I didn’t realize how deep until I marched off what I thought was the last step and suddenly sank up to my nether regions that were not properly prepared for such an adventure by my usual microfleece long johns. The resulting screech set off a small roof avalanche that destroyed the path I had just cut from the door to where I disappeared. My wife heard the bellow, looked out and said I reappeared like a giant, ice festooned Sasquatch blasting out of snow cave. I admit my actions might have looked a bit undignified but I needed to get some very important body parts close to a heat source before I ended up speaking in such high soprano that only the dogs could hear me. The plows were so busy that our road wasn’t cleared around 9:30 in the evening, so the wife got a snow day while I thawed in an electric blanket and plotted revenge against the devilish drift that tried to murder me. The mound of death is now gone. The only thing left is the ice berm that I landed on. Those things just won’t die. Just wait until I can walk in a straight line again. I’ve got a propane burner that’s going to settle this feud. The neighbors are giving each other odds on a deck fire. Go figure. Nick can be reached at ncvarney@gmail.com.

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