Just a bit over a week ago I checked the weather forecast and noted that the experts had decided we were in for some white stuff. No problem. We were way overdue for a small dump so I wasn't worried. My studs were on rims and all I had to do was drop by the shop for a quick NASCAR-type change out and I'd be rolling.
My wife's rig was another matter. I had lead winter like I was aiming at a high flying duck and had ordered tires and rims for her little SUV but there had been some unforeseen delays. That wasn't cool because my bride gets antsy at the first sign of termination dust anywhere near the Kenai and starts digging out the tire chains, "Just in case."
Now that the ground might turn instantly white overnight things were approaching the red-alert stage and even the dogs were getting nervous when she started measuring them for studded booties while stacking every snow removal tool known to Home Depot on the deck.
All sorts of winter boots suddenly appeared from the catacombs of the basement along with enough down clothing to build several gaggles of geese.
My job was to stay out of the way, watch football games and monitor the tire situation by being on phone stand-bye during the shop's operating hours. They were pros and I wasn't that concerned but I still carefully watched for any steam emanating from her ears each day she came home and found her tires hadn't arrived.
Finally the call came and she was set. Needless to say, she was waiting when they opened for business the next morning and thirty minutes later she was rockin' down the road sporting grippers she could rally drive with on Mount McKinley's west buttress.
She was happy; the mutts were happier and subsequently went off winter alert status by trying to bury their spiked booties in the couch.
It might have worked if I hadn't plopped down on it in my Jockeys to slip on a pair of clean socks. Jane said I missed the ceiling fan by a quarter of an inch during the subsequent launch and that she was amazed that I could hit any where near such a high soprano while letting fly with an X-rated tirade that would have cleared a bawdy house in Old Tombstone.
It took a while to find the dogs that finally came crawling out of their special he's-really-p.o'd-this-time hidey holes in search of food and water.
I had cooled off by that time but they still kept large objects between us until the week of the "The Big Dump" and then they needed me again.
Mother Nature figured that we had become way to smug during October and ended the month with a backhand of nasty weather and then a couple of uppercuts of more snow and wind the first week of November. Some of our friends living at higher elevations were buried to the top of their wheel wells and my buddy Wild Willie claimed they only way he could find his goats was by spotting their horns and reeling them in with a lariat.
It wasn't too bad at our place because we're closer to sea level but the situation still kept the plows busy.
Of course a path had to be cut into the yard for our emergency back up dog, Little Bear, who gets lost in a weed patch if it's over 10 inches high. She is very particular where she does her "outside obligations" and if there is not what she considers a proper lane to her toy poodle potty milieu she expresses her displeasure by balancing on her two front paws and attempts to write her initials on the welcome mat. It's not very lady-like but she makes her point. And if the wind is blowing she isn't allowed out by herself and never without a leash. If she isn't tethered down, the wind would catch her during her paw-stand pee and the fluff ball wouldn't touch down until she hits Fairbanks.
My massive dog Howard has no such problems. He just dives headfirst off the deck and then surfaces like nuclear sub 10 feet from his point of entry. He then proceeds to melt everything within three feet, turns, re submerges and pops back up on the deck like an abdominal snow cur and lumbers back inside, calving enough small ice slabs to form a mini-glacier.
It's going to be a really long winter.
Nick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org if he isn't still sitting line trying to get his studded tires put on.
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