Sometimes, here in Maine, it's hard to think about anything but surviving. Especially for those of us who live in the more rural areas. It's as if Mother Nature says, "forget all that other crap you're dealing with and focus on this, right now."
As the weather guys on TV said, we just 'experienced a winter storm.' I would amend that slightly. We just got dumped on. BIG TIME. We're used to snow. We get snowed on a lot, and that's actually one of the things I like about Maine. But this was more - a lot more - than the usual storm. We had about 18 or 20 inches of gorgeous white precipitation, and suddenly, our priorities shifted.
Now, some people will talk about how beautiful it is, and show pictures of trees laden down with glistening snow; or how fun it is to play in, and show pictures of kids and their sleds or snow men. I'm not going to do that. I'm pretty sure there are enough bloggers out there to cover that topic, and they're all right. It IS pretty, and it IS fun to play in. But there are a lot of factors that affect how much fun it is, and I'm going to list a few of those here for you southern folks.
FUN or CRAP? ISSUES DETERMINING ENJOYMENT OF WINTER STORMS
1. How much snow? 6 inches - pretty and fun. 20 inches - too much.
2. How much snow did you already have? If you already had snowbanks too high to see over when you wanted to pull out of your driveway, more snow is not always a good thing.
3. How much space do you have to store snow? One of the biggest issues is becoming 'where do we pile the snow?' We live on a major road, and aren't allowed to push it across the street (although sometimes we do...shhhh!) so it just gets plowed up until the snowbanks are as high as the second story of my house. I am perfecting the 'listen and pray' method of determining when it's safe to pull out of the driveway.
4. Do you have a garage? Huge factor, this one. If you have a garage, your life is totally different than us garage-less folks. Cleaning off your cars after a big storm is a major undertaking, and for us it's usually a task completed in a giant rush while the plow guy waits, looking grumpy. I-HEART-GARAGES. I plan to get one someday.
5. How much snow do you have to shovel by hand? Again, this is a huge issue. If you have a small area to shovel, you may actually enjoy it. I've heard of this, although I don't really understand the feeling. We have to shovel so much you wouldn't even believe it. Front steps and pathway. Back deck. Mailbox (if it survived the big state plow). Path to dog yard. Path through dog yard. Gates (and there are a lot of them). Individual dog spaces (30-plus of them) so that they all can access their houses and food bowls. Individual dog pens, where older dogs or puppies live, so that they stay secure (after 3 feet of snow falls, a safe 6-foot fence becomes a unsafe 3 foot fence). There's more, but you get the idea.
6. What is your method of heating your home? This becomes important relating to #5, because if you heat by oil, you have to shovel a path to the oil-fill pipe, or they won't deliver oil. And today's delivery day.
7. What is your back-up heating method? This relates to loss of power situations, which we had to deal with this time around. Luckily, we have our power back now, but there are 70,000 people in Maine who are still without electricity as I write this. If you have a good system to heat your home while the power is out, then you're in a better spot. Us? not a great back-up system. Gotta think about that one for next year. I was surprised to find out that wood pellet-burning stoves, which everybody was buying like crazy up here when oil was so expensive, actually need electricity to run. Who knew?
8. How hard is it to remove snow from your roof? I don't even want to think about this, but it has to be done. Sigh.
There's more, but I think you get the picture. It's beautiful, all right, but sometimes it's hard to notice that part, at least until you get by the surviving part. I took some pictures yesterday, and if any of them came out, I'll post them later on. In the meantime, I have to go and catch up on reading blogs. No power is bad for my blog habit!
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