I was standing at the end of my driveway, grumbling to myself as I shoveled away the remnants of the sky’s latest bounty (the sky has been quite generous lately) when I heard a truck rev its engine as it climbed the hill toward my house. I couldn’t actually see the truck – or anything for that matter – due to the gigantic pile of snow next to my driveway. However, after listening for a moment, I knew the source of that muffler-free noise to be the ride of my old friend, Rick O’Shea.

He parked his truck so that it blocked my driveway, creaked open the driver’s door, and hopped out. He looked at me for a second. “Is that your gutter I see in the side yard?”

Yeah. It liberated itself from my house yesterday, and thoughtfully left a piece of itself hanging on the power line. The power company had to come out and remove it.

“Is that the gutter that you had been meaning to get replaced?”

No, I did replace that gutter with a new one. As you can see, it’s the one that is now bent by the effort of supporting that incredible amount of ice hanging over my driveway. The one that fell was the ‘good’ gutter on the other side of the house. I guess that gutter just couldn’t handle any more of the weather and leapt to its death. Who knew that gutters got depressed?

“I’m sure you could have saved the poor thing if you had hauled yourself up and broken up some of the ice.”

If I had tried to do that, I would be lying shattered in my side yard next to the gutter, waiting for the spring melt before someone comes to retrieve me.

“I see that you made the effort with your shed. The roof looks like you shoveled it off. That decision just smacks of favoritism – you must like your shed more than your gutters.”

My shed houses the most important tool I own – the snow blower – so it gets preferential treatment. I had to wade through the hip-deep snow with a ladder, balance the ladder on packed snow and scrape about 3 feet of snow and ice off of the roof. I’m glad my life insurance company didn’t find out about it.

“Why didn’t you just clamber up onto the roof and shovel it like a normal person?”

Two reasons: First, I am not the size of a normal person. The shed roof already had 3 feet of wet snow up there, I wasn’t confident that it could handle the additional load of my bulk. Second, clambering is not in my arsenal. I had visions of sliding off of the roof and impaling myself on the fence.

“It’s a bad winter when you have to choose between your shed and your gutters.”

This winter is just amazing. Everyone I run into has a worn down and frightened look – as if people are afraid that the snow might not stop before it’s destroyed us all. This week it was almost a relief that we were only getting one storm for about 2-4 inches. When I see the weather people predicting new and awful storms every week, I actually get upset. That hasn’t happened to me before.

“You might need to toughen up a bit. Either that, or move to a warmer climate.”

Perhaps, but I like the fact that the cold weather means that I don’t have to check my shoes in the summer for poisonous beasties. I like to think I’m a little tougher than the beasties, but this winter is making me question that idea.

Also, this weather is starting to impact my view of the world. I was previously on the fence about the whole global warming thing, but I hear that one of the symptoms is more water vapor in the air. With all of the rain and now with this winter, I think I’m coming around on that one.

“Well, you should def – BEEEEEEP!”

Rick’s point was cut off by the horn of a car. The car was unable to get around Rick’s truck and the driver was unwilling to wait for a natural end to our conversation. (For two cars to pass one another on my street, one must either merge with a snow bank or duck into a driveway. It’s like a game of chicken) Rick waved apologetically to the other driver, and in a moment his truck rattled out of sight behind a wall of snow.