Thoughts on Winter

Over the Christmas week and again this current week, I find myself thinking about a popular joke that has made its way around the internet via emails, Facebook, etc. for many years. You know the one. It is written in diary format by a guy/girl who moves to {insert city known for having very snowy winters} and starts out all excited about the snow, progressively loses that enthusiasm more and more each day, and finally ends up cursing the snow and the plow driver who inevitably comes along and buries the end of the driveway within minutes of them shoveling it out……yet, again! I started seeing that joke floating around when I lived in NC. I’d read it through, nod my head, laugh, and think “been there, done that, bought the t-shirt – glad I’m not there anymore!” And then, despite years of insisting I would never live where I had to deal with months of snow, I decided to move back home – to western NY – right smack dab in the Buffalo snow belt!

I was never a fan of winter. Didn’t care much for winter sports or being outside in the cold and snow. Yes, I occasionally enjoyed ice skating at Bullard Park – night skating was the most fun and the building where they had a heater and served hot chocolate made it easy to spend a few hours skating and hanging out with friends. I’ve also been known to bundle up and go sledding, make a few snow angels, and have a few snowball fights in my day. But, for the most part, I much preferred to stay inside in the winter. My brother, on the other hand, loved the snow and being out in it. I always did think he was a little whacky, but, to each his own, as they say. So, the winters in NC were my cup of tea! Just enough snow to remind me that it was pretty and go away before it got irritating. 🙂 We usually had a few days of snow each winter, but it would go away once the sun came out. There were a couple of winters (out of the 26 years I lived there) that brought some significant accumulation that lasted several days. I remember the first year we got buried with a huge snow fall. I didn’t have boots, gloves, or a really warm winter coat. I also didn’t have a snow shovel or other appropriate winter time tools. I had to shovel my deck, steps, and a path to the car. So, I got the dirt shovel out of the shed – learned quick that dirt shovels don’t work in snow – it just sticks to them! But, I am a creative sort……I duct taped a dust pan to the handle of a broom and went out with my shoes, bare hands, and a lightweight jacket and roughly – very roughly – cleared a path in the snow. After that, I bought a snow shovel that never got used. Luckily, if there was any hint of a snow flake in the forecast, the whole state shut down and I didn’t have to deal with it!

So, obviously, one of the things I gave a lot of thought and consideration to when deciding whether or not to move back home was having to deal with the winter months. I admit I was worried about it. I made sure the house I bought had an attached garage – I was determined to never have to clean off a car and carry groceries through the snow – that was the one main must have when it came to a house!!! But, that wasn’t all I worried about. I hadn’t driven in significant snow or ice in a lot of years! And I wasn’t sure how my Mustang would handle in the snow. I decided the benefits of moving far outweighed the concerns I had about the winters. So, here I am.

My first winter here was mild – we only had a couple good snow storms and they didn’t last long. For the most part, it was almost exactly like winters in NC, except it was colder…..and those couple of snow storms were more than I would have had to deal with in NC. I was pleasantly surprised and thought of it as a gift to help me ease into it. I bought a snow shovel called a “snow pusher” that made clearing my driveway and patio easy – I’d just walk behind it pushing the snow out of the way – no need to lift and throw the snow, like normal shovels. I got excited when it did snow and enjoyed watching the girls play and experience deep snow for the first time in their lives. I got right out there with them and played snowball catch and chased them around the yard. Since I didn’t work and there weren’t many bad days, it was easy to just stay home if the weather wasn’t good. It was a good first winter.

I knew I wasn’t lucky enough to get another mild winter, though. The pony didn’t do well driving in snow, so I got a second vehicle so I could take the old girl off the road during the winter months. I had my snow pusher and the cold weather clothes I bought the year before. I was ready! I was very happy that we got a white Christmas……but, then it kept on snowing……..and snowing……..and snowing! It snowed so much and the snow was so wet and heavy that my snow pusher was no longer an easy solution to clearing the driveway. I decided to get a snow blower. Once I got used to it, I liked it! So, we’ve had two major bouts of snow. And this one came with days of single digit temperatures and sub-zero wind chill factors!

But, you know what? I’m finding I don’t look at the snow in the same way I did when I lived here before. Then, I had to clean off cars and dig my way out to get to school or work every day. I had to drive no matter how bad the roads were – unless work, school, or the roads were closed. It was a chore to just survive the day-to-day necessities. But, now, I have very little that I HAVE to go out for. I clean the driveway out in case I need to go somewhere and to keep up with it so it doesn’t get too out of hand. I clear the patio off so the girls can easily get out to do the business. Other than that, I can sit and look out at it. I can appreciate the beauty of it. I can have fun with the girls and the snow blower. I don’t have to dread the snow. Sure, I still don’t LIKE it and I really wish it would snow for a day or two and then go away and I wish it would warm up – I don’t like being cold! But, I really don’t get all upset and irritated with it like I used to. Maybe it is because I don’t NEED to go out in it……..maybe I’m getting better at not letting things I can’t do anything about bother me…….who knows. All I know is I just plain don’t feel the same about winter and snow as I used to and that’s a good thing!

I ventured out yesterday and snapped some photos. Here is what January 2013 in Albion, NY looks like:

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The girls playing in the snow – before the second wave came through and made it much deeper!

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Don’t think I’ll be barbecuing any time soon!

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Breakfast on the patio, anyone?

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The canal is drained for the winter and the barges that are parked until spring look pretty sad stuck in the ice and snow!

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Ducks out on the frozen river at Point Breeze

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Lake Ontario at Point Breeze — icy waves!

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Another shot of the frozen chunks covering Lake Ontario

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The Black North Inn at Point Breeze looks pretty lonely!

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Mount Albion Cemetery

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Mount Albion Cemetery

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Mount Albion Cemetery

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And, finally…….this patio was all cleaned off just yesterday – this was taken this morning after the overnight lake effect snow dumped another load of snow on us!

So, there are my thoughts on Winter and snow. I’m finally at a point in my life where I can actually enjoy it…..to a point!  🙂

2 Comments on “Thoughts on Winter

  1. Kim, I really enjoyed reading this article and loved the pictures. We are actually having a somewhat cold winter and some white stuff but nothing like way up where you are. Glad the babies are enjoying the snow.

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