Most wonderful time of the year


Mother Nature, you’re so funny.

When I submitted a request for holiday weather, I was thinking of gentle white flakes of snow cascading to the earth in time to “The Little Drummer Boy.” And when those gentle flakes reached the earth, they would gather in a neat configuration on the grass and the dirt, politely avoiding the paved areas where they would get in the way of  walkers and drivers.

The fluff would then attach to bushes, tree limbs, fenceposts and rooftops like a frosted accessory, blanketing the landscape in a sparkling woolen coat. It would be so picturesque.

Apparently weather patterns cannot be compared to department store window dressing.

Mother Nature knows she’s the only one in control; she decided to be a rhymes-with-witch and send us her holiday potpourri. Too lazy to handcraft the appropriate holiday weather, she apparently went to Wal-Mart and grabbed some pre-mixed horror show in the bargain bin and tossed it overboard. Sort of the ultimate Chia-Pet gift from above.

In the past week we have had, in succession: light snow, heavy snow, more snow, rain, pouring rain, ice pellets, sleet, subzero temperatures and high winds. Then, more rain and melting followed by refreezing. This weekend we should be on the lookout for “thunder snow.”

On my last shopping sojourn, I traveled with a snow brush, a snow shovel and an umbrella. Our house’s eaves sprouted giant icicles that stretched nearly to the ground, threatening to tear the gutters from their mountings. And this formation of heavy and thick ice preceded a freak warm-up to 40 degrees that then melted the snow like butter in a microwave oven, but not the ice in our gutters, which then forced the liquid to seep between the walls of our house and trickle into our basement.

Thank you Mother Nature, thank you.

What? It’s not your fault we didn’t get our roof fixed? You warned us, you say?

What do you mean I could use the exercise and shoveling is a good cardio-vascular workout? I have a gym membership I don’t need you as a cardio coach!

What’s next? A hurricane of icicles? A tornado of snow? Fireballs plummeting from the sky?

I know you’re under a lot of pressure lately, what with so many threats to your well-being and all the bad media exposure. I suppose you think I’m asking too much to request a particular type of weather when you are inundated with such queries from around the globe. Perhaps I should back off and let you straighten out your disposition. 

Meanwhile, don’t look for me. I’ll be in my basement, wrapped in a blanket, under a tarp, wearing rubber boots and gloves. And I’ll be laughing because you are so funny.

Surprise visit

Winter paid a visit last night.

Did anyone around here see this coming? I’m guessing not because when I left the house at 6 a.m. the roads were slicked with ice. Nary a granule of salt on them.

While the commute to Girl from the West’s school was marked by above-mentioned icy roads, I was surrounded by maniacal drivers going well over the safe speed. Fine, pass me, idiot, I yelled at the windshield. I’ll wave when I pass you crashed into retaining wall a few miles up the road. Ha! Who’s the big shot then, huh?

On the way back, however, when the roads seemed mostly clear of ice and the salt trucks had made their appointed rounds, suddenly everyone was now driving 5-10 mph. This is an annual head-scratcher for me. The first snow always brings out two things:

The reckless drivers who go way too fast, inevitably crash into someone or something and then clog up the expressways with their wreckage for hours, thereby messing up everyone’s commute.

The wide-eyed, both-hands-death-gripping-the-steering-wheel driver going significantly slower than necessary on the interstate because a few soft flakes are cascading earthward.

Needless to say, it is Michigan and snow is a natural part of the weather pattern in November. So, too, is the learning curve for snow and ice driving. We know this. It happens every year. Yet it never ceases to shock us.