posted by Jeanne Munn Bracken

I need a break from winter. It's not even February yet and I've already had it with snow and ice and cold weather. And we're not even having all that bad a winter in New England, at least so far.

Snow means many things to many people--the weathercasters hereabouts positively gleam and gloat and bounce on their toesies when a storm is forecast. They whip everyone into a frenzy starting days ahead of time, plot their maps, chart theirSnowstorm guesstimates, and generally send the populace screaming to the store lest they run out of toilet paper or microwave popcorn, all before the first flake falls.

A couple of weeks ago the weather dudes geared up and really hyped everyone into panic mode. Hours before the storm was to arrive, hundreds of schools had closed for the following day. By morning, when there were about six inches of snow on the ground, most of the libraries in the area had also announced they would not open. Our library wasn't scheduled to open until mid-day, and by then the storm was about over, so I didn't get a snow day or even a snow hour out of it.

The biggest problem on snowy days is getting out of our driveway. We live on a main street, so the plows are always out in force, all night long if necessary. Back and forth, back and forth, piling the white stuff along the sides of the road.

I know, I know: this is A Good Thing. But to my husband, it's a positive conspiracy. He and the local authorities have been battling for years over snow clearance. He's Elmer Fudd eternally battling Bugs Bunny and eternally losing.

Our driveway and parking area aren't very big. This seems like a boon when it comes to shoveling, but factor in the garage so crammed with other stuff that the cars have to live outside. Add the family car, the family oversized pickup truck (it's a guy thing; I don't get it either) and our daughter's car, and you have a recipe for disaster.

My husband takes it personally when the plows go through. One year when he shoveled the snow back into the road, a police officer chewed him out, then stood by while he shoveled the snow back onto the lawn. Snow_shovel_2 Another year, when snow piled up so high that we ran out of places to throw it, he actually got a ticket for parking on the street overnight, thereby (the officer said that time) hindering snow clearance. I think he would just have gotten a warning, but it was five am, not his finest hour, and he came dangerously close to telling the officer where he could put the snow.

He has a nifty new snowblower now, but the machine is no match for those wet snows we have had this year. A couple of weeks ago he cleared the driveway, partly with shovel and cursing, and shortly after he finished, the plow went through a final time, then theSnowblower temperature plummeted and the remaining snow froze into a Grand Coulee Dam of ice. My husband went on strike. He announced that we would be able to drive over it, no problem, and he was sort of right. We only got stuck once. The territory between the driveway and the street are walls of ice, resistant even to a pick axe, and there is a secondary wall where the sidewalk plow went through.

As a result, every trip out of or into the driveway has been rather like a particularly tooth-jarring amusement park ride, only nobody is laughing--especially our daughter, whose lower-slung car has actually lost parts to the jouncing. It would be like a speed bump, only we have to gun the engines to get over the ice mounds. Today the highway dudes ran back and forth several times grinding the ice along the roadsides but inexplicably they didn't attack the dams along our driveway.

I just hope spring gets here while I still have an undercarriage on my car.

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