Sunday, October 30, 2011

Ya Think It'll Snow?

Two women play tug-o-war with a snow shovel at the K-Mart. A blue clad employee stumbles along dragging a half-opened cardboard crate behind him. He shouts, "I've got more shovels here!"

The contested shovel clamors to the floor as the two women simultaneously release it and bolt towards the employee who closes his eyes and goes into what can best be described as a vertical fetal position. The lady at the checkout explains to the fifth would-be payer in a row that she won't being driving down from Pittsfield tomorrow, no sir, not her.

The Carr's hardware crowd is well-behaved, but everyone seems a bit pensive. There are ample shovels, salt and sand, for now. I pay for a couple five gallon gas cans and some chainsaw oil and head for the truck.

The congestion of out-of-state BMWs and Mercedes on Main Street suggests that villages all over the great states of New York, Connecticut and New Jersey are missing their idiots.

I'm thinking, "OK, so it's gonna snow. Snows here all the time. Well, at least all the time in winter. So it's October 29? What makes it so different?"

At the XtraMart the lines for gasoline extend in either direction from each of the four pumps. Some cars are in line backwards. At two of the pumps, the cars currently being serviced are facing each other. Jersey plates, this is going to get interesting.

I park over to the side of the building, walk up to one of the inaccessible pumps and fill up three five-gallon gas cans while I listen to the exchange. I grab a couple of freshly-filled propane tanks and head home. The snow is falling.

Out of town, the traffic disappears. I glide over Butler hill, down past John Andrews and up over the ridge to shared driveway that we optimistically call a road. The past year has been a bit tough on poor Gilbert Road. Looking down at it reminds me of an aerial view of the Grand Canyon. Over the past few weeks, Iris has managed to bring the neighbors to a consensus on fixing it, but the work won't begin for a week or two.

Halfway up the road, I find Iris and Scott raking out the culverts that run the length of the road and up our driveway. The air is now thick with huge flakes of snow and they're ready to call it a day.

I unload the truck and decide that I might as well put the plow on the ATV. It might just snow.

An hour later, we've got 6-inches on the ground and no sign of it letting up. Where'd I put those insulated coveralls. I wonder if I can find my helmet.

Plowing a rutted gravel road with an ATV is... I guess I'd have to say, "amazing!" Since the ATV and you (you're a relatively large component of the overall) don't have the mass of say, a truck with a heavy plow, you have to maintain speed in order to get through the heavier drifts. That's not so tough when you're riding down a smooth road. However, when the road has the occasional 12-inch wide, 15-inch deep crevice, it totally holds your attention. It's a dream opportunity for someone with ADD.

Thirty-minutes later, I back the ATV into the garage and wonder why Iris turned off the lights. Turns out she didn't.

I walk into the living room. There are lit candles everywhere. Iris has stoked the fire in the wood stove, filled a five-gallon jug of water for drinking and tub-full of water for everything else. I throw a frozen pizza on the grill and we settle in for the evening.

Six AM, the lights blink on. Whirs and hums emanate from awakened appliances. I wonder how much snow we got?

Happy Sunday,

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