February 14, 2014

Ugh, the endless snowstorms! I can find a life lesson in almost anything. But this is one I would’ve preferred to skip. Still, I am learning. The takeaway: Be thoughtful about simple, little details. They hold consequences.

This is a huge change in my approach to snow. As a homeowner, I tend to resent all that white stuff. I would usually shovel it as quickly as possible, then hurry back inside, slamming the door behind me.

Lately, the storms have been relentless. Oh sure, taking in the first few quiet minutes of a fresh snowfall are kinda pretty. Then, comes the resignation. And then, the charmless chore of digging out the cars, the house, my life.

We’ve just been hit by another storm:

This latest round put me into a panic. It went on in phases, over 24 hours. There was even thunder snow, with lightening. We went from fluffiness, to rain, to wet slush.

For reassurance, I texted Jeremy Hudson of Hudson Home Solutions, a contractor who is also a friend. Thankfully, he offered some extremely valuable advice that I absolutely must pass along:

Clear gutter down spouts. When down spouts are blocked, melting runoff backs up into gutters, seeps under the roof and gets into the house. Next thing you know, you’ve got a leak in the ceiling. So it’s important to dig out the ends of the gutter spouts. I also made sure that the electrical meters were accessible, just in case of an emergency.

Keep an eye on icicles. If there are heavy icicles, break them off. This will take some weight off the gutters. Jeremy explained why in his text: “When the ice gets too heavy for the gutter, it tends to pull down the gutter which can cause a tiny gap in the back of the gutter, which can then leak into the house.”

Unfortunately, the years to come will bring more extreme snow events. After all, wild temperature swings are part of global warming. Given the new reality, I am transitioning from the usual resentment and resignation to a certain measure of acceptance.

My changing attitude has even inspired me to treat my backyard trees differently. A heavy, wet snowfall can wreck them. My usual strategy was to frantically whack at them with a snow shovel until they stood tall again. But I’ve just discovered that a pitchfork is a superior, kinder tool. The pitchfork’s tines let me get in between the big branches and shake my evergreens ever so gently until they’re liberated from snow. Plus, a pitchfork is easier to manage and lighter than a shovel.

Understanding how to take better care of my house is an accomplishment! Hmm, maybe I can apply the lesson to taking better care of myself…

There are probably things about me — my skills, abilities and even gifts — that I’ve taken for granted. What if I slow down and take a second or third look at myself from a fresh perspective? I might find something new to appreciate.

As for what I’ve been dealing with in the last day or so, here are some photos:

Yup, I got smacked right in the head, haha!

Anyways, hope you have a great weekend. Warm and cozy is what I’m thinking. And don’t forget about those down spouts on your gutter. xo.