We Fight Back! Take That, Winter! Welcome Back, Guest Blogger Richard Galgano

Rich's snowy deck and grill 2-16-2015CAM00220 Rich's Snowy Front Yard 2-16-2015 CAM00218

(Pic of mostly-shoveled deck and my accessible grill. Cheeseburgers in Paradise!)

(Pic of front yard from my living room window.)

If shoveling were sport, we would be competing in the “Snowbowl.” But as boxing is a better metaphor, how about, “The Battle of Beantown,” “The Rumble in Bahston,” or “The Thrilla in Dunkin Villa”?

For weeks now, You’ve been pummeling us with snow, wind, cold and ice. We’ve staggered a few times with wobbly knees, sore arms and aching backs. A couple of times we’ve barely escaped getting knocked out, saved only by the bell ending another round of snow.

Like Ali against Foreman, we’ve leaned against the snowbanks and absorbed your hits. (Actually this is a good way to make the sidewalk path a little wider.)

Beginning today, we fight back! The sequel: Revenge of the Snow People!

First, we need to set the proper mood.  Dig out your swimsuits and sunscreen. Wear white. (Yes, I know it’s not Memorial Day yet, but desperate times call for desperate measures.) Don’t forget the straw hats, visors and baseball caps. Ladies, put on your white cotton gloves and pastel colors. Well, okay, forget the gloves and pastels, but find those sandals.

Shovel off your deck and start grilling. Eat key lime pie while blasting Jimmy Buffett from your speakers. Don’t forget the pink flamingos. No more sanding the sidewalk – just put the snow in a big pile, make a small beach and build a sand castle. Drink lemonade. Make mojitos. And put those little drink umbrellas in everything!

Now, for the Plan of Attack:

Paint the top of the snow black. White reflects light and heat, but dark colors absorb it.

Cover your entire house with aluminum foil and mirrors. (Remember to put the shiny side of the foil facing away from the house.)

Find every light and extension cord you have and put them outside, around your house, and turn them on. Use bulbs with higher watts, preferably a couple thousand. (Be careful not to electrocute yourself.)

The snow will melt faster than the Wicked Witch of the West.

Nyuk Nyuk Nyuk!

Richard Galgano

February 16, 2015

I’M SO SORRY TO WELCOME BACK SNOW-RAVAGED GUEST BLOGGER, RICHARD GALGANO

Guess what? It’s 4:00 a.m., it’s snowing again, and I’m outside. Thank God! I have a multiple-week streak of daily shoveling going and was afraid it would end. This may be my best chance to get into the Guinness Book of World Records. There are officially two categories in the book: pro and amateur. Technically I’m an amateur, but I don’t think the term is appropriate in this case. “Amateur” derives from Latin and means “one who does it for the love.” I think we need to develop a third category referring to necessity.

I’m sacrificing my parking spot in the driveway. I’m considering a mess of helium balloons to tether the car above the snow but I’ll probably just play “musical cars.” There just isn’t any more space.

Boston received five and a half five inches of snow through January 22nd. Since then, in 23 days, 84 more inches have fallen. A normal winter has about half that much snow.

Yesterday, for the fifth time, I removed the peaks of the snow piles at the foot of the driveway to about 4 and a half feet. All I can say is… They’re B-a-c-k!  The snow piles are over 7 feet right now, and growing. The taller mountains in the yard are so high that you need to wear supplemental oxygen when climbing them. This Spring, my yard is going to look like the summit of Mt. Everest with empty canisters all over the place.

After removing the peaks with my wheelbarrow, I washed clothes by hand. Yes. I am building the helicopter, using parts from the washer and dryer. (See prior blog posts.) As it took an hour to drive 3/4 of a mile, the chopper will free up a lot of time, for shoveling.

The local hardware store was packed yesterday. Unlike the big box stores which already showcase spring equipment, winter items are still available locally. Well, they were. There was a run on “ice melt,” the shovels are sold-out, and the bin with the grips for your boots had 1 pair left (men – size 15). Fortunately they had a chain saw (more on this below).

I considered buying salt but I don’t want to screw up the environment any more than necessary. Wandering through the aisles, it hit me. I ran over to the electrical department and bought every foot of wire they had. I stopped at the auto parts store and picked up a couple car batteries.

Last night I stripped about five miles of insulation off the wire. My dog is outside running around in a back and forth pattern, having the time of her life, pulling wire from a spool. She’s pretty fast and as soon as she’s done and back in the house, I’m going to hook up the wire to the batteries. (Safety Note: if you walk by our house today, please wear rubber boots.) Let the melting begin!

Years ago, I learned how to cut trees and got reasonably facile in having the trees (usually) fall in the intended direction. As the battery power is limited, I’ve decided to cut down the trees in our front yard and set them on fire. Hopefully they will fall in the direction of the sidewalk and driveway. Ha! With all that melting, I’ll be able to see one of my neighbor’s houses in no time! After the trees burn out, I can toss some furniture on the embers. I got the idea from La Bohème. But don’t worry — there are piles of rubber insulation in the house and they are comfortable to sit and lie on. I soon may be able to see out my windows!

Back after a couple hours. Huge miscalculation. HUGE. I cut the first tree but the snow is so deep, it’s holding the tree upright. And the electrical approach didn’t quite work as intended. From the window, my dog and I witnessed one major league spark (okay, explosion). The dog had run around the fire hydrant a few times and I think the metal hydrant caused a short circuit. However, the area around the hydrant is totally clear and the five-foot hole in the ground should fill up with snow quickly.

My dog is sitting at the kitchen table, pawing the keys on my laptop and has my credit card. It appears that she is trying to book a vacation package in Cancun. She is willing to take me with her but I’ll have to ride in the cargo area with the other humans.

Time for breakfast while listening to music — Christie McVie was right: “I’m over my head, over my head in snow.”

Richard Galgano

February 15, 2015

UPDATE FROM SNOW-WEARY GUEST BLOGGER RICHARD GALGANO WHO HAS WAY TOO MUCH TIME ON HIS HANDS BECAUSE ALL HE CAN DO IS SHOVEL, WHEELBARROW, FLAME THROW, AND WHAT’S THIS NOW, “NUKE” THE SNOW AND ICE?

My ads on Craigslist have not provided a solution to the snow problem. All the dog teams are in training for the Iditarod race in Alaska. I received a link about building your own helicopter, but it would require dismantling the washing machine and dryer. Having cabin fever is one thing. Adding piles of dirty clothes is another.

The fire department will not issue a permit for the flame thrower. Apparently they would rather have alpine skiing held on the snow mountain in front of my house than speed skating on a rink created by melting the enormous amount of ice on my property. Darn, there goes my chance to meet the Erics (Heiden and Flaim).

Just received these notes:

To: Richard Galgano
From: Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Re: Newly appeared glacier on your property
Dear Mr. Galgano:
Many thanks checking in with us. While we appreciate your condition, the use of a thermonuclear device is not yet approved for removal of personal glaciers even when roof collapse is imminent.
Sincerely,

NRC

P.S. Off the record, it sounds like an interesting idea. However, it will probably turn your house white, assuming the structure survives.

To: Nuclear Regulatory Commission
From: RG
Re: Glacier
Dear NRC. Thank you for your timely response. I’m disappointed but will not pursue efforts to obtain uranium. I don’t know what I would do with it anyway.
Sincerely,

RG

P.S.  My house has been white for a number of weeks now. I think it used to be blue. 

To: RG

From: NRC

Re: Glacier

Dear Mr. Galgano:
Have you considered using a flamethrower on your glacier? I suspect you may be able to obtain an old one from an Army-Navy store.

Sincerely,

NRC

Richard Galgano

February 11, 2015

CAN’T DRIVE. NO ROOM FOR SNOW. MUSCLES SORE. MUST BLOG. (WELCOME BACK, GUEST BLOGGER RICHARD GALGANO)

5 a.m.

It has stopped snowing!

The entrance to my driveway is filled again. I’ve resorted to using the wheelbarrow to move the snow to the other end of the driveway, where the front of my car would usually go. Fortunately, I cleaned out the garage a few weeks ago and may be able to fit a car in it. Hopefully the roof won’t collapse from the weight of a glacier.

Ad for Craigslist — Needed: One dog team, sled, and driver who has a permit to carry fuel. I found an Army Navy store with a Korean War flame thrower. The ban on driving doesn’t say anything about dog sledding.

Uh-oh. Miscalculated (underestimated) the amount of ice created by using flame thrower on a cold day.

Eureka! Acme Supply Company (of Road Runner and Coyote fame) offers a special on ice crampons and studded snow tires. Unfortunately, they can’t deliver due to ban on cars and trucks.

Next ad for Craigslist – Wanted: Helicopter with payload capacity to drop above package into our yard.

On the phone with Acme again. They are balking about inserting an electronic tracking device with the package. I’m trying to explain that the package may be lost for a long time in snow drifts.

Where there is crisis, there is opportunity. In addition to a new mountain for the winter Olympics, I’ll have more than enough ice for a speed skating track! Wonder if I’ll get to meet the Erics (Heiden and Flaim)? By the way, the largest snow mountain in my driveway is now tall enough for the downhill race.

Check this out! There is a St Bernard across the street thumbing (well, “pawing,” actually) rides. The sign reads “Florida or bust. Will share brandy.”

One of the meteorologists of Armageddon Storm Team is broadcasting. (I must have missed the others who went to the Florida Keys). We are going to get, you guessed it, MORE SNOW in a couple days.

It’s a good thing I have a two story house. I can still see out of the second floor windows.

Richard Galgano

February 10, 2015

Welcome Back Snow-Weary Guest Blogger, Richard Galgano

Armageddon Storm Team reporting live from just west of Boston.

It continues to snow and the piles in my driveway are taller than Kareem Abdul Jabbar. They are too high for Dwight Stones (high jumper) and too wide for Carl Lewis (long jumper). If they continue to get larger, Boston will change the bid and go for the winter Olympics instead. I’ll have a front yard view to the super giant slalom.

We have no place to put the newly plowed snow in the driveway so we cleared the lighter, 3+ feet of snow in our front yard to make a large, open area. We found our wheel barrel and have been “trucking” the heavy, salted snow from the driveway to the yard. Fortunately that section of the yard is half weeds, so the salt shouldn’t matter.

My hands are frozen despite wearing ski gloves. Time to use the Kelvin thermometer.

I have to dig out the crampons and ice ax. The icicles hanging from the gutters are now large enough to climb.

Watching a really proficient truck driver plow is a thing of beauty.

What’s this? Just turned on the TV and regular programs are airing! The meteorologists are on “assignment” in Key West.

The snow is so deep that our dog is teaching herself how to use the loo.

Wish I had taken up fly-fishing. Hip waders would come in handy right about now.

Call the police! The 5 feet tall wooden post fence in our back yard is missing! Never mind, it’s just buried under a drift.

Santa just called. He wonders if it’s okay to move his operation here.

Breaking news from the American Geological Institute. The earth has “rotated” and the 42.3 north longitude is now where the north pole used to be. Can’t wait to see the aurora borealis — that is, if we ever have clear skies again.

Maple syrup should be very tasty this year.

I’m going to find a bear den and try to hibernate for a while.

Richard Galgano

February 9, 2015