More cold and snow

We have snow on the ground, but it is sort of crap. Last weekend a whole lot fell. Of course, my whole family was away during the storm. In fact, we left early to avoid travel delays. Still, it was hard to miss a snow storm. I love snow storms.

After it snowed, it rained, so I didn’t feel totally bad to miss it all. Everything got crusty and hard and yuck. When we got back home our driveway was icy. I mean, I couldn’t see that it was icy. There was an inch of fresh snow on top. But turning in, the car slipped. Snow on top of ice is one slick trick. “I hope it isn’t this icy on the whole driveway” I said aloud. I went slowly but where it slopes down at the end, just before the garage, it was especially slick. I tried to stop. I even chanted “stopstopstopstopstopstopstop” before we slid into the garage door and pulled it right off the wall. I was telling the car to stop. But the garage door listened.

Snow has fallen, a few inches, over the past three days. Things look beautiful–white and shiny and all–despite the crustiness beneath. And now it is cold. Right now, end of the day in the dark, it is a degree below zero. And it will get colder before the sun rises. Tomorrow afternoon, snow is forecast to fall again. It should keep falling until Wednesday.

We might have a snow day on Wednesday. I love snow days. Thing is, I am supposed to drive across the state Wednesday morning. Bad timing, that. I might have to skip that appointment. So it goes during winter in Vermont. You always need a plan B. I can still get the garage door open and shut, so I will put the car inside tomorrow night. With more snow, and temperatures below zero a few days this week, we are in full-on winter. Bring it, Baby.

Critters in the Garage


Phoebe Chick

Phoebe Chick

A little too long ago our garage door busted.  One of the cables snapped so only one side gets pulled when it operates.  I say “a little too long ago” because we still haven’t fixed it.  We just leave it up or down for a while.  Often the car isn’t in the bay.  I also say “a little too long ago” since the door busted because it froze to the floor.  We haven’t had ice in a while.

But whatevs.  This is about critters.  The ones in the garage.  The reason they get in is because the door is open.  A squirrel managed to find a home in there.  I don’t know it is actually living in the garage, but it sure likes hanging out in there.  It has recently discovered how wonderful the garbage bags are.  “Get a load of these things,” I imagine it pondered. “They are filled with plastic packaging, some of which has slight amounts of food residue stuck to it;  I think I’ll gnaw large holes in the bag so I can lick the salsa jar lid.”  Our food waste goes into the compost so there isn’t much for a squirrel to snack upon.  But that doesn’t stop it.

Yesterday I started moving our wood from one wall to another.  This seems to bother the squirrel.  Hey, squirrel, chill.  This isn’t your wood.  Clean up the mess you made with the garbage and maybe I’ll let you hang around.  Until then, you can find a tree.  And by the way, stop licking the grill.  Just because I’m lazy doesn’t give you license to lick that either.  I think that once I move the wood, the squirrel will just move into that pile.  We need to get that door fixed.

Once spring began we also had a phoebe family move in.  It made a nest in the rafters.  This meant we had to leave the door open so it could get out.  And in.  Then it had some chicks.  The other day, the chicks fledged.  One of the chicks was hanging out on the garage floor.  It left the nest but hadn’t quite figured out how to fly yet.  It was there for a while.  After dark it was gone.  I hope it didn’t get snacked upon by some noctural predator.  Especially after leaving the door open that whole time.  It was cute, that baby bird.  I guess that made up for its parents crapping all over the cars and the lawnmower and firewood.  And the garbage bags.

The phoebes have left, now that the chicks are off to better things.  Now they hang out in the birch tree outside my son’s window, keeping him up late and waking him up early.  At least they are out of the garage.  Now I just need to convince the squirrel to take a hike.  Once I stop being lazy, and decide that paying for someone to fix the door is a priority, it will be easier to keep out the critters.  I guess I’ll have to live with the squirrel until then.  At least it isn’t in the house.  With my record of door fixing procrastination, let’s hope the front door stays intact.

Phoebe in the Garage

A couple of months ago our garage door broke. Well, the door itself didn’t break. The door got frozen to the ground (snow melted, water ran under the door, water froze) and then we tried to open it. It was a simple yet dumb mistake. One of the cables on the door opener snapped. It can still marginally operate, albeit unsafely, with one cable, but lately we have just left it open.

Lately means the last month. This has made things easier in some ways. We don’t need to worry about the other cable snapping while we take our time actually getting the thing fixed, for example. But it has created a couple problems as well.

The first problem is the trash. We don’t generate all that much trash. We recycle or compost most things. Our trash consists mainly of plastic packaging. But some stinky stuff gets in there. It isn’t much but it is enough, apparently, to attract some critters. I found the small bag I placed in the garage a week and a half ago torn asunder yesterday. Some critter decided it was worth rumaging through the plastic packaging to lick the residue.

The second problem is the phobe. I like phoebes. They are one sure sign of spring and their songs always make me smile. I heard one this morning and its call seemed to echo more than usual. It sounded quite lovely, actually. It echoed, however, because the bird was in the garage. It flitted among the rafters but it didn’t seem to want to leave.

It was still there this afternoon. Or at least it was back this afternoon. It sort of freaked out my daughter at first but then she thought it was cool. A bird in the garage! What a treat. Again, it didn’t want to leave, despite the wide open door. My fear is that it will build a nest and then we will get the door fixed (not that we have been exactly hasty in making that happen) and it will have a tough time with the in and out of things and it will have chicks and they will all die of starvation because mom can’t bring it any bugs.

Poor chicks. OK, there aren’t any chicks yet. I saw no signs of a nest. But it could happen, right? I suppose even it that scenario really played out the phoebe mother could poke through the trash for what it might find to feed the youngsters. That might work.

We don’t have a third problem yet. At least not that I am aware of. But that could happen, too. We should get the door fixed and we should get a trash bin and we should stop buying things with so much plastic packaging. Save the phoebes!

At least we are saving electricity by not using the garage door opener. That’s something isn’t it. Plus, we get to see the phoebe up close, even it we are about to slay its offspring by fixing something we should have repaired months ago.

Busted Garage Door

I guess I can’t say that the door itself is busted.  That actually seems just fine.  But one morning my wife tried to open it with the remote opener and Crack! Ptwang! a cable went flying and the thing wouldn’t open.

The cable was unattached at the upper end on one side, so the door doesn’t have enough pull, so to speak, for it to open on its own.  It needs some manual assistance.  Kind of a pain, but workable for the short term.

I took some time today to fix it, but no go.  There is a big fat spring that provides some major leverage.  That spring is busted.  A hook at one end is just plain old cracked, wrenched, split.  The piece that connects it to the other piece just isn’t there.  I couldn’t find it.

What likely happened is that ice was holding the door to the floor.  The previous owner had warned us of this.  “I put a little salt down,” she told me.  We never put a little salt down.  Until today, of course.  Now that the door is busted, that will help only so some extent.

This is one of those boy-that-was-stupid-situations.  Some rock salt is certainly cheaper than a house call to have someone fix the dang door.  Live and learn, eh?  I guess we keep some local business in the black by calling them up and asking for some service.

At least no one got hurt.  Isn’t that what a responsible parent is supposed to say?  So I said it.  I still feel stupid.

Garage and Windshield Wipers

Our thermometer read zero when we rose this morning.  It read 32 when I went to bed.  That’s a drop.  I walked my daughter out to the bus and we were glad to have snow pants and neck gaitors.  A breeze blew.  The snow squeaked.  It wasn’t a day for the bus to be late.  It was early.

Soon after that I headed to work, sans snowpants.  Well, I did in fact toss them in the car.  You never know.  My legs were cold just walking to the garage.  And this is why we have a garage.  The thermometer in the car (a feature worth having let me tell you) read 20 degrees.  Let me say that again, 20 degrees! That is a twenty degree difference between the outside air temperature and the unheated garage temperature.  That makes having a garage a huge bonus.

And here’s another thing:  no scraping.  When the air gets icy and I’ve got to leave early, that’s when I forget that I need to scrape the frost.  But with a garage, no problemo dude.  No frost to scrape.  It is warmer, I don’t have to scrape, I can get in the car without getting wet in the rain.  It is awesome.

When we bought this house we weren’t looking for a garage.  We knew it would be a good thing to have, but baby I’m so sold on it now.  How cold I ever go back?  Hopefully I won’t have to.

My only problem now is my sucky windshield wipers.  I paid extra, for the first time ever, to have someone else install a set for me the last time I brought the car in for service.  I figured I just wanted to get it done, so I didn’t do it myself.  Way to go Economy Boy.  They sucked from the beginning, and they still suck.  No matter what I have done to adjust them, they streak like nuts.  And on an icy day like this, with salt and crap getting kicked up, I need some wipers that do the job.

Even my awesome garage won’t help with that problem.  I just need to suck it up and get another pair.  I guess it is better to pay a few extra bucks than to crack up because I can’t see what is coming at me.  That would really make some poor financial sense.