Friday, February 26, 2010

Snow Day, Part II

Seven inches at 7 am. Not too bad, but the heavy, wet snow took its toll, knocking down one of the pine trees in our side yard and dangerously loading up half a dozen others. For the next half hour I swatted snow off tree limbs, freeing them to rise back close to their natural level, beyond my reach with an eight foot pole. I thought I had done a decent job, but once inside, when I looked out on the back yard, I noticed a large limb had broken off from one of our tallest pines. I had been standing under it just 10 minutes earlier. I shuddered remembering yesterday a man died in Central Park after a limb weighted down with snow fell on him.

When I was young, a child, this was the texture of snowfall we prayed for. Snow easily rounded into balls, easily shaped into forts. Temperature in the mid to high 30s, warm enough to stay outside for hours. This type of snow is heartbreakingly wasted on an adult, at least one that doesn’t have a child or grandchild at home to take to the park for sledding. Dan, Ellie and I used to go to Maple Moor Golf Course and see who could slide closest to the Hutchinson River. One time I failed to notice that someone had built a slight bump into the hill. Going over it wasn’t the problem. Landing was. My coccyx bone hurt for three months.

Even with a snowblower this snowfall was difficult to clear. The chute kept clogging, the motor kept stalling out.

Two trees are precariously leaning toward the kitchen. Water has collected near their bases, making their roots less than sturdy. Same condition as the tree that toppled. I called Allstate to determine if we were covered for the downed tree. Not exactly. If your tree falls on your property without damaging a structure, you’re not covered. If it does some damage (I’m still not sure if the tree damaged a fence), insurance will pay for the repair, minus deductible, and for tree removal up to $500, minus deductible. Our deductible is $500.

The only good news about trees this morning was that one had fallen across the train tracks between White Plains and Hartsdale, knocking out service, thus giving Gilda a legitimate reason to declare a snow day.

Speaking of Gilda, she wanted me to correct any impression you might have that she did not try to raise the heat in my sister’s house last week. She didn’t succeed because she did not know the thermostat’s switch had been shifted to the “off” position.

Client Nine: Finally got around to viewing the Feb. 19 first episode of the new season of Real Time with Bill Maher on HBO. I won’t go into the political discussions (which were entertaining and informative) but I will note that one of his guest panelists was Eliot Spitzer. The disgraced former NY governor is hard on the comeback trail, submitting Op-Ed pieces and making appearances on various programs. He is a formidable commentator. Given all that has transpired in men-behaving-badly mode since Spitzer resigned, he’s looking and sounding a lot less tawdry these days. Still it is hard to ignore the number 9 that seemingly rests on his receding hairline.

Teary-eyed: I’ll admit it. I was very moved by the gutsy skating performances of Joannie Rochette of Canada just days after her mother died suddenly of a heart attack. My eyes welled up as she skated both her short and long programs. Nearly all the skaters shed tears at the end of their respective programs, but none produced the emotional attachment Rochette generated.

Even with all their tears, none of their eye makeup ran (I don’t wear mascara, so don’t bother asking me if mine ran). Kudos to Max Factor or whichever brand supplies the no-run makeup.

Health Care Summit: Viewing TV news coverage of the health care summit, I was struck by an image showing President Obama standing with John Boehner, the GOP House leader. At least from my television, I couldn’t tell which of them had the darker skin, a president of bi-racial genetics or a congressman from Ohio who obviously hasn’t kept up with news reports that tanning lights are bad for your health.

Buy American: Courtesy of my friend Jay, here’s a musical parody from the Capitol Steps group you might enjoy: