Walsh: The minefields of the thaw

FI-Robert-Walsh-300x187I’ve watched just enough Oprah Winfrey to learn that we need to place our intentions out in the world and then they’ll “manifest” around us. So, here goes: I’d like winter to end. Now.

This has gone on long enough, Universe. You let it snow on the first day of spring, for crying out loud. The joke’s over.

However, thawing out from this crazy winter isn’t going to be much fun, either. The first casualty is the decision to clear my driveway after we get that late-season snowfall. Normally, after dealing with so many snowstorms, I’d allow myself to dream that the sun might melt it away for me. However, I did that in late January and enormous ice patches remained on my driveway until the third week in March. Despite having cleared the most recent snow, it was like driving up the Rockies to get into my garage.

Even worse is dealing with the minefield. The minefield is the result of my dogs using the snow on the sidewalk and driveway as their toilet. We get lazy about picking up all the feces in winter because, as I’m sure your mom always told you, “A frozen toilet doesn’t smell.” Alas, a thawing toilet does.

Walking toward the house from the driveway becomes an exercise in scouting, forcing you to consider each step carefully lest that latest layer of snow be hiding a fecal surprise you’ll track inside. My wife and I have taken to humming a variation of the Beatles’ Strawberry Fields Forever, as we tip-toe toward our door: “Keep your eyes on the ground as you’re walking through, Frozen Poop Field…”

I finally got a snowblower several years ago as a concession to the crippling back pain that usually accompanied every shoveling session. Unfortunately, snow blowers throw a significant amount of snow back at the person pushing it into even the slightest breeze. As a result, I end up covered in a mist of my dogs’ waste every time I clear the driveway. I’ve been told I’m “full of it” before, but being covered in it is far worse.

After a long winter like this one, the cracks in my driveway become fissures. Giant pieces of tar bulge from the ground as if trying to squeeze into a tight pair of jeans. Fluorescent orange barrels and cones that cover fresh potholes crop up like wildflowers throughout our local roads, creating impromptu obstacle courses on the way to work. Between now and June, when they’ll finally start filling some of them in, I’ll have to watch my wife drive over every uncovered pothole.

“Oh! I didn’t see that one. They need to fix that!”

I’ll do my best to bite my tongue and keep from reminding her that we’ve driven over that same pothole for the last three months. Instead, I’ll silently calculate the cost of that new axle we’re going to need for the car.

I could go on, but I’m afraid I might “manifest” more of that icy white stuff. Instead, I’ll simply ask the Universe to let spring come … and maybe ask for someone to clear the rest of the melting feces from my back yard.

You can read more at RobertFWalsh.net and contact him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @RobertFWalsh.

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