This is an excerpt from “Humor Me”, Book 2 in the Life without a Field Guide Series which is available at Amazon.
You know winter has gone on too long when your spouse says “Good morning, Sweets,” and you snap, “Do you have to be so sarcastic?” When your son says, “Mom, we’re getting low on milk” and you snarl, “No problem. I’ll just shovel the driveway and three or four roads and whip right on into town and get some.”
By the end? of a long winter in Maine (and this year’s seems to have gotten an extension from the weather gods and is running into spring), even the sunniest optimist is a little edgy. In my case, by March, the only safe question to ask me is, “Would you like some more Jim Beam to go with that cheesecake?”
By about April 1st, if there’s still snow on the ground, I find myself throwing snowballs at the snow and shrieking, “I am NOT a bipolar bear” at the gray sky. It doesn’t help, but it gets me some exercise to counteract the fifteen pounds I gain from December to March. It’s not so much that Maine winters are snowier or colder than winters elsewhere. It’s just that they go on for way too long.
The first snowfall is beautiful and we all ooh and ahh at the trees covered in snow that glistens like diamonds in the sun. By February, the trees just look stupid covered in snow. The evergreens look like dunce caps and the hardwoods look like firewood piled vertically instead of horizontally. And speaking of firewood, if the price of oil goes up any further, we’ll be burning our furniture in fifty gallon drums to heat the house.
We do have a pellet stove, which we cleverly bought two years ago when pellets were $4.99/bag and plentiful. Now, they’re $6.99/bag if you can find them and getting scarcer. So we go from pellet store to pellet store, like beggars cadging alms. I feel like Oliver Twist holding out his bowl at the orphanage and asking for more, and I get about the same result.
I’ve even thought of trying to chop down some of our trees and turn them into pellets, but I’m having a leetle trouble with the part where you apply massive amounts of pressure and steam to the pellets to create the resin that holds them together. I have a feeling the two quart kettle and pressure cooker just aren’t gonna make it.
We could go solar, except that it costs so much that it’d take about 25 years to recoup our costs, and I’m not sure I can live through 25 more Maine winters. Not to mention that if I did survive to get it, it’d just go to pay for the healthcare I’d need after making it to 90 yrs old in Maine. Of course when the geek retires, we could do what so many other Mainers do and head south for the winter.
But what with global warming, and rising ocean levels, we figure that we might be able to just move to Southern VT or NH year-round, or back to RI where we grew up. Although on second thought, there are worse things than long winters, like RI politics and living in one big parking lot for the malls that ate a state. Guess I’d better get a bigger kettle, a bigger pressure cooker and a bigger cheesecake. (They don’t make a bigger bottle of Jim Beam. I checked.)