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Sweet surrender - Blather. Rants. Repeat.
A Møøse once bit my sister ...
Sweet surrender
Finish the fight. Man up. Pull up your big girl panties. Most of all, never surrender. That's the message of media, from Galaxy Quest-

- to last year's Book of Life-


Yet it's not always right, and it's not always necessary. Yesterday, I accepted terms of surrender from a vanquished fellow fighter, and I couldn't have been happier about her doing it.

Betty, the widow next door, is pushing 80. She's also pushing anything and everything else she can in life, more so since she lost her curmudgeon of a husband close to a decade ago.  In summer, she's mowing her corner-lot lawn about five times more often than we are. When the leaves fall in fall, she's the one who gets them up from her lawn and from under the numerous old-growth street trees on her corner lot.  And our other, longest season, winter? Neither snow nor sleet nor bitter cold nor gloom of night could keep her from shoveling out her entire driveway- down to the asphalt- AND the entire sidewalk in front (did I mention it's a corner lot?).  Not even the record lows of the past week were low enough to keep her inside; she simply put a yellow slicker over her parka, looking all the world like a deranged Minion out there.

I felt bad (that she has the complex about having to keep up appearances so much), and a little guilty that I don't match her shovel for shovel. We have a service that does just the driveway, but not down to bare pavement, and I'll clear our on-premise walkway to the front steps occasionally and our sidewalk even more occasionally (not that anyone ever walks on it even when I do).  Today, though, I feel relieved; for a little after 4:00 yesterday afternoon, Betty called and asked for the name of our plow guy.  "I just can't take it anymore," she said.

Our guy signs us up in October, and rarely takes on n00bs during the season, but I gave her his number and told her to call us back either way.  Had he said no, I was seriously considering calling him and offering to cancel if that would open up the slot for her; fortunately, that wasn't necessary, and she's on board with him for the rest of the season.  (It helped that they remembered her from all the mornings she was out there, shoveling, as early as their plows were getting to us next door.)  And momentarily, I'm going to shovel to our front steps and around the driveways, and then borrow another neighbor's snowblower to do the rest of our sidewalk- and around her corner lot. But I'm not telling Betty about it- our other neighbor did go over to snowblow her once, and Betty stood behind her the whole time, correcting her work.

THAT, I refuse to surrender to.


Right after that, I met another neighbor yesterday in a way that only this weather could bring on.

The biggest constant driving problem around here isn't snow or ice on the ground, or wind (although they all have their moments). Rather, it's the mountains of plowed snow that border every driveway and intersection.  The latter spots require a combination of creeping, neck-straining and old-fashioned prayer; backing out of driveways is more of a simple matter: SLOW. LOOK. LISTEN.

 A woman round the corner wasn't entirely clear on those, and I saw the moving rear of her Chevy long before she saw me coming at her at about 10 mph. I honked and we missed a DON'T WAIT DIAL 8 moment by a few feet. As I sailed by to her side, close enough to see everything, I saw she'd left her gloves on her trunk. I stopped, got out, and immediately said, "It's OK, I'm not mad, I just don't want you to lose your gloves."

She apologized, and we had a nice talk, considering. She was backing out so her sister could pull in to the one available space in her driveway (leaving cars on the street in this mess is an invitation to the Carruba Collision of the Game);  her elderly mother lives with her, and I gather Sis was coming to see them in the middle of all this. I told her about Betty and her need to get our plow guy on board; Jim lives practically across the street from her and does her driveway, as well, and she was pretty sure he'd take Betty on. But she also mentioned that, after the last couple of really brutal winters, Jim is thinking of retiring from the snowplow business after this season and just doing landscaping.

Much as I'll hate having to find somebody new who's just as reliable? That's another surrender I'm quite ready to accept:)

ETA. I surrendered, too, mostly. Our sidewalk is snowblowed (blown?), but I couldn't get 10 feet into Betty's before realizing (a) I had no idea where her sidewalk actually was and (b) my other neighbor's blower was showing serious signs of overheating. So I got ours done and returned the unit- but still got to help yet another neighbor. They had visitors from Oh-hee-oh (I think that's how it's pronounced) who got stuck at the end of their driveway, and we liberated their car through a combination of them shoveling, me laying down some chicken wire that Eleanor keeps in Iggy, and all of us pushing. (All except their dog, a beautiful Pittie named Owen, who I told was lucky because we were otherwise going to tie him to the front;)
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bill_sheehan From: bill_sheehan Date: February 22nd, 2015 07:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
I can't tell you how lucky I feel that we sold our house near Boston at the end of December. I don't know which would have been worse: living up there and worrying or living down here and worrying about up there.

While I can't throw away the shovel entirely, most of the work falls to the contractor hired by the condo association. I'm a very fortunate man.
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