Wednesday, February 25, 2009

I'm getting too old for this...

How can something so pretty be so miserable?

I awoke this morning at about 3 o'clock with my arms on fire.

They weren't really on fire, but they certainly felt like it. No matter which way I moved, I could not get to a spot that was comfortable for both my back and my arms. So I got up and went pee and came back to bed. L was snoring because of her cold, so I amused myself by poking and prodding her for a while until she rolled over either in disgust or out of self-preservation. In any case, the noise quieted down and my arms ached a little less and I was able to get back to sleep.

Remember yesterday's post about the icebergs we had to chop through and remove? Well, here's the after picture. I never thought to get a "before" shot, damn it. Take a look at those piles of snow, though. They were all assembled by hand, one shovel-full at a time. Oof. One day's work crippled me up pretty bad.

I was next to useless today, though. I am going to bill my clients for half-rate for my time. It's all I was worth. Even after I replaced the belt on the snow blower. It threw the belt in protest after I asked it to chop and chew snow that was two-days frozen in the driveway. But it chewed the belt first. I brought the shredded remains with me to the hardware store to find a match.

Fixing the belt was a cool thing that I have never done before but was pleased to be able to figure out and fix by myself. Hardware store guy was a big help looking up the right size belt just to cross-check that I had the right one. Brought it back, figured out how to loop it, and started 'er back up with a roar. Heh. mighty pleased with myself, indeed.

While I was kneeling in the frozen driveway fiddling with wrenches and auger belts, my lovely assistant A was up on the roof clearing away nature's latest offering. I am soooooooo glad we got the snow off there Sunday before this batch fell. Holy crap. Here's what it looked like when we started today:

So we took at it again. Those ice dams are not to be trifled with. In this link, the University of Minnesota Extension Service offers a very thorough and easy-to-understand description of what ice dams are, where they come from and what they can do to damage a home. I've tried to post graphics from other places here with only limited success, so I won't do that again, but I highly recommend checking out that site. Ice dams are worth getting freaked out about. My bet is these homeowners will have me back again in the spring to stuff the insulation more thoroughly into the far corners of the eaves to prevent this from happening again next year.

So anyway, we get to work. I am next to useless, as I said before. I stay on the ground where I am less likely to hurt myself. My lovely assistant, A, though, is in much better shape. She climbed up on the roof and got to work. Notice that she is wearing jeans, sneakers (with Yak trax), gloves, and a freakin' tank top! Where she was, in the sun, out of the wind, working hard and then surrounded by black asphalt shingles, she claimed to be plenty warm. I think my hot flashes might be catching up with her. Heh.

While she was up on the roof accomplishing great things, I puttered on the ground, noticing small things. Like this track in the fresh snow:

That is a deer track, for the uninitiated. We watched a herd of about ten deer scamper through the woods and down the hill while we worked today. That little section of woods is right up against Acadia National Park and the deer abound. This is a hard year for them, though. With all this snow, forage is hard to find and coyotes have a much easier time bringing down a deer in deep snow.

Here's what the driveway looked like about the time the damned machine chewed and threw the auger belt:

I did get the rest of it cleared once the belt was replaced, but it was slow going. I ended up having to shovel some as well. That was more work than I could have imagined.

An old, rotted tree trunk came over in the storm. It hardly looks out of place at first, until you notice that it is broken off just above the snow line.

Then, when we looked up at the rest of the dead tree, we noticed that it was well tangled with a couple live trees and some (presumably) live power lines. I'll have the property owners call the power company when they get home. There are no sparks or weirdness right now, but it really should be addressed before the next storm brings it all down in a tangled heap.

While I was putzing on the ground, A mastered the art of the gentle tap with the ice chisel. She's got a knack for using this thing so that it smacks the ice on top but does not plunge through and scar what's underneath. I watched her do it yesterday on a wooden deck, and again today on the roof edges. She's a marvel. I would be so screwed without her on this job.

And then we were done. The driveway is cleared, but I have not finished playing with that section of pictures yet. But the roofs look fabulous:

We've got to go back tomorrow to get rid of the large berm at the end of the driveway that the town snowplow left there, and we'll probably knock down whatever icicles remain. A well salted them today, so they should come down cleanly. I hope my arms work better tomorrow than they did today. Good grief. I can't afford to charge half-rates for too many days in a row.


dolphyngyrl said...

Suggestion: Scalding shower, ibuprofin, keep them warmed at night.

At least that works for me, if it's muscle ache.

Otherwise: Geez! That's a lot of work. I'd have spent a lot of time cussing. Really.

laughingatchaos said...

My God. It's beautiful, but damn, that would kill me. It was 60-something here today. We haven't had snow in so long. We're either going to have a baaaad fire season or we're going to get hit hard March and April. But that snow... Yeah, ibuprofin, heating pads (rice in an old sock, heat in the microwave--safe for sleeping), and lots of water. Hang in there!

CaroleMcDonnell said...

Dang, woman! I just know I haven't got it in me to live the kind of hardy life you're living. Yep, it's beautiful...but all too much. -C

asthmagirl said...

I can see why you'd be totally done with snow! I haven't seen that much snow since I lived in Alaska!
Your poor arms!
And poor L snoring with her cold...

msladydeborah said...

Hi Dawn,

I thought about you when I saw the weather. I knew your region had been hit seriously with snow. People who do not live in areas where it snows have no idea what wet heavy snow is like. Ugh!

Pick up a tin of Tiger Balm. It works so very well on sore muscles!

Stop by my site. There is a message for you on my post.

Take care!