There's this show on HBO that we like to watch called "Game of Thrones." It's based on a series of books by George R. R. Martin that Shane's read and I probably won't, but I like the show just the same. Other people are more in to "Game of Thrones" and can speak more intelligently about it than I can. But there's a phrase the characters on the show utter with no little sense of the ominous: "Winter's coming."
Yesterday when I walked to get the mail, the sky was a clear and blazing blue, and I just wore my leather jacket to keep warm. All the way down the driveway and all the way back, with my hair blowing in the breeze (in North Bingham, we call a 'breeze' what people in other parts would call a 'bracing wind.'), all I could think of was that I wish I'd put on a hat before I stepped outside. A real hat that I could pull tight over my head, to keep my hair from blowing and to keep all the heat from escaping through my head. That wind had some teeth to it, despite the visually pleasantness the day had to offer. It took me drinking a cup of hot tea while wrapped in blankets and huddling by the fire in the fake fireplace just to get warmed back up!
We had a very easy winter last year. I plowed the driveway once, and I believe I remember Shane plowing the driveway one time, as well. The winter before that, when I was expecting Zoe, I was out on our Kubota tractor twice a week sometimes, plowing the snow. The last time I plowed that winter was April 4th, and the very next week, I wouldn't have been able to zip up my snowpants if I'd needed to plow more. But that hellish winter aside, I feel like we have a piper to pay for the brilliant winter of 2011-2012, and I feel like that piper's going to come knocking this winter. I hope I'm wrong.
See, it's pretty much my job to plow the driveway. It has been since our first winter in this house. It isn't because Shane doesn't like to run the tractor. We sort of fight over running the tractor. I love driving the tractor, mowing the lawn. I even don't mind plowing the driveway, as long as it stays a once-a-week-at-most kind of job. I even like running the plow on our tractor, which does not have a closed cab, provided it's toward the beginning to the middle of the season, you know, before the novelty wears off.
It never fails, though. Right around Mid-January, I get snow down the back of my neck, either because I've driven too near to under a snow-laden bought of the Elm Tree in the island in the driveway, or because a wind kicks up a snownado (on a really small scale) and plants it on the back of my neck.
Every morning since October 1st, I've jumped out of bed and raced to the window to see if our 2002 Dodge Ram has grown a snow plow yet. That's what I'm hoping for. I think it'd be so cool if our pickup truck happened to magically turn into a plow-truck overnight, because thanks to our Big Dig project back in July, we now have over twice the driveway to plow that we had these last 5 years. I worry about what to do with Zoe when I need to plow the drive this year, and if I had a plow on the truck, I could just put her carseat in, turn on some music, let the heat rip, heck, even bring Rozzie along, and use that Hemi to help clear the snow from the driveway. I wouldn't need my knit beanie with the earbuds built right in. I wouldn't need the L.L. Bean Wicked Warmers in my mittens and boots. I wouldn't need the hearing protectors I wear when I'm on the tractor. I wouldn't need the snow goggles I ordered the other night (if you're laughing that I bought snow goggles to wear when I plow snow in my driveway, you've never been here in the dead of winter).
Thinking of getting to plow the snow from the comfort of the heated cab of a pickup truck, with Rozzie and Zoe along, makes it feel all the more harsh when I think of the reality. Even in my snow pants and ski-jacket and skullcap under the knit beanie and the Wicked Warmers, some days, it's really cold. I do have an iPod along to keep me company while I run the plow, but it's not as nice as if Zoe and Rozzie were riding in a heated pickup with me while I did this task.
Even though I know it won't happen, I still hop out of bed every morning and look in hopes that I'll see a green pickup with a bright yellow plow on the front of it. Maybe there's such a thing as the power of a persistent wish. Maybe I'm just delusional. All I know with any certaintly is this: