Tag Archives: winter

You spin me right round…

Winter in NYC. First snowfall and my shitty minivan got stuck at the bottom of a hill. Our house is on the top of the hill. Far better drivers than me (everyone I know) struggled to get the car up.

An inch of snow and a minor hill and I was totally grounded.

It’s going to be a long winter.

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This morning I drove the van to a tire place and got snow tires put on. This is my last ditch attempt to let the van show its worthiness.

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The tire guy told me I had to bring the car in to have the tires rotated at the end of the winter.

“Um, excuse me sir,” I whisper. “But don’t the tires rotate on their own? I mean isn’t that what tires do?”

Blank stare. Awkward laugh.

Apparently rotate means switch places.

Another day, another lesson.

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Filed under driving, Minivans, New York City, weather, winter

Good News and Bad News

A new friend told me that any tour of her family’s new house includes a look at her new boiler, which represents a chunk of cash they couldn’t spend on something a lot more fun, like a new bathroom.

So naturally I was less than thrilled when the boiler guy stood in my basement yesterday and spoke words you never want to hear from any repairman, let alone a boiler repairman: “I’ll put in this new part and then we should just pray.”

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(Photo is blurry to protect the identity of said boiler. Ok, not really. I just take crappy pictures.)

On the very same day I dropped my car off at the shop because it squeaks whenever I turned a corner or went over one of Riverdale’s many, many speed bumps.

“Tell him it’s the suspension,”‘said M.

I can’t tell you what suspension is, but I do know my minivan was no match for last years’s winter. Between the snow drifts, the crater-like potholes and the unpaved roads, the van crawled into spring on it’s last breath. (I have already written about the place in town that charges $25 to basically reattach the bottom of Honda Odysseys that have been torn off by ice.)

Later the day, in the middle of boiler drama, I get a call from my mechanic, Bruce.

(Allow me just say that if all people in life were a) this good at their jobs and b) this respectful to women, complainers and feminists would be out of business. And I’m not just saying this because his name is Bruce. Bruuuuuce.)

“Your suspension (whatever that is) is fine,” he said. “Wanna know why it’s squeaky? It’s your bike rack, and your front bumper, which is about to fall off.”

I didn’t feel like an idiot, because Bruce doesn’t let me. This summer when I drove in and said, “it’s barely running and the battery light just went on,” he said, “that’s not your battery, that’s your engine light, and I’ll fix it.”

No judging. No shame. Bruuuuce.

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The car is fine. And it seems that the boiler guy has a direct line to God, because it’s fine too.

Bring on winter. (Ok, not really.)

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Filed under driving, House, Minivans

The Van

I’ve made no secret of my disdain for the minivan. But lately I’ve been feeling sorry for both our cars. They were both purchased on the west coast; hell, one of them hails from Southern California. They didn’t ask for any of this.

The shitty minivan is especially perplexed. (Where am I, Toto? What is all this cold, icy business falling from the sky?)

First, I slid on some ice and tore off the side mirror. (In case you were wondering, duct tape is remarkably effective.)

I won’t even go into the cracked windshield. It’s still too painful. Damn you, winter branches.

This morning I tried to back the car out of my driveway. I got stuck with about 2/3 of the car sticking out into the street. One of my front wheels was wedged in what appeared to be an ice hole. I sat there for about thirty minutes. The smell of burning rubber from my spinning tires was starting to make me queasy.

A kind man unsuccessfully tried to dig me out. I called AAA, but they apparently did not have me on file, even though I held a VIP member card in my hand. M, the reigning king of VIP membership, took this as a personal affront and called them later to find out why; they had no record of my call.

(Eerie. Like Sandra Bullock in The Net.)

Eventually the kindest sanitation workers in NYC showed up, dug me out, got behind the wheel of my car and drove it out, and then told me that “We’d all been there.”

My God, I love New York.

But the car has taken a bad winter beating.

Between today’s debacle, and my collision with a snow bank in Yonkers a few weeks ago, the underside of the minivan is wrecked.

A giant piece of plastic has been ripped off, and is now dragging underneath the car like entrails spilling out of a dying deer.

Passers-by point and stare.

I can hear the dragging sound over the car radio.

Tomorrow I’m going to try and fix it with some duct tape.

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Filed under children, driving, New York City, parenting, Uncategorized, weather, winter

Snow Morning

I think I spoke a little too soon about the paltry snowfall.

I had a semi clever idea last night. I quickly realized that once my kids knew that it was a snow day, that they’d be up and in my room way before I was ready to experience them. For a reason that I will never understand, I had to drag their zombie asses out of bed yesterday (and all school mornings) at 7.15, but come weekends, holidays and snow days, they leap out of bed and into my face at 6.30. (This phenomenon is in a category with photosynthesis and the process by which chicken lays eggs that turn into other chickens, and eggs that don’t: Things that I acknowledge, but will never understand.)

“The school sent another email,” I said last night, as I was putting them to bed. “The snow day is being reconsidered due to paltry snowfall.”

“Nice try,” said one of the boys. “You just want us to stay in bed past eight.”

Eight? If all of you slept until eight, I’d call the pediatrician. At this point I would gladly take seven thirty. My trick kind of worked. The boys may have been awake, but they didn’t surface until NINE. I’m certain they were partly convinced that if they showed their faces, I’d tell them the snow day had been called off.

By nine, however, I’d already been subjected to over two hours of three year old, and one hour and forty five minutes of five year old. I’m done, and they’re only getting started.

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Filed under children, New York City, parenting, snow, weather, winter

Prophylactic

It turns out that I’m a lover of winter. It’s been years since I’ve had a proper one (London, 1995)… And I’m thrilled to be in the thick of it here in New York. (Okay, so it’s only December… I may be less thrilled in February. As far as I am concerned, there has never been anything thrilling about February.)

Still, winter has it’s challenges. I’m not emotionally ready to discuss the hazards of winter driving in my neighborhood. You should just know that I’ve grown used to the panic of being stuck up a hill with my wheels a-spinning. I’ve never loved the minivan, and currently, I’m loving it less. (Can you break up with something you’ve never loved?)

But running in winter is a marvel. I feel a bizarre mastery of the elements and for a few, brief moments a day, I feel tough.

Truthfully, there is nothing tough about me. I am especially un-tough when I am slipping on my ass while running down an icy hill. So, I did some research on snow proofing my shoes.

A friend sent me a video of a very fit man screwing nails into the soles of his shoes. I asked M if he could do it for me, but he only told me that someone who falls regularly without ice underfoot has no business running on ice.

Pshaw.

Then I remembered that my Seattle running partner sent me a pair of these.. As a joke?

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These are basically shoe condoms with nails on the bottom:

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I slid my feet into them and was ready for the road. (Note: I am quite well endowed in the foot department and there are therefore a bevy of dirty comments I could make. But I’m too much of a lady to do so.)

My outfit now consists of running tights, shirt, jacket, neck warmer, gloves, baseball hat (if it’s snowing.. To keep the snow out of my eyes), warm hat (over baseball cap)… And now shoe condoms.

It’s an incredibly hot sight. I’m both tough and incredibly hot in my spectacular running getup.

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Filed under New York City, parenting, running, sports, weather, winter

Snow Shoes

My clever running partner in Seattle just sent me these:

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Apparently they will turn my sneakers into snow shoes once the abominable NY winter is upon me.

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Not amused. The temp is already dropping, and while it’s still sunny and crisp, I know what’s coming is going to (in some sick, sick way) make me pine for the mild piss-fest that is a Seattle winter.

Or not.

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Filed under New York City, running, Seattle, Uncategorized, winter