Monday, January 26, 2015

Mother Nature Is Not My Marriage Counselor

Husband and I don't agree on everything. Shocking, I know.

Sometimes our disagreements are based on the way we were raised; we disagree, for example, as to whether kids should learn and do household chores. One of of was cleaning the bathroom and dusting the furniture by third grade; one of us didn't learn how to clean a bathroom till grad school.

Sometimes we simply have different tastes. We disagree on meatloaf vs. a Reuben with pickles and sauerkraut, well-done vs. rare meat, brownies with nuts or without, Greek vs. Caesar salad, Star Trek vs. The Gilmore Girls, baseball playoffs vs. the Academy Awards.

We disagree over the best route to get home, if Christianity should even be mentioned in a class on evolution, and whether it's okay to stack books on the basement floor as a permanent method of storage.

(Wow, that list got long!)

For the most part, though, we can live with our differences, agree to disagree, and move forward in a way that works for both of us.

But when it snows . . . oh, when it snows . . . we are in fundamental disagreement on a number of topics, and it does not go well at all.

Husband has lived in snowy climes for much longer than I have, so his opinions are rooted in four decades of experience and what he remembers from life in Indiana and Michigan in the 1970s. I moved to Boston from snow-less San Jose and was a blank slate; my opinions are based on what the people around me told me, what I've observed, and what I've read. Each of us firmly believes that our own opinion is grounded in common sense.

Our experience and opinions have very little overlap.

So, he and I disagree. Vehemently. We roll our eyes, we sulk, we mutter under our breath, and we argue, sometimes with great bitterness. Snow is beautiful, but our behavior — oh, it is not pretty.

If you'd like to discover where you fall on the wide scale of our differing opinions, I offer the following quiz.

 Welcome to Our Frozen Family Feud!

 A. When a big snowfall is expected, is it better to shovel several times during the snowstorm or wait till the end and shovel all at once?
  1. Wait till the end — why do double or triple the work?
  2. Wait till the end, partly for the reason above and partly because if you wait long enough, a dear little fairy might come along and do it all for you.
  3. Do it several times — it's easier and better for your heart to shovel small amounts of light snow than large amounts of heavy, possibly frozen snow, so even though you're out there more often, you are actually doing less work.
(Need to research this question? Read Tip #13)

B. After a big snow, should you clean off your entire car so that the snow on the roof doesn't freeze, turn into a giant ice sheet, and slide off the next time you drive right into the nearest driver's windshield?
  1. No. Only a nancy cleans off the entire car.
  2. No. The snow will melt before you drive the car again, or it will fall off in little bits, or it will otherwise fix itself. This giant ice sheet is a myth perpetuated by people with too much time on their hands, also nancys.
  3. Yes.
(Need to research this question? Try this or this)

C. Should you remove ice manually when possible or solely depend on de-icing chemicals or salt?
  1. Chemicals. If God didn't want us to use de-icer, He wouldn't have given us the brains to invent it.
  2. Neither. If you wait long enough, the ice will melt on its own — or a dear little fairy might come along and do all the work for you.
  3. Manually. Chemicals and salt are not good for concrete or the environment. It is relatively easy to break ice into chunks and remove it manually; use chemicals sparingly as a last resort.
(Some background info can be found here and here)

Follow-up question:

C+: Is it enough to simply sprinkle de-icer, or do you need to come back later and remove the slush resulting from the melted ice (which will ultimately re-freeze if you don't tend to it)?
  1. Sprinkling is enough. Ice goes away. Magic! (See: dear little fairy)
  2. You have to remove the slush, which then deposits the salt and chemicals directly atop our lawn, plus, the nice pretty white snow is now covered with disgusting gray slush.
(If I've not yet whetted your curiosity about ice-melt products, you can read more here)

D. "It's been snowing for a while, but the neighbors aren't shoveling yet." Is this a compelling reason to delay your own shoveling?
  1. Yes. I respect, nay, idolize my neighbors, and I want to do everything exactly the way they do it.
  2. Yes. The popular vote is always correct. If 0 out of 11 neighbors haven't started shoveling, that's all I need to hear.
  3. Yes. I care about my neighbors' opinion. If I shoveled before they did, I might hurt their feelings, or they might think I'm uppity.
  4. I think about my neighbors a lot.
  5. No.
(I tried to find some supporting research; there's some creepy stuff out there about being obsessed with your neighbors, and lots of dry/hysterical pieces on abolishing the electoral college. You're on your own for this one. Good luck!)

How did you do?

At this writing, Boston is preparing for more than two feet of snow to be dumped on us starting tonight. Other people may be stocking up on bottled water and batteries; I'm off to Trader Joe's, the liquor store, and the library. Priorities, people.

I really love snow.

Maybe Husband and I won't argue tomorrow. Maybe we'll wake up to our winter wonderland with hearts full of peace and accord.


Stay warm and safe, my friends!

— Lady C


  1. I love a big storm! Yay for snowdays, since I am lucky enough to have a warm, well-stocked home!
    Mrs. Cynicletary

    1. There's nothing like a snowday! Or a dame!


  2. I think Betty MacDonald herself would approve the sublime objectivity of your quiz. It's noble, really. Wishing you a warm and cozy blizzard with sensible interludes of shoveling. -- SDF

    1. I LOVE being compared to Betty MacDonald! Betty for the win!!!!

  3. In my school work world I see this as the classic arrangement between the BOE (who decides WHAT needs to get done) and the chief school administrator (who decides HOW the what will get done) and this arrangement only works if everyone respects these boundaries. While I smack my Board with my proverbial ruler when they try to micromanage me, this is an area I happily take the lead in "the what" (darling, I need to driveway cleared in time for me to...) and let hubby take full control of the how. In my slippers and robe sipping coffee by the fire, I bite my tongue regarding his efficiency and let him warm his hands on whatever warm body parts he pleases when he stomps back in to my adorations of "good job honey!"

    1. If someone else did all the shoveling at my house, I would never say a word!!!!

      (Husband has high blood pressure, I don't want him doing all the shoveling. We now have grown children who help, and that is something.)