Tuesday, February 17, 2015

No Two Snowflakes are the Same...

We're getting more snow and I went out to shovel.  I immediately noticed the shimmery snow and could see very distinct snowflakes.  In went the shovel, out came the camera and not my Nikon, my little Home Shopping Network Fuji camera,  a little fancier point and shoot with a super macro setting.  

Nature never fails to amaze me.  No two snowflakes are the same and I would concur.  I stood on my front walk and watched the snowflakes gently fall on my camera strap, scarf, ski jacket and some leaves on the bushes that haven't been buried under piles of snow.  

We've had enough snow here and everyone is frustrated, so hopefully these photos will bring a little enjoyment your way.

And one was chosen for the weather photo on the news!

Monday, February 16, 2015

It's Winter in Rhode Island...(a/k/a Antarctica)

People got cocky.  "We've been lucky, practically no snow this winter."  It's going to be spring in a couple of months and there has hardly been snow."

I never even took all of my winter clothes out.  Other than a couple of snow dustings and some cold snaps, we New Englanders were having quite a mild, uneventful winter.  This would all end on January 27 when winter storm Juno, a blizzard hit us all by surprise.  Not really a surprise as the media hyped it all up.  There was plenty of time to buy bread and milk and get to the liquor store.  Both the governors of Rhode Island, New York and Massachusetts were on the news telling everyone to spend Monday preparing for the storm and then 'hunker down' so the plows can do their jobs.  Our governor even declared a State of Emergency before the snow started to fall, but by the way some of the cities responded, you'd think we lived in the south and they had never seen snow.  The roads were plowed haphazardly, and on most side streets, only one car at a time could pass.  A woman sideswiped my husband's car causing thousands of dollars in damage.  People were walking in the streets as most sidewalks remained impassible.  Garbage pickup was suspended and some of us had not seen garbage trucks for over 2 weeks.  This was not the biggest storm we had ever had.  School was cancelled the day after the blizzard and there was a parking ban so the city could 'clean up' after the storm.  But instead of utilizing this day to widen the roads especially in light of the light snow that  had fallen, not one plow truck was to be seen.   So with the next blast of cold air a few days later, everything froze.
And then it snowed...on February 2, Groundhog Day coincidentally.  Winter storm Linus dumped almost another foot of the white stuff on us.  The roads got even narrower.  Schools were closed again.  We went sledding.  I drank wine.

Monday, February 9 - NO SCHOOL.  More snow.  More shoveling.  More drinks.  More food.  I don't even know what name they gave this storm.  I posted on my Facebook page that I was going to need to go to a fat farm and rehab if this snow continues.  Three storms in three weeks with almost a week added to the school year to makeup.  Some towns decided to take away February vacation to make up some days.  Some are thinking of using April vacation as makeup days.  My kids are off for February vacation starting on President's Day, February 16.  And it's a good thing, because...

IT FREAKING SNOWED AGAIN.  On Saturday, Valentine's Day.  The Valentine's storm, proper name winter storm Neptune dumped another 10 inches on us.

We've been eating lasagna, home-made mac and cheese, NY Style Weiners (it's a Rhode Island thing), sloppy joes, chicken marsala, oven BBQ'd ribs, shrimp scampi, pasta and meatballs, belgian waffles, breakfast sausage, bacon, fried tequila (yes, and it's delicious), wine, mimosas, chocolate croissants, lemon drops, french martinis, dirty martinis and did I mention wine?  (I'm hoping the hours of shoveling is a good workout).

 NY Style Weiners (Gaggers as we affectionately call them)

Roofs have caved in, there are giant icicles reaching down from the gutters and several neighbors have roof leaks.  The roads are narrow, traffic is horrendous and people are generally miserable.  
To add insult to injury, there is more snow predicted for tomorrow and Saturday.


But it looks so pretty...

Sunday, February 8, 2015

There's a Mouse in the House...

What is it about mice that elicit such hysterical shrieks when they allow themselves to be seen?  Many of my friends have had mice in their homes, but I never did.  We never had mice when I was growing up, nor in my own homes over the years.  

In late November, I was clearing out some of the things shoved behind one of the recliners in the living room in anticipation of Christmas decorating.  There were some reusable grocery bags and a bag of barley pellets that I use to clear up my pond.  When I picked up the bag of pellets, there was a small hole and the barley pellets spilled on the floor.  My daughter said, "You have mice."  We never had them and I was quick to dismiss it.  But a  week later, I was going through my baking cabinet, the only floor level cabinet in my home which had food in it.  As I was inventorying my supplies and making a list for ingredients I needed for Christmas cookies, I found loose brown sugar and some small holes in a bag of chocolate chips.  Upon closer inspection, I found some tiny droppings.  Ok, my daughter was right, there was a mouse in the house.  

I cleaned everything up, threw out the compromised sugar and chips and then got heavy tupperware containers to store the replacement sugar and chocolate chips.  My husband showed very little interest while I was freaking out.  I promptly went out and bought a couple of traps to put in the cabinet.  I bought the round traps that the mouse goes in and doesn't come out, and baited them with some peanut butter as instructed.  There were little scratch marks on the top of one of the traps which caused the spring to come through, rendering it useless after a week in the cabinet.  However, no mouse.

For several weeks after there was just the one trap in the cabinet. Still no droppings and no evidence of the mouse that we nicknamed Jerry, (from Tom & Jerry)...

But then....

I had come home from grocery shopping one January morning, put the items away and sat at the computer to check my email.  Al of a sudden I heard this gnawing sound.  It was loud.  I thought it was a squirrel outside scratching near the window, but I still went over to the cabinet, kicked the door, then opened it.  There was sawdust and a little hole in the corner of the cabinet.  Jerry ate a hole in my cabinet!  

My husband, who couldn't be bothered before, now all of a sudden was going to 'take control' of the situation and call his buddy who worked for a pest control company.  I just went to Home Depot and bought the little plastic traps that the guy there recommended.  I set 2 along the inside of the cabinet.  And the next day, Jerry finished the hole, but didn't go near the traps.  I added 2 more traps and even blocked the hole with one of them.  Still no Jerry and no droppings.  

Fast forward to this Monday night before dinner, the kids were watching TV and Michael yells, there's a mouse. We all looked but didn't see anything.  I chalked it up to the light reflecting off the vertical blinds.  

And Wednesday rolled around.  It was about 10:20 and the boys were getting ready to brush their teeth and go to bed.  My husband had gone into the bedroom to watch the Bruins game and fell asleep.  I was at my computer, printing up my eBay orders for shipping on Thursday.  I was going to get up to tuck the boys in bed and I looked down...  and screamed bloody murder.  The mouse with less than 3 feet away, near the counter, casually strolling by, IN MY DINING ROOM!!!  

I thought if I saw a mouse, I'd grab the camera, snap a photo if it didn't run too fast and whack it with something.  But no, total fear, incapacitation and shrieking.  My youngest son Michael jumped on the couch and covered himself with 4 blankets.  I got off the stool, still screaming while yelling to my older son David to get me my cell phone so I could use the flashlight and to also get the hammer out of the kitchen junk drawer.  He was saying "no, no, I'm not coming in there."  I was scrambling to put on my heavy winter boots.  What the hell was I going to to with the hammer?  And was I actually thinking of stepping on it with the boots?  

Where the hell was my husband?  There was enough screaming going on to wake the dead. I'm surprised none of the neighbors called the police.  But my husband was sleeping.  No sirens came.  He didn't hear a thing and evidently neither did the neighbors.   And as usual, it was up to me to take care of business.

I knew Jerry was still in the dining room.  I ran to get the phone and the hammer.  I aimed the flashlight at the baseboard on the back wall of the dining room.  I got to the water cooler and there were a lot of cobwebs, so I got my long duster and gently dusted the cobwebs on the left side of the cooler.  When I got to the right side and dusted, Jerry peeked out of the left side.  I screamed again.  I then noticed a space between the wall and the baseboard in the corner.  Jerry was peeking out at me with his beady little eye.  And that was that, I was getting that little bastard, (still screaming).  I took a trap out of the cabinet and put along the baseboard on the left of the cooler.  Then I got another trap and put it on the right of the cooler.  

Michael had gone from the couch to his bedroom, barricading his room with pillows to "keep the mouse out."  David and I were kind of pacing around.  About 10 minutes after placing the traps we heard a loud snap and both David & I screamed.  At first we didn't see the mouse, so we were still running around screaming.  When I hit the corner with the flashlight, we saw it.  So, still screaming, we ran into the bedroom yelling to my husband 'we got the mouse, we got the mouse, but YOU have to get it out of here.'  He flew up out of a sound sleep, trying to shake off the grogginess and finally absorbed what we were hollering about.  

He trudged into the dining room to take a look and he joined us in not wanting to go near it.  He had to throw a piece of wet paper towel at it to make sure it wasn't moving and then put plastic gloves on to pick up the trap and put it in a small box.  

They say if you have one, there's more, but I'm hoping it was just a rogue mouse.  But we replaced the used trap and still have traps in the cabinet and near the baseboard just in case...