Unplowed Side of the Street


We’ve all heard the phrase “the wrong side of the tracks.” It is usually used to indicate that a person has grown up in a rough part of town – typically one that is high in poverty, and sometimes high in crime. I have no problem owning the fact that I am one who definitely grew up on the wrong side of the tracks.

Now, as a homeowner, I apparently live on the unplowed side of the street. We had a snowstorm last week that dumped about a foot or so of snow. What made the storm even more challenging was that I was home sick at the moment with a fever and a few other nasty symptoms. Spending an hour or more outside trying to shovel 12 inches of wet, heavy snow was challenging to say the least. 

I used the snow sleigh that I got last winter, which is way easier than a normal shovel. With the snow sleigh, I only have to push the snow. I do not have to pick the snow up and throw it as you do with a shovel. The only challenge is that the snow sleigh is rough on my knees. After pushing the snow, I have to get it off the snow sleigh. Both knees were bruised on both sides of each knee and I had trouble walking the week after. Not great for an athlete that is a runner.

I will admit I am missing my neighbor who helped me last year with the snowblower. They moved, so I am on my own.

Shoveling the sidewalk and the driveway are not too awful bad. The biggest problem is that I also have to shovel the road.

Yes, you read that right. I had to shovel the road.

Welcome to America, where I live on the unplowed side of the street. 

Even though the village snowplow has to drive both up the street and down the street, they have decided to only plow one side of the road, and it is not the side I live on. So not only does the mail carrier and the newspaper carrier have to try to get through half a street’s worth of snow to get to my mailbox, but I have to try to get through half a street’s worth of snow to get to my driveway.

This happened last year. The village had me in tears. When I called to complain, they said they would come out and plow my side of the street, but if they had to do it again, they would charge me. Charge me to plow the street? I’m a homeowner! Isn’t this why I pay taxes?

This fight is not over, as I will be attending a village board meeting and doing everything possible to become a major pain in the ass until my side of the street is plowed.

Hey, just because I am low income, does not mean I should have to live on the unplowed side of the street. In fact, I need to be able to get to work more than some of the higher income people on the plowed side of the street. I need the income! But, I supposed that people in American society who earn more money must do more meaningful work, so even though we pay the same taxes, they must be more deserving of snow plowing. 


That’s how the village seems to think.

I thought that by purchasing a home when I have never even lived in a house before was a sign that I was moving up in the world. I guess the only place I moved was from the wrong side of the tracks to the unplowed side of the street.

For the record, I have also now contracted someone to plow my driveway this winter. I cannot physically take care of the snow. I thought that snow was easier than grass/lawn maintenance. I was wrong. I am not cut out for homeownership, but it is better than being homeless. Owning a home is definitely cheaper than rent in my area.

Anyone else live on the the unplowed side of the street? Welcome to the neighborhood. 

Hopefully by the end of this winter, I will be able to convince the village that my side of the road is as worthy of snow plowing as the opposite side. 


Welcome, Storm Harper!


Frequently cursing snow, storms, ice, and winter, the fact that I am excited about a snowstorm is momentous. So momentous, we should talk about why this storm is exciting.

This is my first significant snow storm my first year in my house as a new homeowner. We’ve been getting snow since October, and I have been loathing it for the past four months. Driving since my stroke is a challenge, and driving in winter since my stroke is a near impossibility I somehow manage to overcome. Not to mention, snow cramps my training schedule. I can’t run in snow.

When we first got snow in October, I felt a twinge of happiness. With snow, I don’t have to deal with the grass. Mowing lawn is a problem for me. I injured myself severely for weeks and almost required physical therapy to overcome the injury. This is why I now pay for lawn service and was happy when it snowed. Snow means no grass to have to maintain.

I had 11 days off for Christmas vacation and was hoping we would get a storm then so I didn’t have to drive. We didn’t get one.

The best part about winter storm Harper is that it came on a weekend. Monday is a holiday, so I have three home days. As long as this thing wraps itself up tomorrow so we can dig out, I should be good.

There was 2-3 feet forecast for my area. I’m not sure how much snow we actually got, but there is well over a foot.

Luckily, we got the light and fluffy snow. I shoveled a few inches yesterday afternoon and again last night before bed. They had forecast 1-2 inches of snow per hour in the overnight.

I’m thankful that with all the snow we got, I have power, heat, water and food. I don’t have to go anywhere until Tuesday.

One significant change now that I am in the house is that the road is plowed. When I was in the apartment, our road was never plowed. When we got 4 feet of snow in 2017, the county decided to plow the road on day 3 of that storm and ended up getting the county plow truck stuck at the end of the road (and the road still did not get plowed). The snow plow was stuck at the end of the road an entire day before they could get it out.

My house is in a Village, and the Village plowed the road. Yay (and thank you)!

A second significant change now that I am in the house is that there are not snowmobiles directly outside my bedroom window at 3 am. When I was in the apartment, it was near a snowmobile trail. The snowmobiles would decide to deviate from the trail and ride through my backyard. I was often woken up in the middle of the night by the roar of the machines and their headlights shining directly on my bed. Thankfully, again, the house is in a Village. There are no snowmobiles directly outside my bedroom window in the wee hours of the morning anymore.

This storm is so significant that when I went outside today, I had to wear my snow pants. I have not had to wear my snow pants since that big storm back in March 2017.

I made a snow angel. In my own backyard.

Sure, I’ve made now angels before. This was my very first snow angel in my OWN BACKYARD. I just think it’s really cool.

I mean, it’s not like I have to go to a park or something to make snow angels, only to have them destroyed by people running and sledding around. I made a snow angel in my own backyard.


We are really fortunate that we got the light and fluffy snow.

I shoveled it. One of my neighbors has been using his snowblower to help me this winter when we get a good amount. We have had many times this winter when we get 8-9 inches at a time, like that first snowfall in October. I’m pretty sure this is our first storm that is well over a foot.

However, my neighbor’s snowblower is not working right now, so I was shoveling. I would have shoveled anyway. While I am grateful for the help, I try not to rely on it completely. I shoveled the front walk and the sidewalk. Unfortunately, if the utilities need to read my meters, they’re going to be screwed, but whatever. We have a lot of snow, and I’m one person who weighs about 100 pounds soaking wet. I’m just happy the sidewalk and driveway are done.

We got so much snow I didn’t quite know where to put it all. So, I got out the trusty wheelbarrow that I used for the leaves in the fall. I am so blessed that the people who sold the house left me some tools in the garage and basement. The wheelbarrow is one of the items they left me. Today I used it to take snow from the end of the driveway (where the road snowplows tend to “block in” driveways). I got sick of putting snow on the shovel and then having to walk it to the pile at the side of the house, so I was happy I thought of the wheelbarrow.

I am able to shovel snow with much more ease that I can use a lawnmower. I may despise snow, but snow is easier for me to maintain than grass. I prefer grass and sunshine. I just can’t maintain a lawn. Oh, the joys of homeownership.

I have been thinking about getting a snowblower. However, given my physical inability to handle a lawn mower for the grass, I am thinking I would have the same challenge with a 40 pound snowblower. I’ve been spraying the snow shovels with cooking spray. Luckily, this snow is light and fluffy, otherwise I would be screwed.

I’m actually looking to purchase a snow sleigh in lieu of a snowblower. I have heard that snow sleighs are the next best thing to a snowblower and are easier for those with physical challenges and those who are older to handle. We will see about that. I am going to have to order a snow sleigh because everyone here is out of stock. Hopefully, I will have a snow sleigh for the next storm to try out.

Clarence (the outside homeless cat) is nowhere to be found. I do not see any little paw prints or anything that looks like a cat trying to get through snow. Hopefully, where ever he is, he is warm and safe. It is supposed to be 30 degrees below zero tonight and tomorrow. If Clarence does make it here, there is the cat shelter in my garage for him, and I replace the food and water twice a day. I’ve also been taking a microwaveable rice bag, heating it, and putting it in the cat shelter to try to provide a little heat.

Feral cats have their hiding places, and this one has survived this long before I lived here for the winter. Hopefully he is someplace where he can weather this storm and make it another year.

The last reason why this snowstorm is significant is that church was cancelled today. Yes, church was cancelled. Whoever heard of that? I have heard of school closings and business closings for snow, but not church. Every single business I have worked for over the past 25 years, with the exception of my current employment, has followed the schools for snow closures. However, there is no school on the weekends.

There is so much snow, there was no church today.

I think that is the other reason why I was so happy to make snow angels today. Making a snow angel for the first time in my own backyard was kind of a way to make a happy sign to God to say thank you for this house.

Along with all the snow, we have to get through the below zero temperatures tonight and tomorrow, hopefully, we can continue to weather this storm safely. I feel very privileges and really blessed that I am handling it as well as I am. Well, given that it is a weekend and I don’t have to call into work helps also.

Hope that everyone out there is warm and safe with water and food in this storm. Be well!

Welcome, Storm Harper!



Hey, Jude


Here is the newest installment in the monthly #FelineFriday series.

How my third and youngest son took a sad song and made it better.

My 3 year old is in charge. When Kip passed away from a chronic illness at age 14, it left just Kitty and I. Again. I always called Kip and Kitty the dynamic duo. They grew up together. Kitty and I were alone the first year; then Kip had arrived shortly after Kitty’s first birthday. So after Kip passed away, Kitty and I were alone. I was okay with that.

Kitty was not. He needed a companion. We spend a lot of time together. We grieved together. As time went on, I noticed that instead of getting better, Kitty actually got worse. He was clingier and his anxiety levels seemed to increase when I left the house. He needed a companion.

I spent some time searching for the perfect companion for him. Being that Kitty is an older cat in his teens, I did not want to bring in some young punk that was going to push him around. I also knew that neither one of us has the tolerance to be able to survive kitten phase again. We needed a young adult with an easy-going personality.

I searched four local shelters talking to staff about cats and their personalities trying to find someone who would fit into our family. When I adopt, I adopt for life, so I wanted it to be a positive situation for everyone. I was not going to adopt and return or rehome if it did not work out. It needed to work out.

I had pretty much given up hope, thinking that the cat that would be the perfect match to join our family just wasn’t out there yet, but that it would happen in time. Quite a few people in my social circle knew I was looking to adopt. Then, one of them called me and said, “I’ve found the cat you want.” He was in a shelter about 2 hours away from where we live.

I called the shelter on a showy Valentine’s Day to inquire. I explained Kitty and my situation to the shelter manager, who seemed to think that the cat in general would be a good fit. We were in the middle of a central New York snowstorm. Both schools and my work were closed for the day. But, the plows had been out, the roads appeared clear, and I decided to make the 2-hour drive north to visit with our potential new family member.

Once I arrived, I spent a few hours at the shelter visiting with our potential new family member and talking with staff that had interacted with him. I learned of his background as a stray that had been taken from a hoarding situation that involved over 30 cats in a singlewide trailer. I talked to the shelter animal trainers about how he interacted with other cats in playgroups and socialization times.

We found our family member. Jude Raymond Anderson came home on February 14, 2014. He was 2 years old at the time.

I did the slow introduction method where I had Jude in a separate bedroom for about a week before I introduced him to Kitty. It did not go as planned. They had some accidental meetings. They were positive. They each knew the other was there and would put a paw under the door. Jude escaped. Kitty tried to enter Jude’s room. The introduction was not as gradual as it was supposed to be, but it was positive. There was no hissing or fighting involved.

Sometimes I am skeptical about their relationship. Jude is young and playful. Kitty will play with him to a point, but then gets tired, probably due to age, and seems irked that Jude continues to pursue him. Yet there are also times when they lick each other. I am pretty sure they are friends. Kitty’s anxiety level is almost non-existent now that he has a companion.

Jude is a joy in our household. He definitely keeps both Kitty and I on our toes. I am glad we did not get a kitten. It is challenging enough trying to keep up with a 3 year old. We play every day. He runs around the house. Jude is pretty good about settling down at night, though. He even sleeps with us sometimes.

By the way, Jude is the boy name I had picked out for a human child. Given that I am unable to have children, Jude is actually the first of my fur-babies to have a name I had reserved for a human child. It took a lot for me to do that. I think that when you are told you cannot have children that there is always some part of you that holds out hope that they are wrong. Giving Jude the name I had chosen for a human son was a big step for me in being able to accept my life, flaws and all. I love him like a son. I truly do. I have now raised 3 boys. Yes, they may have 4 paws and a tail, but they are all each very much my sons.

Jude entered a time in our lives when Kitty and I were perhaps the saddest we have ever been. We have a very different dynamic in our house with a 3 year old. I would not change it for the world. He has brought life and love to our house. In the true meaning of the Beatles tune after which he is named, Jude has indeed taken a sad song and made it better.

Hey, Jude. We love you.