Digging Out by Mae Clair

I live in a northeastern state which means we have unpredictable winters. The last few have been cold, but we’ve been spared any major snowfall. Until recently. I’m sure most of you know a storm of historic proportions hammered the east coast over the weekend. It is now officially the Blizzard of 2016. To put that in perspective, our last blizzards occurred in 1996 and 1993.

In my area, Old Man Winter hit us with the largest snowfall on record—30.2 inches in a single day. Ugh!

The snow started Friday night, about an hour before I left work, and continued all day Saturday until approximately seven o’clock that night. At times we were getting an inch or two per hour.

Below is a shot taken from my front door looking down my driveway. The lump on the right side is my husband’s Jeep Grand Cherokee. And the light in the bottom left is the top of our lamppost, peeking out above the deluge.

Blizzard of 2016 snowfall showing buried vehicle and very top of lamppost peeking about the snow

Hubby spent that night snowblowing our drive and half of our neighbor’s (she’s an older woman) while I spent over an hour cleaning off his Jeep. The next day after the plow came through we were back at it again.

Check out this lovely image of my mailbox.

Blizzard of 2016, mailbox buried in snow mound

After digging it out and removing the snow row the plow left at the foot of our driveway, we headed next door to our neighbor. By that point, the snow was above my knees, much too deep for the blower. So I spent the time knocking down row after row with a shovel while DH followed behind with the snow blower. He wanted me to take over the blower, but I’m not very good with anything mechanical and gas-powered, unless it’s a car. 🙂

Monday the roads were a mess. We went out in the morning but were back by the afternoon. I used the time to change a major thread in my current WIP. That involved its own kind of digging out—going back through and reworking the thread wherever it cropped up in the story. I had hoped to use the time for writing, but the edit took longer than anticipated. No worries, as I had taken off work on Tuesday and planned to spend the day writing.

Tuesday morning arrived with freezing rain that turned the roads into a skating rink. I was glad I didn’t have to inch my way into work. Before I opened my WIP, I had a promo card I needed to create for A THOUSAND YESTERYEARS. I figured it would take me no more than a half hour. Multiple computer issues, browser issues, three calls to tech support, and a glaring mistake on my end, and I finally finished the project—two and a half hours later. The low point came after I had created a rack card in Photoshop and then inadvertently saved something over the file.

The next few minutes involved choice words, the uncontrollable urge to sob, and two Excedrin.

Then it was back at it again.

When I finally completed the thing I needed to get out of the house. Hubby and I did some errands but it was far from relaxing. More like a Christmas rush. I don’t know if the whole world no longer holds day jobs, or just that everyone who hadn’t been out for the last three days decided to hit the roadways and flock to the stores. Insane!

We grabbed a late lunch to unwind. Finally a place free of crowds and mountains of snow in the parking lots. As I type this, I’m getting ready to hit the WIP again. The downside is I had planned to put a huge dent in the project with 4 days off in a row. Instead I reworked a single thread and managed a paltry 2059 in word count.

Which means…I’ve still got a lot of digging out to do. Hopefully, your last few days have been far more productive than mine. If I don’t see snow again until next year, I’ll count it a blessing!

39 thoughts on “Digging Out by Mae Clair

    • AGH! I’m so jealous! We keep talking about moving to Florida in a few years, or at least getting a second home there. Neither of us are cut out for winter, especially as we age. 70-degree weather in January. Sure wish you could ship some of that to the north, LOL!

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      • I really enjoyed Georgia too. It has the four seasons equally spaced out not three months a piece with only snow, if we were lucky, and then only three days max per year. Here, it’s perpetually green. Green is pretty, but as an environment color, it gets stale.

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      • Hubby and I want to check out Georgia, too. I’m worried Florida might be too packed for us (we live in town of about 13K but would like to go smaller). We thought maybe Georgia would be warm enough but not as congested.

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      • I loved my little hometown of 700 residents in Pine Mountain GA. Callaway Gardens is there, FDR State Park. The Little White House is close. We had 150 acre farm so no close neighbors, but LaGrange is 17 miles north and Columbus is 35 miles south, and if you really need a big city, Atlanta is only 1.5 hours away.

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  1. Indeed,snow beautiful in pictures.
    I understand you, Mae, as where I live, we are used to 2-3 snowstorms each winter month. We had our share of them in January. Add arctic temperatures and you had the image. Now, the snow is slowly melting and turns into ice during the night; and a new snowstorm is forecast in the following week. We had, some years, late snow even in April, though I don’t live in the mountains or hills. Bravo for you two helping the elderly lady! I know what it means to be almost buried under a mountain of snow. It happened in 2012 and 2014. I will send you pictures by email.
    Stay safe and warm!

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    • Can’t wait to see those photos, Carmen, although it must be awful to have that constant bombardment of snow. I admit it was pretty and beautiful when it first fell. Standing in the driveway that night there was such a hush over everything and the sky was crystal clear. Then, of course, came the reality of digging out. I’m hoping we don’t have to do it again this year. I’ll cross my fingers you don’t have to do it again, either. Bring on the summer! 🙂

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  2. I feel for you, Mae. Even in the “great white North”, getting almost 3 feet of snow dumped on you is no fun. And rain after? Ugh. We’ve been lucky so far this year (sure, now I jinxed it 😉 ). We’re even going to see above-freezing temps this week–woo-hoo! I love technology–when it works. Better yet, I can work from home if I need to, even if our Internet connection is slow (yep, still running DSL out here–sigh). Now, if I can just get my hubby to plow or snowblow the drifts on the driveway…

    Good luck with your WIP! I’m letting mine rest this week, and instead walking through one of my finished mss to tweak it. I’ll keep my Muse home–no pub crawls with Mr. E 😉

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    • The snow kind of put a dent in the plans I’d made with Mr. E., but at least I know he wasn’t out on a pub crawl, LOL!

      Glad to hear you’re getting a break from the white stuff this year. I’ve had my fill of it and am sooooo ready for spring and summer.

      Good luck with the ms. Letting the WIP rest for a while is always a good idea, and I know your muse will have you tackling it again in no time! 😀

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  3. I know where you’re coming from. Seems as though every time I get a block of time to work on my WIP I have such high aspirations. Then…it all goes downhill. At least we didn’t have to dig out as you did from the storm. All we had in the Florida Panhandle was COLD! ~Elle

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    • Hi, Elle. It’s sooo frustrating when unexpected circumstances rear their ugly heads and interfere with the WIP plans. I had really hoped to knock out a nice word count. Now it looks like I’ve got to hunt up a new chunk of time.

      Stay warm down there. When the panhandle is cold you know it’s winter! 🙂

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    • Hi, Penelope. Great to have you drop by! I am completely with you on the bigger snow blower….or maybe a tractor/plow, LOL. I wonder how long all this stuff is going to take to melt!

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  4. Sadly, I wasn’t much more productive than you. Maybe worse. Yesterday I dealt with website issues, which ate up my entire day and I’m still dealing with, though the end is in sight. Everyone will get an email explaining this, so I won’t get into here, but let’s just say I had several choice words and downed a bottle of Excedrin, too. 🙂 But right after I type this I’m crawling into my writer’s cave and shutting out the world for a few hours.

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    • Your web woes sound ominous, Sue. I hope it’s nothing you couldn’t work out. I’ll keep an eye out for the email. Like you, I’m going to try to crawl into the writing cave this week. A few uninterrupted hours at this point would be bliss. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for both of us!

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    • You’re right about the word count. It’s just that I’ve got this looming contract deadline and that makes me nervous.

      The snow was beautiful to look at Saturday night…the clean up not so nice, LOL. We’ve yet to have a mail truck show up in our neighborhood. I’ve got my fingers crossed for today.

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      • I’m torn now. You have a contract, so that’s a plus. My only deadlines are self imposed, so that’s a plus. I imagine your books do better than mine, so you win. Better get busy.

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      • I’m not so sure about that. Eclipse Lake is an indie release and that book did well, so there’s a huge benefit to writing indie, I think. You don’t have to share those proceeds 🙂

        I’ve never had to write to a contract before. Normally I have the book done and THEN send it to the publisher. This was the first time I made a proposal, they accepted, and then I had to produce the book. Not sure I will do it again. Working it full time makes it hard!

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  5. I know it’s so hard appreciate when there’s so much of it and there are headaches that come with it…but your pictures of the snow are beautiful. As dangerous and frustrating as a large snowfall can be, seeing pictures like this always take me back to my childhood and home town where we made snow forts and played in the white stuff – a lot. But my all time favorite memory was watching the heavy flakes fall under the street lamps.
    Wishing you warmth and safety and great progress on your WIP in the days to come, Mae. Thanks for sharing the pictures.

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    • You should have seen the photos on our local news, Stanalei….kids in snowforts or building snowmen, or just enjoying the heck out of the stuff. My husband and I even talked about how when you’re a kid, snowfall is simply magical. I remember doing on that stuff, too.

      And I will admit on Saturday night when I first walked outside, getting ready to clean off hubby’s Jeep, I had to soak it all in for a time. Freshly fallen snow at night is breathtaking. We could have just done without the 6 hours of snow blowing and shoveling that came afterward, LOL.

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  6. Thirty inches in one day–amazing. I’m just glad you all were physically all right. I can’t even imagine what your husband went through with the clearing. My husband was familiar with that, having been born and raised in Vermont. Those pictures are gorgeous, though. Old Man Winter made his presence known. As for computers woes–oh dear, do I know what you mean. Can’t do without them, but boy can they be frustrating. Stay warm.

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    • Wow, your husband was from Vermont, Flossie? He must have experienced some really dreadful winters. Even as bad as we had it, we talked about people north of us and to the northwest who deal with these kind of snows on a regular basis. As for the computer issues–I’m going to be a lot more careful in the future when I’m working on a project 😀

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  7. Hi Mae,
    Enjoyed your tale of snow! The Central Valley in California finally got some rain. We’ve only had a few days of freezing mornings and now we’re in the 60’s. Been out in the garden already. Fogged in this week though, and that’s okay. Keep up the hard work. You’re an inspiration to me!

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    • Mary, every time I see the weather on the west coast, I think of you. I’m jealous you’re working in your garden already. The thought of temps is the 60s is heavenly. I miss our writing exchanges. Hope you’re being productive and conjuring all kinds of new stories.

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  8. Great snow pictures – formidable! Last blizzard we had like that was 1974 when the plough cut my neighbour’s car in half because it was completely buried. What visited you as snow found its way to us as wind and rain. England has had some of the worst rainfall in a hundred years this winter, main routes have been cut off and thousands of homes have been flooded, in some cases for the second time in just a couple of years. The City of Carlisle should consider twinning with Venice. The two places have much in common, where water levels are concerned. As I write it is blowing force eight outside – roll on Spring!

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    • Wow, you’e had some crazy weather, Fred! It sounds like the blizzard of ’74 was one to tell the grandkids about.

      I have another friend who lives in England, but I’m not sure what part she’s in. Shopshire? (Something like that). I wonder if she’s getting hit with all of the wind and rain, too. It sounds awful. Hopefully spring will kick butt when it gets here! 🙂

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