Return to the Sun Room

We have a sun room again. We moved into this house a little over a year and half ago. It has taken a little time to get it comfy. For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been sitting in there on Friday nights listening to the KCCK Jazz Radio ‘da Friday Blues show hosted by John Heim, aka Big Mo. I used to do that regularly but we’ve not lived in a house with a sun room for several years. The Big Mo blues show has been a favorite of mine for a long time.

I suppose I could have listened to it in another room in the other homes we’ve lived in. But it wouldn’t have felt right. I connect sun rooms with ‘da Friday Blues on KCCK 88.3.

It’s hard to believe Big Mo is still doing the show. He suffered an accidental neck injury a few years ago that left him paralyzed from the neck down. He was hospitalized at the University of Iowa and went to rehab from there. He still sounds great. He retired from teaching in 2004. He hasn’t retired from having a good time and helping others enjoy music and life. There’s a lesson in that for us all.

Anyway, we have a great sun room again. We have a nice coffee table in there, with the mandatory coffee table book. Chet Randolph really didn’t write that book, Theory of Detasseling—but he could have.

coffee table book

 Here’s a tune from tonight’s show that fits the season.

It’s Iowa’s 175th Birthday; Get Out and Shovel Snow!

Today is Iowa’s 175th birthday. It’s also the first day of snow this winter. I had to get out there and shovel. I can celebrate Iowa’s 175th year of statehood by rubbing liniment on my sore shoulders. The Iowa statehood anniversary will be a year-long commemoration. If it snows anymore, I’ll be bathing in muscle cream for at least that long and will likely miss many of the events.

It was a wet, heavy snow. I pushed it around for hours. While sweeping snow from the front porch, I slipped off the first step and came down hard (but on my feet!) on the sidewalk instead of the second step. I was unhurt, but it was jarring. It reminded me of one of last year’s big snows which left enough ice on the driveway to make me slip and fall on my butt. The next-door neighbor, who was also out shoveling, saw it and looked at me a long time—but I bounced right back up. No need to call an ambulance. I’m good!

And then the city snow plows came through and did what they did last year. They left snow droppings in our driveway, which wasn’t really plugged but looked unsightly.

The only excuse I have for not going back out to clean it up is that it was raining steadily, and my winter coat and gloves were still soggy from sweat. It’s not like it was a couple of years ago, when we lived another part of town and the plows banked in drifts the size of small cars across our driveway. However, I have modified my shoveling technique. I no longer twist my back and throw snow over my shoulder (the John Henry model). I bend my knees and keep my back straight.

There will be more snow tomorrow, later in the day. Maybe it will be late enough that it will be too dark to shovel. Or maybe all the shovels in our garage will meet with some sudden, mysterious accidental breakage that makes them useless. The roads will probably be too icy and impassable from snow drifts for driving to the hardware store to buy replacements.

That’s how things go in the winter around the Midwest, especially in places like Iowa, ravaged by 175 years of snowstorms, freezing temperatures, shovels, and oceans of liniment.

On Christmas eve, when it looked like there would be no snow for Christmas Day, I remembered my blog on WordPress had a setting that would make snow fall and blow across our websites. It looks like that stopped about 6 or 7 years ago to allow a sharper focus on the business aspect. A lot of bloggers were unhappy about the change. You had to pay to play to get the Holiday Snow, which means you had to purchase the Business Plan blog and a special plugin, which could then be exploited by hackers.

Today, I got all the snow I would ever need. Happy Birthday, Iowa!

ADDENDUM 12/29/2021:

Today I used an ice chopper to clear the snow blobs from my driveway, which had been frozen into ice blobs overnight. I also chopped the ice from the curb ramp on my sidewalk which the city snow plow had also plugged yesterday. An official city truck was driving by and witnessed me clearing it. Will it make a difference? It started snowing again this evening.

Kindness Alert!

This is just a brief announcement—a Kindness Alert. This past Saturday, we got our first load of snow of the season dumped on us, which meant we had to go out and shovel. Our driveway is pretty big. We don’t have a snowblower. This means we were out there about an hour and a half powering our way through a few inches of wet, heavy snow.

And naturally, that meant the city snowplows plugged in our driveway shortly after we went inside, foolishly congratulating ourselves on a job well done. I think there must be some kind of local ordinance requiring all driveways to be plugged with snow right after the homeowners finish clearing them. I’ve posted about this before.

But then as we watched from our front window, our neighbor interrupted his own snow removal work to clear off our driveway plug and then some. In fact, he used a snowblower and a shovel! He spent considerable time on the job. It was an impressive act of kindness. I remember wanting to rush out in the cold to thank him.

Little did I know that I would have the opportunity to return the favor. Shortly after our neighbor finished, another snow plow rumbled through and dumped more show in our driveway and even spread it around more generously in other places near the curb—and even shoved snow over the curb on the lawn. By that time, the stuff had frozen into small boulders of ice and mud.

I plodded outside again and cleaned it up. Then I noticed that the snowplow driver had also piled more snow on my neighbor’s side. In fact, I did return the favor—sooner than I thought I would.

A big shout-out for my neighbor’s act of kindness!

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