Define "a Life"...

... still searching for a clear definition of that thing people keep telling me I need to get...

Location: Springfield, PA

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


I'm about to head outside and try to get a little caught up with this snow storm, shovel the walks down a bit. Perhaps attack the end of the driveway; the plows have heaped the pile capping my drive almost as high as the mounds on either side, the snow I cleared from the drive a few days ago.

The snow's still coming down with great sincerity, but the winds seem to have died down a bit. A while ago, the gusts were making moments of whiteout between my door and the other side of the street...

Cleared the front walk and the sidewalk (well, my sidewalk) end to end. The end of the drive will have to wait. Still not wholly recovered from the weekend's shoveling, my back will only bear so much before starting to seize up. I'm glad I did what I did, though -- what with the snow blowing about and filling things in, it was already getting near impossible to discern just where the two-foot-deep pathways I'd made in the first snowfall had been. By the time I headed back inside, the walk I'd had clean a few minutes earlier had a new dusting stuck to it already. So the walks are caught up more or less, and the drive remains buried by what's certain to be the heaviest of the stuff I need to shift.

This snow isn't the relatively friendly powder that buried us over the weekend. At least it didn't start that way; after I'd scooped the top six or eight inches off rather easily, the next layer turned out to be of an altogether different character; clearing down to the pavement means shifting a thickish layer of wet snow and half-frozen slushy, heavy stuff. Temperatures last night and through today haven't been as low as they were for the weekend's storm. The air has been hovering around and just above freezing (although I'll testify that the gusts bite keenly), so we're dealing with a much wetter snow than before. Since easily half of the more than two feet at the end of my driveway is stuff piled there by the plows, it's going to be less like shoveling snow and more like shoveling two-litre bottles of soda three at a time.

I've been thoroughly inundated by the one thing I don't like about winter.

I'm going to eat lunch.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

4WD Nostalgia

Lots and lots of snow. Something like two feet, more with drifts. I shoveled a lot today. And my truck is thoroughly stuck at an odd angle in the driveway.

I have to keep reminding people that my Ford Ranger, while quite nice, is not 4-wheel drive.

This is one of those times when I really miss my old Jeep Wrangler. One of the last of the two-stick manual transmissions, it had a second shift stick for controlling the 4-wheel drive. As I understand it, the Wranglers they're making now have a push-button to switch into 4WD. Bleh. Gimme the old brute mechanics.
With 4-wheel low- and high-speed options, available in reverse as well as the 5-speed, you could manage something approaching 100% control over that Jeep's transmissions in all their permutations. I could pop into neutral while moving, engage the 4-wheel high, and ease into 4-wheel control at most any speed; that move got me out of more than one icy road spin. And in the 4-wheel low ratio, first gear could find and grab the slightest traction.

In short, no way would my old Jeep have skewed like the Ranger did backing out of a snowy driveway.

There are two modes in which I miss that old Jeep. In fair weather when riding in the open would feel great, and in wretched weather when the power and control would feel, well, powerful and in control.

But push-button 4-wheel drive? Might just as well get a Subaru.