First Posted in the Tri-Town Transcript February 5, 2015
So, I guess we’re not skipping the ‘snow’ part of winter this year. It was starting to look that waybut things went all blizzardy on us and now we’ll have snow piles until July. Except of course the snow on our roof. It will melt with an astonishing speed that strikes fear into home owners of the north. Behold the ice dam.
I didn’t know about ice dams until I moved to Boxford. Our home in Beverly had a very basic roof line that slanted up and then slanted down. Snow came off via gravity. But when we moved here, we learned about ‘architecturally interesting’ rooflines, as one contractor put it.
Architecturally interesting roof lines swoop and rise and wander off into valleys and vales where snow accumulates and does what it does in the real valleys and vales of the world: it glaciates.
Little mini glaciers all over our interesting roof, little glaciers that slowly share their watery properties with our ceilings.
And so when blizzards come and grocery stores run out of milk and bread (for that giant french toast snow party??) I ready the roof rake.
Initially, I watched a video about how to use one. This led me to realize that the manufacturers of roof rakes have never lived in the Tri-Towns . . . or any place with snow. These tutorials showed homes with straight roofs covered in a light dusting of snow. They included some know-it-all guy in jeans pulling down the snow as if the rake was easy to maneuver and always left behind orderly, straight lines.
Whatever, Mr. Jeans. You don’t know snow. Also you have an architecturally boring roof. We can’t be friends.
When I roof rake, first I layer up for a full body encounter. I will be hip deep much of the time in the white stuff, jeans are never an option. Naked would be better than jeans. Secondly, getting a roof rake onto the highest peak of an architecturally interesting house requires serious skill.
Regular Readers, there is no Ringling Brothers performer that can balance a 50-foot pole, with a guillotine at the end of it, while wading through banks of snow, and land it at the exactly the right spot (neither though the window, nor in the gutter) like a master roof raker. I like to think the circus may call me any day, and yet even still, I do not rake in straight, repeatable lines.
After all the raking of this last blizzard, I came in physically exhausted, (Mr. Jeans probably never breaks a sweat). I promptly changed into my pajamas and made some coffee when an urgent “MOMMY!!” came through the door. It was my older daughter pointing off into a snowdrift where I saw my youngest daughter flailing.
“What’s she doing?” I asked.
“She’s stuck! Her boot and sock came off somewhere in the snow, and we can’t find them. I put my glove on her foot, but I can’t get her out!”
Did I mention I had just changed? But what’s a post-roof raking mother to do when her youngest child is wearing a glove, on her bare foot, in a blizzard?
I raced into the snow bank and hoisted my daughter, and her bare foot, up into my arms and promptly sank down to my pajama-pant waist. Now I was stuck, along with the missing boot, and my younger daughter who was slowly freezing from her foot up.
With limited [no] options, I hucked her over the snow bank with my super hero strength (roof raking will tone you right up) and yelled, “Run for it!”
She ran barefoot into the house, while my older daughter and I dug around in the snow until we found the boot, the temporary boot-glove, and an escape route for me. Then, once again covered in snow, I trudged back inside.
I didn’t recall snow-rescue as part of Mr. Jean’s post-raking activities. Much as I hate it, let’s leave the rakes to those of us who know how to use them. He can keep . . . his jeans.