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Kazoo and Furgus, (c) 2021

Furgus—who had surgery on his right knee on January 18—returned for another checkup on Wednesday. Recovery is going as planned, but there’s still another four weeks to go before he’s released from restrictions. And that’s pretty hard news for a guy who loves snowstorms like the one that happened that day. The good news for him is that we live in Colorado and there’s a reasonable chance we’ll still get some snow in late March and April (and—that’s where I’m going to stop—for now).

Furgus is a sweet boy—unless you’re a squirrel or the kind of malefactor who walks your dog on the sidewalk in front of our house. Even the squirrels and said malefactors are catching a break from Furgus this winter. But, don’t worry—he’ll be back, barking at the fence as soon as allowed.

For now, Furgus spends his days snuggled up with Kazoo, who turned one two weeks ago. Lazy days, but filled with much love from his admiring brephew (Furgus is genetically Kazoo’s uncle, but lives as his brother—or Bruncle Furgus, as he’s called here).

Like Furgus and Kazoo, I’m finding it hard to be patient waiting for better days. But, if we can’t get out much, at least we all have each other here, which includes my husband Sherman—as well occasional visits from our kids and their dogs.

These are the dog days here—which is a pretty decent way to wait out a pandemic, if that’s what you have to do.

(c) 2013 Christiana Lambert

(c) 2013 Christiana Lambert

Winter finally blustered back in once when we were settling into a lovely pseudo-spring. Just last Thursday we were enjoying 60 degrees and sunshine and now the thermometer has gone so low as to almost hit zero. I blame two people for the severity of this abrupt weather change since they seem to have forgotten the old adage of being careful when telling the Universe what you want. A few specifics surrounding their requests might have helped.

First our niece Alex said she really hoped for snow on the ground for her February wedding, scheduled to take place outside in the foothills of the mountains—well, not only did she get it on the ground as well as falling from the sky, but she also received arctic temperatures to preserve all that white stuff. Perhaps she should have suggested specific snowfall amounts and limited the temperature drop? But, hey, thanks to well-positioned heaters as well as guests who knew enough to wear accessories such as long johns, snow boots, and whatever else we needed to stay warm enough, her magical winter wonderland wedding ceremony did go on outside. After she got the white wedding she desired, she and her Mr. Right and everyone else got a whole lot warmer by moving into the venue’s snug—and well-heated—stone house for the remainder of the evening.

And then there is my husband Sherman who has had to plow the family’s commercial building parking lot five times since last Saturday—yes, that includes the morning before the wedding, the morning of, and the morning after. At this point, he’s grateful he could recover somewhat by skipping the task Tuesday and Wednesday before returning to take up the plow yesterday and this morning. You see, he decided he wanted to put together a bike for the upcoming spring riding season, but mentioned he spent all his savings and his birthday money on the first few pieces he bought. In order to start building he would need to earn some extra cash—which I think the Universe interpreted as a good reason to keep bringing him snow jobs. Maybe he should have expressed a time frame so the Universe didn’t feel so pressured to do it all in one week?

Now the Denver area has topped all previous snowfall records for February. Coincidence? I think not, Alex and Sherman.

I—thanks to picking the right year to upgrade both my snow boots and winter coat—am still capable of enjoying the corresponding beauty, even though I didn’t ask for any of this extreme weather. Last month when I scheduled my upcoming massage, I didn’t think to ask the Universe to provide the funds, but provide it did—the funds, that is, as well as the slightly more achy back from all that pushing the snow blower.

Well done, Winter—welcome back. Now that we’ve received much of the moisture we were missing—some of which we likely did request—let’s talk about March. No need to keep us quite so cold or snowy in the coming weeks, is there? As for my husband’s bike, he’s too tired to put it together yet anyway, so his parts can wait. And Alex is back to the desert, living happily ever after—well as happily as she can live away from the snow she misses.

Here’s a request, Universe. How about a little rest from the daily snows for now? That seems specific enough, and, yet, somehow I bet you find some wiggle room in my words. Which leads to one more request: please be gentle in how you surprise me with your interpretation of my request, OK?

Yeah right. Thanks anyway!

Colorado, Spring 2013

Colorado, Spring 2013

The forecast for tomorrow here in sunny Colorado? Snow—again! This will be the seventh storm since March 1. Back then we kept hearing how bad our drought was and the voices of doom and gloom repeated often that whatever snow we would get, it couldn’t possibly be enough. As of today, statewide snowpack has reached 88% of average with some areas already above 100% and predictions of other mountain basins going above with this newest snowstorm.

No doubt the ski resort operators are wondering why so late? Several resorts closed a week ago, yet decided to reopen for this past weekend. Will they do it again next weekend, too?

And, closer to home, will I have to run a snow blower again? Last week’s snow didn’t stick too badly, but what did was so wet it clogged the blower with slush every few minutes. I finally gave up and started pushing the snow with a shovel.

Today’s soft breezes teased of spring. And, yet, our forsythia may never bloom this season.

Had to laugh—saw annual bedding plants for sale today. You better not buy those here unless you put them in pots you can bring inside at the drop of a snowflake.

Oh yeah, it’s like the Groundhog Day movie. I think that groundhog meant to say not that we’d get six weeks less of winter but that we’d get six weeks more of winter—which means by next weekend we should be able to call this snow thing quits, right?

(c) 2009 Christiana Lambert

(c) 2009 Christiana Lambert

Oh, we have loved the greening around here. The grass is growing and it’s been shorts and sandal weather. Been so nice to have white-capped mountains on the horizon again this spring after last year’s early warm-up, but I think we were hoping to keep the snow up there.

Ha! Colorado is especially good at proving that “April is the cruellest month” statement.

So tomorrow the white will cover the green once more. And Sherman and I will be out clearing the parking lot, although with the warm pavement, surely it will take awhile for the snow to build on concrete surfaces.

I do love the green, but I think we’re more prone to getting our green from late snowstorms than we are from those proverbial April showers—which means as soon as the snow melts I will likely be sorry I didn’t get around to the doing the first mow of the season today! Or that we haven’t put down grass seed to replace the grass beat away by our dogs’ thundering feet.

Tonight I heated up some soup for dinner, and then slipped into flannel pajamas. The furnace is turned on again and the extra blanket back on the bed.

While the color for today is green, tomorrow’s most likely will be white. A snow day for us means I get to push a snowblower while Sherman guides the snowplow.

You’re all just green with envy, right?

"Furgus" (c) 2011 Trina Lambert

Our dogs have very different backgrounds, although they both came from old West frontier locales. Sam is a rescue dog who last year spent most of his winter days outside in Cheyenne, Wyoming where the winds never stop—brr. Furgus was born this past February on what I like to call a puppy ranch outside of Tombstone, Arizona where yucca plants were the main vegetation in those white desert lands. The little he knew of “winter” came from a short May Day pit stop on a snowy Colorado mountain pass.

Poor Furgus—his breeder had worried he’d catch a chill on a sunny Arizona day with temperatures in the mid-70s. She wouldn’t let us head back to Colorado with him until we put a sweater on him—we shed that thing by the time we’d made it back to Tombstone.

"Sam" (c) 2011 Trina Lambert

Of course, Furgus arrived in Colorado in the late spring when most of our snowy days were gone. However, from the beginning he didn’t mind the bitter cold May showers that delayed our spring flowers this year. Sam and Furgus couldn’t have been happier than when heading out into the rains for our necessary walks—if you want to keep a puppy from eating everything in the house, you have to get him tired!

Arizona Boy, as we started calling him, also loved lying outside on summer days, his black hair baking in the midday heat, while Sam preferred hanging out inside with the swamp cooler’s breeze blowing on him.

Come the first snowfall, Arizona Boy had forgotten about snow. Faced with a white world, he timidly approached the edge of the porch where his grass had changed—to what? Didn’t take long for Furgus to decide he liked snow—he really liked it.

Too fast for my camera skills!

Sam likes it, too, but he certainly acts concerned about how long he’ll be outside. I don’t think he’s forgotten those long hours shivering in the Wyoming winds. But Furgus craves his snow time—thank goodness Mother Nature has provided for him. Sam goes out to do his business and/or play with Furgus, but he’s not afraid to let Furgus stay out there alone running like a nut. He’s quite happy to rest dry and warm at my feet, thank you very much.

Last spring I was missing my Fordham and his larger than life Springer Spaniel ways. Despite how much cleaner the house remained with just one little long-haired dachshund, I vowed I wanted the chaos of another spaniel, no matter the mess.

Well, I’ve certainly gotten what I wanted—two loving, chaotic spaniels and a lot of mess. Thankfully at least one of them does not have larger than life Springer Spaniel ways.

"Furgus" (c) May 2011 Christiana Lambert

The other, though . . . could have gone head-to-head with Fordham. Furgus loves both the snow—and coming inside to see me. Despite the baby gates in the kitchen, I’m not winning the battle with his muddy paw-prints—yes, this is Colorado where our snows melt often—today is such a day. I’ve tried skating around on a towel, using a Pipi Longstocking cleaning-style to remove those paw-prints, but more keep appearing. Our kitchen floor is starting to look like our own personal O.K. Corral without the gunfight (and the outlaws and Earp Brothers and the cattle and . . .)

Arizona Boy does not need a sweater! No, what he needs is a personal butler. Or else I need a maid!

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Snowstorm 10/29/09, (c) Christiana Lambert

I think I just got “fired” from my night job.

No, it wasn’t anything exciting, but it brought in a few unexpected dollars from time to time—especially during that winter of 2007 when we had snowstorm after snowstorm. For several years, Sherman and I have been removing snow from the sidewalk and parking lot at the commercial building he owns with his family.

When we get a “real” snowstorm in Colorado, it’s easy to understand just how optimistic we have been to be relying on snow blowers to clear a parking lot. Sherman cried “uncle” last night after the bigger snow blower broke early into the removal process. This particular snow was full of moisture, starting with several hours of rain before it finally turned to snow and several more hours before it began to stick on warm cement. After two feet, the snow still falls. The hired snow plow crew arrives later this afternoon.

icetree102909cbl

Snowstorm 10/29/09 (c) Christiana Lambert

Snow blowers don’t like slush—the machines like the fluffy stuff, the dry kind we often get in December and January. Typically, Colorado snows in months like October and March are not at all dry—it’s the price we pay for having huge fluctuations in our temperatures. Can anyone remember, today, October 29, that it was over 80 degrees on October 18—a little over a week after we’d had first had snow?

Snow blowing has made my shoulders ache and my fingers freeze at the same time my upper body sweated. It’s taken Sherman and me from our warm bed hours before dawn, even calling us out into the snow when we had plans for celebrations. We have spent his birthday, Valentine’s Day, and the days before and after Christmas clearing the lot.

Yet there is a zen to pushing a snow blower through a dark night or morning muffled by softly falling snow, the only sounds coming from our machines and the snowplows rushing down the street. I get into a rhythm. Clear this row, turnaround, adjust the nozzle, clear the next, one row after the next. Sherman and I pass one another with our machines, pause for a kiss, then continue making our own attempts at snow-free paths.

Those times when we don’t encounter slushy, packed snow, we do our work efficiently. All is calm, all is bright. It’s easy to begin humming “Silent Night” no matter the month, no matter that there is nothing quiet about the engines’ twin growls breaking into the still of the night. We are both alone in our heads, yet together on a night/morning few have braved.

snowbackyard102909cbl

Lambert Back Yard, 10/29/09 (c) Christiana Lambert

We get to see the snow before it has turned gray and gritty from traffic. We drive to our task on almost-empty streets, free of threats from other motorists. For just a few minutes, we are in a secret world that cannot be experienced when waking with the rest of the neighborhood to snow.

Ours are the first footprints that sink into the perfectly risen white-cake like snow of the parking lot.

Even though my snow days have gone on too long, leaving my muscles aching with fatigue, deep down I understand why children cry out with shouts of joy, “Snow Day! Snow Day!”

From now on I can snuggle back into my dreams, waking with the rest of my neighbors to greet the snow. However, I won’t forget those not-so-silent nights when, for a brief moment, it seemed the snow fell just for me and I hadn’t come to work, but to play, like the child I used to be.

I don’t know if that was the exact quote, but this morning Bret Saunders and Robin Hart were bantering on KBCO as Sherman and I returned from removing snow from the building’s parking lot. They were both so grateful for the people who drive the plows so the rest of us can get where we need to get.

When they asked, I was thinking, well, they leave their nice warm beds in the middle of night, that’s where they come from.

I’m not a plowman, but I am half of the snow removal crew for a commercial building owned by the family. So every time it snows, Sherman and I have to gear up to get out there some time after the first plowmen have been on the roads.

Sherman has had to clear the sidewalks before this season, but this is the first time when we had to do the whole job. Rather unusual to make it until December 9, but we did. It’s a big hassle to get out there when I’d rather be sleeping, but it’s not too hard spending time outside once I get going.

There’s something almost magical about being out before anybody else—except for the plowmen. At 5:00 a.m. with freshly fallen snow, the world is quiet and peaceful. Too bad we have to break that up with our noise, but soon I tune even that out.

I don’t need an iPod because my mind soon gives in to the rhythmic movement of removing snow, row by row. If it weren’t for heavy, slushy snow, like today, that clogs the snow blower or having to go around parked vehicles, I think I could stay in a Zen-like awareness. Mindful snow blowing, if you will.

I get distracted by those snow blowing realities, as well as trying to make sure Jackson is up showering and then hurrying to get back in time to drive him to school. Soon the rest of the world is out driving on the roads and reminding me that time is passing too quickly. Then the snow just seems like an annoyance that keeps me from getting around as fast as I’d like.

But, as much as my shoulders ache and my head droops in drowsiness throughout the rest of the day, if I want to, I can remember the virgin snow and the stillness of the dark morning before we revved up our engines and became the building’s version of plowmen.

“Still, still, still. One can hear the falling snow. For all is hushed the world is sleeping . . .”

And, on a cold December morning, I am reminded that this is Advent and the light will come. Whether we’re the plowmen or others are the plowmen, we’ll get where we need to get.

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