I Hope They Don’t Have to Blast!

When you work mid-nights like I do, you look forward to winter. I sleep better in the winter. The only thing that can really wake you up outside is the garbage truck or a snow plow. In the summer, however, you have kids outside playing, people weed whacking and mowing their lawn, and extremely loud motorcycles. You can imagine what went through my mind when I walked outside today and saw this a couple doors down…

Not one huge machine – but two!

Over the summer, our neighbor was having some sewer issues. It seemed like they were always doing something in their front yard. Over the past few weeks, we’ve seen people out with big trucks in the middle of the street. One day they stuck some huge tube-thing down the sewer for a while before leaving. Obviously, something is up and they will be tearing up the street.

I began to think about my sleep (or lack of) for the next few days (or weeks, depending on what they are doing). I actually chuckled as a movie line popped into my head. In Back to the Future Part III, Marty is told by future Doc in a letter that the Delorean is in an old abandoned mine. Past Doc says to him, “We may have to blast.” They do.

Back to the Future III

At any rate, I got to thinking about how often dynamite was used in comedies and cartoons. Dynamite and laughs seem to go hand in hand. The Three Stooges used dynamite more than once…

Moe, Larry, and Shemp

Dynamite was a staple gag in cartoons like Bugs Bunny…

and Tom & Jerry…

And how many explosives did Wyle E. Coyote use trying to catch the Road Runner??

It was not just used in comedy, though. Dynamite was always something you would see in old Westerns…

I have never seen this Western ….

In the 70’s, it was a TV catchphrase…

… in the 80’s, two good old boys blew up things with dynamite arrows…

The Dukes of Hazzard

and even though TNT is technically different than dynamite, AC/DC still had an explosive hit with …

… and who can forget our favorite nerd …

As a kid, dynamite seemed like it was something that was something very easy to get. I mean, all you needed was an ACME catalog and you could get it from them. I wonder if the coyote had a charge account with them?

Anyway, I know it’s gonna be loud in the neighborhood this week. I just hope they don’t have to blast….

Snowfall …

I’m probably in the minority here, but I just love watching the snow fall.

This week, they predicted that we would get about 2 to 4 inches of snow. As the snow approached, they began to change their predictions. It was going to be a “hit or miss” depending on where you lived. When I woke up Tuesday, I looked outside and was disappointed that I could still see the grass. Light snow was falling, but nothing accumulated.

I will say that I’m not a fan of driving in the snow, mostly because most people don’t know how to drive in it. I’m also not a big fan of shoveling it. That’s why we bought a snowblower a few years ago. However, my snowblower stopped working last year before the last big snow. My father in law picked it up this afternoon and said he’d see if he could figure out what the problem was. I’m hoping that he can figure it out. If not, I’ll be off to the store to get a new one (with electric start this time!).

I digress.

I love the way the snow sticks to the tree branches after a snowfall. I just love the way it looks. It is no wonder so many artists paint snow scenes. There is something about the “quiet” of a snow fall, too. I often find myself outside before shoveling or starting the snowblower and just looking at the snow falling and appreciating the peace and quiet that accompanies it.

As I have said in the past, I love the fact that here in Michigan we get to experience all four seasons. Each one is magical in its own way. With spring, we see nature’s rebirth. Summer brings warm sunshine. Fall brings about the amazing colors on the trees. Winter brings about cold and its own beauty.

While I was disappointed that there was no snow this week, I also know that I live in Michigan and that there will be plenty in the weeks ahead. I look forward to the first coating of snow….

Build it … and they will play!


It’s almost February, but we are still smack dab in the middle of a Michigan winter.  The last snowfall we had left about 5-6 inches of what we used to call “good packing” snow as kids.  This was the type of snow that was heavy and a little wet – perfect for making snowballs, snowmen, and snow forts!

A few times over the past few weeks, I have jotted down things in my blogging notebook but never felt like it was enough for a full blog.  Today, while surfing through some of my favorite websites, I came across this picture:


The picture took me immediately back to when I was in elementary school!  I recalled building a snow fort and having two or three kids who did nothing but make snowballs in preparation for the snowball fight!  We didn’t have a bench, but we had boxes and buckets where the finished snowballs were placed so we’d be ready.

I remember one day in particular – it was either a snow day or a weekend – and it had snowed a lot.  My buddy, Kris, lived down the street and he was outside working on a HUGE hill of snow.  I threw some Wonder Bread bags on my feet over my socks, put on my “moon boots”, grabbed my scarf, hat, and gloves and ventured over to his house.

When I arrived, he told me that he was going to take the hill and make it into a snow fort.  I believe we just started burrowing into the side of this hill making a sort of tunnel to get in.  He had a few shovels of various sizes and we all went to work, being careful to not dig so far that the fort collapsed.  That fort was to look something like this:


As silly as it sounds, I remember having shelves inside the fort to place things on.  I also remember having flashlights and candles because it was dark inside.  I know we spent a lot of time outside – we were often out after it got dark!


I always thought it was cool to be inside the fort after dark with the candles lit.  We had papers and drew out our strategies to fight the epic “snow battle”.  As a parent today, I’d be worried to death that the roof of a snow fort like this would fall in on my kids!  I am sure I would probably be outside watching them!!

I would probably end up making forts like this for my kids …


I don’t recall if it was the following year or not, but making a snow fort got easier (and safer).  I remember Kris, me, and a few other kids in the neighborhood all had these “block makers” that we had seen advertised on TV.  You scooped up the snow and stacked up the blocks!


When I was growing up, the above block maker was all we could buy.  A search of the internet today showed me that you can buy all kinds of these things today!


How cool is that?!?  I remember the blocks never being exactly perfect, but they still made some very cool snow forts!  Solid walls!  Perfect protection from the oncoming barrage of snowballs from the enemy!!


We had so much fun during those winters on Highland Dr.  Just recently, Kris posted a picture of a lot of us outside playing in the snow the last winter he and his family were in the neighborhood.  It was hard to tell from the picture, but we all could very well be in front of a wall of snow blocks.

Preparing for this blog, I can tell you that I found an amazing idea for when my daughter is old enough to play in the snow!  I did a search for “snow forts” and someone posted an idea using wood pallets.  So, you basically build the frame of the fort/house with the pallets – like this:


This guy ran LED lights inside the thing!!


How friggin’ cool is that?!?!?  The article I read said to cover the tops with tarp and await the snow!  I am sure my neighbors will wonder just what the hell I am doing when they see this, but when my kids are outside playing in this AMAZING fort/house … they will be jealous and say, “That guy is brilliant!  Look what he made for his kids!”


Who knows?  Maybe I an borrow a few of my neighbor’s back yards and build this:



Pass me my moon boots … I got a fort to build …. and some sledding to do!

Rear View Of Siblings With Sled Running On Snow Against Sky





Thank you anti-lock brakes ….


Winter.  Love it or hate it, it happens every year.  For some, they experience it without snow, however, here in Michigan, snowy winters are a sure thing.  Let me say that I do not mind a little bit of snow, especially around the holidays.  I’ve always wondered what it must be like to live in California or somewhere warm and hear “walking in a winter wonderland” or “let it snow”.  It can’t feel right.

Personally, I enjoy watching the snow fall.  I think looking at a winter scene is beautiful.  Snow covered ground and snow on bare tree branches brings a smile to my face.  Just like painter Bob Ross, God paints these beautiful scenes for us.  There is something calming and peaceful about it.  Driving when it is snowing is an entirely different thing.

Today is a good example of that.  It has been snowing since early morning and the roads are a mess.  On my way to get my boys, I was driving south on I-75.  Naturally, people are driving faster than me, and passing me (They obviously thing that their four wheel drive will allow them to conquer anything).  It happens suddenly – brake lights, swerving cars, the sounds of cars hitting the wall, cars veering off to my right, and my anti-lock brakes clicking.  Amidst all of that, I haven’t been hit and I haven’t hit anything.  As I finally stop, my hands were hurting from gripping the steering wheel so hard.  I remember in the years before anti-lock brakes, you would hit your brakes, and the car would just begin to fishtail and swerve all over the place. Today, thankfully, I coast to a stop…..and so did the car directly behind me. Needless to say, I was not going to venture any further, I followed many others who decided to exit the freeway via the on ramp.

Upon arriving home, I scroll Facebook and see many of my friends warning friends to stay home.  The pictures of piles ups and accidents are as common as pictures of children on the first day of school in my news feed.  Reports of complete expressway closures and declarations of snow emergencies are also things among the feed.

As much as I wanted to see my sons today, I love them too much to attempt to drive with or without them in this weather.  Instead, I called them, told them I loved them, and that we’ll get together tomorrow – after the snow stops and the roads are clear.  Today just seems like a good day to watch the snow fall, curl up in front of the fireplace, and read a good book with a cup of coffee.