Tuesday, December 7, 2010


It's not quite winter, but winter has arrived in MN. We have about 8" of standing snow on the ground in Mpls and temperatures are holding below freezing. It's forecast to be below zero (F) tonight. The last snowfall came on Friday. I walked to get the kids from the babysitter today (Tuesday) and was a bit dismayed that most people in our neighborhod have not shoveled the curb cuts. That basically meant I could not push the stroller on our sidewalks; I had to resort to walking in the road. Same as it usually is in winter, I suppose.

When I shovel snow on our walk I clear at least a single swipe or a portion of the walk for both our immediate neighbors. I figure this is just being, well, neighborly. They tend to occasionally return the favor, which is a bonus. In addition, if we tell them we're gone for the weekend and it happens to snow they usually have our backs. Beyond that though I think about the common good. People who can't walk so well, but must, have a much easier time on a shoveled walkway. I shudder to think about those confined to wheelchairs living in MN. Once the snow piles up high enough few people consider a full width for passage.

Challenges with neighbors are relative I guess. Our previous neighbors were rude and sometimes hostile. We placed over half a dozen police calls against the building during the 18 months they lived there. Since then, the building went into foreclosure and was purchased by a conscientious landlord who renovated the place.

We now have seemingly affluent and quiet neighbors. They drive nice cars and mind their own business. They're almost too quiet. In a queer way I miss the noise from time to time. The silence is rarely broken by the four tenants -- save for one woman's automatic car starter which she uses to fire up her white Chevy Yukon sometimes 45 minutes before she comes out to drive it away. That grossly negates the 3-minute idling rule Mpls passed a few years back.

I have a problem with remote car starters, but I will spare you a full-fledged rant. I try to maintain an open mind. I knew someone a few years ago who moved here from a warmer overseas climate. She claimed she had an allergy to the cold. I understand we have identified a whole slough of modern allergies that were unknown in olden days. However, I have a difficult time accepting the existence of an allergy to environmental cold.

My own laziness is settling in. Getting myself on the bike for the 32 miles of daily pedaling to and from work has been more of a challenge. My toes are cold most of the way. It takes so long to dress and prep. If only it were 5 miles instead of 16. The list of 'If onlies' goes on.

Ah, inertia. Bless your inspiring, yet inanimate, heart.

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