Tete-a-tete Archives

An eclectic sampling of my award-winning humor columns. New columns can be read online at www.nashuatelegraph.com on the first Thursday of the month, with columns posted here later in the month.

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Tete-a-tete: Confused by the weather? Signs spring has almost sprung

To make the understatement of the year, this winter was a teensy bit on the brutal side.

I’m no greenhorn when it comes to New Hampshire’s snowiest season; I weathered the blizzards of 1996 and 2008 and their subsequent power outages without (too much) complaining. But with the combination of below-freezing temperatures, weird weather fluctuations and heavy snowstorms we had this winter, there were moments when I forgot spring even existed.

Now that the weather is starting to change for the warmer and those changes are being reflected in the landscape, I find myself a stranger in a strange land. Where have all the icicles gone? Why is there now daylight after 4 p.m.?

I imagine I’m not the only one who’s a little disoriented, so I’ve compiled a list of indications that spring is on its way. I recommend posting it in an accessible location and checking it whenever you find yourself scraping an iceless windshield out of habit.

• You switch from your heavy winter coat (the one that makes you look like you’re wearing a sleeping bag) to your lightweight winter coat (a polar fleece). You accidentally collide with the person you’re trying to hug, because you’re both wearing your lightweight winter coats and are accustomed to having the extra girth provided by your heavy winter coats.

• Likewise, you get into the driver’s seat of your car for the first time after switching to your lightweight winter coat and find that you can no longer reach the steering wheel. That heavy winter coat added at least three inches to your body all the way around, so now you have to adjust your seat.

• There is something white on your windshield, and it’s not snow. It’s droppings from a flock of migratory birds that managed to fly through now that there’s less danger of their wings icing up.

• Your car thermometer is not broken. There really are temperatures higher than 30 degrees.

• The road is suddenly a lot wider than you remember, and it’s covered with sand and salt.

• You wonder why you keep pulling out so far before making a turn, and realize that the snowbanks you’ve been struggling to see around for the past few months have either disappeared completely or dwindled to a more manageable size.

• There used to be so many signs that said “Frost Heaves,” you thought they changed the name of your town. Those signs have decreased in number, but the frost heaves have not.

• The police have set up their radar speed signs again, because it is now possible to drive faster than 30 miles per hour without skidding off an icy road and into a snowbank. Granted, driving faster than 30 miles per hour is still pretty tricky because of all the frost heaves and potholes, but you could probably get up to 35 if you wanted to live dangerously – and without your teeth.

• Because of a combination of snow melt and ground thaw, the town church can finally put away its Nativity set. Just in time for Easter.

• Instead of it taking an hour to reach the nearest grocery store, it only takes the usual 30 minutes.

• At the grocery store, you fill your cart with items other than milk, bread, eggs and bottled water, and successfully resist the urge to race your fellow shoppers to the battery display.

• You pick up a copy of your local newspaper. Instead of articles and editorials debating how the state, city and town governments will be able to afford additional plowing and sanding services, all the coverage deals with how much it’s going to cost to repair all those mini chasms in the roadway.

• You remember that the sun is not only bright, it’s also warm. It’s easy to forget – for the past few months, all the sun has really done for you is create glare while you’re attempting to drive safely in bad weather.

• Encouraged, you fill your bird feeder with seeds for the birds who are slowly but surely returning to the area. Your bird feeder is promptly stolen and dragged off into the woods for snack time by a hungry bear just out of hibernation.

If the preceding list reflects anything you’ve been experiencing, congratulations. Spring is definitely in the air.

Feel free to move your ice scraper to the backseat of your car. If all goes well, in another few months you can confidently stow your ice scraper in the trunk.

I wouldn’t take it out of the car, though. Spring or not, this is still New Hampshire.

– Teresa Santoski


Originally published April 3, 2014.

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