What Annoys Jeff this Week?

1. The driveway. Actually it’s not the whole driveway I find annoying. It’s the twenty feet or so of it that stays shady and snow covered even when temperatures reach on up past 40 degrees. That would also be known as the part that reaches out and trips unsuspecting people that are just trying to walk to the mailbox. If I ever find myself in a position of needing to replace this driveway, it’s a safe assumption that I’ll be taking a hard look at having heating units installed and just being done with shoveling, blowing, or otherwise dealing with snow in any way.

2. The federal budgeting process. As I write this, we are about 30 hours away from what the media calls a “government shutdown.” The reality of it is the lack of an appropriation could result in what might more legitimately be called a partial shutdown, with many portions of the government carrying on as if it’s just another day at the office. Still, though, it occurs to me that as long as I have worked for Sam, the Congress has failed to actually pass a normal budget on time and in regular order. Yes, in fifteen years I’ve never worked a day under what once upon a time was considered the “normal” federal budget process. I’m not saying we can trace all the problems of government back to their failure to do one of the few things that Constitution specifically expects them to do, but it seems like getting that fixed would be a decent enough place to start doing things the right way.

3. Baltimore. A monument to the Star Spangled Banner, the national anthem of our country, was desecrated this week. This act took place, in the very city where Francis Scott Key penned the words of what would become our song. It took place in Baltimore, in a city that should be filled with pride at being the home of the anthem and home to the long ago night in which the flag that inspired Key’s pen flew over embattled Fort McHenry. This is actually the second monument related to Key and the anthem that’s been vandalized in the last six months. There’s no geography on earth I love more than my native state, but gods help us, Baltimore is a cesspit.

Long range planning…

When it snowed last week, I didn’t put a high priority level of effort into shoveling the driveway. After all, I have a large, powerful 4-wheel drive truck and given the relatively southern location and moderating influence of the nearby water, snow doesn’t tend to stick around very long here at the rental homestead. I shoveled out a parking pad and a path to the mailbox, figuring that that would be sufficient for a couple of days until the melt set in. It seemed like a reasonable decision at at the time.

What that decision failed to take into account was the air temperature wasn’t going to climb above the low 20s for days on end. I also didn’t count on getting another inch or two of snow sometime today. Still, with the truck, a snow covered driveway with a few packed down icy spots isn’t exactly a big deal. It wasn’t until last night that I remembered that I was going to drop off the truck at a local body shop on Monday so they could do the repairs from last week’s unpleasantness. That means I’ll be swapping out my 4×4 for a rental that will probably have more in common with a matchbox car than it does with an actual motor vehicle. That friends, is a failure of long range planning and a lesson in unintended consequences.

Now that the driveway is too packed down to shovel effectively, I’m jumping to Plan B: adding a couple of bags of road salt to my market list and hoping I can melt two ruts down to blacktop between now and Monday. Woops.