Wolfeboro Project: 5 Winter Wonders in Wolfeboro

Wolfeboro Project: 5 Winter Wonders in Wolfeboro

IMG_2824Our ‘what’s next’ journey at our Happy Place is its second winter season; and as with most home ownership, it’s all about the big bucks. (If I didn’t laugh about it, I’d cry.) These five winter wonders are a mix of fantastic and homeowner dilemmas which I know will make many smile or cringe – or both.

  1. Best Plowing Ever

n the Philadelphia area, the whining, road-preparation and bread-and-milk-runs, begin days in advance of a predicted storm. In New England =- and specifically in the Lakes Region area, winter weather is taken in stride. Most often we hear, “What do you expect? It’s New England!”

There’s no salt-solution spray on the roads in advance of a storm; little road salt used (probably because of extreme cold); and sanding is common. Now, the plowing, local, state and community – is absolutely incredible, For example, in the midst of the March 2017 blizzard, our community plow team (shout-out to #CommunityLandscapeCompany, Wolfeboro) plowed our two neighborhood streets four times – in white-out conditions. This recent January storm, the plows hit our streets numerous times before the storm (to clean up and widen snow-clearing area); during the storm to keep up with the foot or so that fell; and several times after to take care of drifting snow, icing, etc. Fantastic!

2. Mailboxes be Damned

On the flip side of great plowing, mailboxes and the posts they’re on are casualties . Ofttimes, plow trucks will back into or clip the mailboxes that are nearly covered with plowed snow.

3. Schools are Open


During extreme weather, yes, schools are closed here since buses, teachers and staff do have trouble getting out for various reasons. Once the storm passes and roads are clear, the next day, these students are back at the bus stop and schools are open (Perhaps with a delay).

It seems schools do NOT close in advance of a storm as they often do in the Philadelphia area. And a little ice and an inch or two of snow will NOT close schools here. It’s great to see kids skipping to the bus stop.

4. Timing is Everything

When it comes to home improvement, timing can be everything. In the midst of the ferociously cold weather here in late December and during the New Year holiday, we noticed a gash in our driveway birch tree. I dug up a business card of a local tree business, Billy’s Best Deal Tree Service. Bill called us back the same day; came out and took a look on a Sunday afternoon; gave us a fair price for  tree removal; called us the night before he was coming; and showed up EARLY the next day with a bucket truck, chipper truck and a crew of three. In just over an hour, the tree was safely taken down and the remaining wood cut into manageable pieces for our use as firewood in a year. Yay, Bill! Thank you!

5. Things Happen in Threes

For Christmas, Doug got me a new sofa for the Happy Place living room. Yay! No more 1984 flowered couch with a $2 yard sale (but new) slipcover over it. The couch made my neck hurt. Our gorgeous LazBoy sofa just warms up our living room – which some day will be renovated along with the kitchen.

One evening, Doug was bopping around in the dark and bumped into the end table by the new sofa. A glass thermometer, filled with some sort of alcohol shattered. Yes, all over the new sofa. Fortunately with rapid cleanup and luck, there is no stain. All is well.

The birch tree happened next and that is all good.

Now, the 1980s harvest gold refrigerator has died. Dead – no cold, no freezing. So we are in the midst of dealing with that. We have a mini-fridge and a chest freezer, plus some coolers all in action in the meantime. We’ll survive.

Ya Gotta Laugh

The funniest thing that happened in Wolfeboro was during a stop at the Harvest Market. Everyone talks and says, “hi” at the grocery store – even if you don’t know anyone. On my way out with my two reusable bags – one from #RavitzShoprite, a woman coming in remarked,” Shoprite! You must be from New Jersey!.” I responded,”Yes, I’m from New Jersey and it’s time for the “Can-Can Sale.” She said she really misses Shoprite. Funny!

So, what’s next? It’d be great to get through the next couple of months with nothing to worry about. Hold your breath! Long live Happy Place!

Nemo Snowmageddon – Really?

Now that the national weather service has started to name storms outside of the hurricane season, storm-naming is really out of control. It’s not enough that this weekend storm is called Nemo – which conjures up images of the sweet orange clown fish in the Disney-Pixar film from 2003 – but the media/weather folks have gone ahead and added Snowmageddon to the mix.

Right after my workout astorm nemot the gym, I headed to the supermarket; NOT because I HAD to get bread and milk, but because I needed a few ingredients for a new recipe. I ended up stopping at three different stores to find the ingredients; that gave me a great overview of the people who were out at 9 this morning. There was the mom with her three year-old strapped in a stroller while she pushed the stroller and two weeks worth of groceries to her car; the elderly woman who was leisurely shopping for a bag of rice and a few apples; an elderly couple without a cart – walking back and forth across the front of the store trying to remember why they were there and what they were there to buy.

The interesting site was the deli counter. At BJ’s in Maple Shade it seemed there were just a few people wastormsnowndering around the store shopping and back at the deli counter THERE were the people who absolutely positively needed a pound of honey ham, two pounds of American and a quarter pound of salami. You know you can’t get through Nemo without your over-salted, fatty lunch meat. OK, I am a sucker for my favorite comfort food lunch: grilled cheese and tomato soup. I go the healthier route: 2% American cheese on Arnold’s Thin Rounds with either Progresso Reduced Sodium Tomato Soup or any other low salt tomato. I suppose the families who needed that lunch meat will be happy they can enjoy their favorite sandwich in the next couple of days.

I will go out on a limb here (this just in) and say that the Philadelphia and South Jersey region will be spared the brunt of this storm. That won’t stop the media from crawling all over the little bit of snow that we’ll get in these parts. I just hope none of the local TV stations make the ridiculous move of sending a local reporter into the mess that will hit Boston and the rest of New England. (Please – I hope that does not happen.)

I saw a TV news report on CBS that included frantic people trying to travel via train or plane today. There was a mom who was trying to travel home with her three small children. She looked so unbelievably stressed because she was having no luck finding transportation home. I hope she finds a hotel room, orders a pizza, rents a Disney movie and has a ball with her kids. Sometimes it’s just not worth getting excited or stressed. You can’t change the weather and you sure can’t control it; ride out the storm; enjoy your family and friends as you stay close to home and we’ll see you on the other side.



Wake Up Sunshine

It’s amazing how much energy you seem to get once the sun comes out again. This week seemed to drag on with very dreary days; especially Wednesday and Thursday. Today, I was up and out by 8:30; attended a meeting; ran three separate errands, then got back to the house to continue work.

Now, I’d love to put my head down for a few minutes, but there is so little daylight, I feel as though I have to capitalize on the bright sunshine which seems to feed my brain and soul. So, more work continues until sunset this evening.


A Box for Everything

The holiday season official ends in our house today. The dozen or so holiday decoration boxes (probably more than that) have been hauled out and it’s time to undress the house of all its cheery, colorful Christmas and Hanukkah finery.

The weeks following can be drab. The lights are out; the days are short and it’s a long winter’s wait for pitchers and catchers to report or for boating season or whatever lights your fancy in warmer, sunnier weather.

While I was putting away the decorations this year, I noted that since my son is now 18 and all these boxes may someday be his, I wanted to be sure he knows where this collection comes from. He knows the train platform, trains and the ‘Plasticville’ houses and buildings are older than me (yikes). But the tree trimmings XmasDay_20121225_07 - Copyand decorations that go up throughout the house have been collected through the years. Fortunately, I have marked boxes with the year in which I acquired some of the decorations. I am correcting some of the markings though so my son knows that some of these decorations date back to MY grandmother.

There is no way I can let go oImagef the little handmade decorations that Adam made from the time he was able to hold a crayon in his little hand. I have several envelopes of those types of tree ornaments. I put some of them on this year’s Christmas tree. Now, there are so many ornaments and decorations, I’d have to have three or four Christmas trees to use all of the ornaments. Hopefully, I’ll remember for Christmas 2013 what stayed in its box this past Christmas.

It seems every Christmas I end up decorating most of the house and tree myself for one reason or another. It was lovely this year to have my son and husband help pull out the boxes and dismantle a lot of the decorations. Somehow it was less depressing.

In a matter of weeks, the crack of the bat, the green, green grass of spring training fields and another season of hope for the Phillies will make the winter melt into the warmer, sunnier season.

Days at the Lakes

We said “hello” to the lake once again. Back in New Hampshire, I’m home again. This year’s visit to the White Mountains and the Lakes Region has its differences. We traveled nine hours today pulling MidLife Cri-seas. Getting up at 4:40 a.m. was no problem considering I spent the evening before watching the Phillies beat the snot out of those NY Mets. The best part was spending time with my brother. It was a great start to this fabulous time with family and friends that is ahead.

Back to this outstanding sunset I’m watching from the screened porch at our vacation house on Danforth Bay, a stretch of Lake Ossipee. We put the boat in the lake from the ramp at Camp Robin Hood, which was practically effortless (or at least Doug made it look that way).

After our first NH meal, getting the

Launching the boat at Camp Robin Hood - Doug & Adam

Sunset on Danforth Bay - Day 1

boat in the water up here is icing on the cake that Doug started last October when he bought the boat. To be up here with our own boat to spend hours exploring on the water and just hanging out has been the goal. We plan to take Adam and his fellow Saxons out for rides over the next couple of days.

For now, unpacking is nearly finished. I just watched a speedboat and water skier fly by on the water as the last of today’s sun dips behind Mount Mary across Danforth Bay. Time to watch more Phillies-Mets (Oh – I DID get an MLB-TV subscription so I don’t miss too much Phillies action.)

We See the Light

We’re getting close to turning the corner in this ferocious winter. I feel it in my bones. Daylight is still hanging on after 5:45 p.m. Woo-hoo!  Pitchers and catchers reported last week (there was definitely some extra pep in my step) and full squad practices are getting underway in Clearwater.

The more than 30 inches of snow from the past few weeks is melting away. Isn’t that huge, gray glob of mess at every corner and in every parking lot disgusting? My son said he wants to start a pool – choose a mound of snow and choose a date when you think the last of that stuff will be gone. I suggested if he does start a pool, any proceeds should go to charity (never say I promoted gambling). Now, the highways are opening up with those craters we un-affectionately call potholes. The contracting and expanding of the roadway, plus the plowing, the salt and sand and pooling of water all leads to these craters that shake our vehicles down to the frame. Why is it that we have a hard time spotting those things before our tire mercilessly goes “splat” into oblivion? Part of the problem is staying out of the way of every other driver who is trying to avoid hitting the pothole that you will hit while you stay out of their way.

Meantime, a brilliant site is blooming on our kitchen window sill. An Amaryllis given to us a couple of years ago sprouted from a seemingly barren pot of soil into this gorgeous, off-pink bloom. Today, we have three blooms on the plant. I know the blooms won’t last a week, but it sure is lovely to see. What actually worked with getting this plant to bloom started last fall. I read somewhere to lay the plant on its side outside and don’t water it. I brought the plant in a few weeks later. It clearly didn’t bloom in time for Christmas, but at this point in winter, I’m appreciating the effort this plant needs!

The cardinals around our house have been foraging for food. I was on the phone in my home office this afternoon and saw another gorgeous sight. A bright, red cardinal landed at the top of the pear tree outside my window and was pecking away at the buds that sprouted in the past few days. The contrast between the grayness of the area and this scarlet bird was stunning.

For now, we cope with whatever winter has left for us. We can dream of spring and vegetable gardens, the far off summer vacation being planned and, yes, ladies and gentleman, for me, baseball.

The Frozen Tundra

I haven’t seen great snowman snow like this since I was a kid. Remember when we were in school and the school closings were by name: Woodrow Wilson, Camden, Woodrow Wilson Junior High, Northeast High, Rhawnhurst. Of course they were in alphabetical order, perhaps by county, but we would hunker down by the AM radio, for me usually the old WFIL and listen for that school name. Whoo-hoo! Wilson Junior high CLOSED! I don’t remember makeup days for the snow days. What I do remember is Burholme Park. It has got to be THE best sledding hill in the entire region. I remember at least once, my cousins who lived in Olney, meeting us at that awesome slope. Even today, it is one of the greatest sledding, tubing, “saucering” hill EVER.

I had a red, plastic saucer; sort of a precursor to today’s snow tubes only without the puffy comfort.   I’d get a running start at the tippy-top of the hill just below where the gorgeous Ryerss Estate library still stands today. My feet would leave the ground as I plopped down on my saucer and go speeding and twirling down that glorious hill, savoring every bump and slide. The hill flattens out on what are softball fields in the warmth of spring, summer and fall. After gliding as far as I could on the flat section, I’d jump up and scurry back up that steep slope to do another run on my saucer or mix it up using the wooden sled we had.

My cousin Paul once  sent himself flying down that snowy slope at what seemed like the speed of light. He was much taller and stronger than me. Somehow, he wavered off to the right instead of heading straight down the normal route. He went, “SPLAT” into a tree way over on the side of the large, hilly area. Blood seemed to be everywhere. Thank goodness, it looked worse than it really was. Paul just had a bloody nose. I seem to remember him laughing the whole time. I’m sure our moms were freaking out just a bit.

On a day like this, during a winter like this, I really miss the Burholme Park slope. It was and still is, pure, free, outdoorsy fun. Long live that grand hill and may many more generations of kids on their sleds enjoy that slope as much as I remember enjoying that white monster!

Let it Snow..and an update

Here we go again! Another bread and milk run; TV news shots of shoppers all-of-a-sudden realizing they don’t have a snow shovel, or the old shovel broke in the December storm. The immediacy of weather information and the advanced warnings whip us into a frenzy. We begin nesting. My husband sent our son out to the wood pile to bring a few stacks of chopped wood to put near the front door so we could have a fire while watching the blowing and drifting snow that’s predicted in this winter blast. I’m heading out to pick up some things we’re out of (as though we’ll suffer for a couple of days without bagels).

Remember when we were kids and there’d be a storm? Weather forecasting was unsophisticated and low-tech. The dropping barometer was an indicator that bad weather was on the way. The direction of the wind or low pressure was all we had to go on. Now, forecasters have tremendous accuracy when it comes to WHEN the bad weather will begin, how long the storm may last and a geographic range showing how the storm will hit over a wide area. Fascinating stuff!

It’s great to look at the storm from inside your house isn’t it? You find all sorts of things to keep you busy. Families play board games. You cook up soups and stews to keep everyone warm. I’m defrosting a turkey we got after the holidays for just a day like this. the bird will be thawed by tomorrow so we’ll have a comfort-dinner to enjoy while the rest of the snow storm hits Saturday.

Meantime, my son’s sophomore cotillion scheduled for Saturday night has indeed, been postponed. We get another week to watch him prepare for his first semi-formal. Let’s hope another snowstorm isn’t brewing somewhere off the west coast or in the Gulf. Keep watching Doppler radar!

It Hurts Us More

When you have a child, the adage goes, “it hurts you more than it hurts your child.” that applies to everything from the common cold to your child’s first heartbreak. It doesn’t get any better as they get older.

Adam’s first semi-formal dance is this weekend. The weather people are calling for a snowstorm to hit Friday into Saturday morning. I can’t help but feel my anxiety level going up with wonder. Will the dance happen? If it does, will other students bail because of the weather? Will parents complain because the dance ISN’T postponed? Will the caterer show up? Will the DJ be able to get there? Hey – it’s NOT my event! Why am I so worried? It hurts me more than it hurts him. Being a young man, Adam lets things slide. If it doesn’t work out, he shrugs and moves on. While disappointment is certainly a part of life, it’s great to be able to limit or ward off those disappointments when you’re young.

What’s so frustrating about these winter storms is how absolutely gorgeous it is today. Mother Nature loves to give us the calm before the storm. This is a perfect winter day: crystal-clear, blue skies, a light wind and no hint of bad weather. Everywhere you look, online, on TV, the newspaper, the dire prediction is there: we’re in for a storm. Now that I haven’t been “working” the storms in a while in radio, they don’t bother me as much. I don’t dread the storms or worry about them. I generally embrace the storms. The December 20th storm that socked everyone in, sent Doug and I out into the winter wonderland for a ride from South Jersey to Northeast Philly to visit my parents. During a storm is the BEST time to food shop. While some supplies may be down because of all the bread-and-milk runs just before the storm, the aisles are empty, the staff is pleasant and you have nice, pleasant conversations with anyone you come in contact with. They’re nuts, just like you. Go ahead, take a ride – get your errands done. The only vehicles on the road are the brave few and the salt and plow trucks.

Here I am, embracing storms, but so concerned that my son and his friends will be disappointed if their dance is postponed. We picked up his suit this week; today he gets a haircut; I washed his new dress shirt so it’ll be comfortable to wear; I ordered the wristlet for his date and will pick it up Saturday. If Adam is concerned about the weather or a postponement, he’s not showing it. Of course, this is the young man, who with his father, camped out in sub-freezing weather last weekend, without a working bathroom at their campsite and of course, no hot shower for two nights.  (Ugh!)

When Adam was swaddled in a blanket in my arms, I worried when he spit up (and boy, was he a spitter. When he started getting ear infections after he went to nursery school, I felt his pain and discomfort. When he was bullied for the first time in elementary school, I wanted to throw myself in the line of fire and shake the shoulders of the boy doing this to ask, “WHY?” We learn our children have to learn on their own. It hurts us to see them fail, or be bullied or suffer a disappointment. In the end, we guide them, console them and let them know we are there to help.

I hope the dance happens and Adam and his friend enjoy the heck out of the event. I hope the snow doesn’t get in the way and everyone is safe and warm at the event. For now, I think I’ll make my food shopping list and try not to worry too much.

It’s Really January

I’ve  always loved the smell of laundry dried outside in the fresh air. Here in the Delaware Valley, we have enjoyed a January warm up. Except for the holiday lights, the outdoor decorations are down. This morning I hung out the laundry to dry and not burn up the gas and electric bill by running the clothes dryer. We got another $400-plus electric/gas bill today, so drying the laundry outside is yet another way to save.

It’s great to see how the neighborhood comes out of hibernation when the days warm up, even if it’s only temporary. Moms and dads push their little ones in strollers. The neighbors across the street (who have three young kids) come outside and rake up the winter debris while the kids get out their bikes. Our neighborhood guy I affectionately call “golf club guy” does his evening walk in the warmer weather. (He walks with a golf club in his hand – always.)

Since my husband is out of the country on business, he has missed this respite from winter. Good thing, since I truly believe he would want to fire up the boat or at least start cleaning it. For now, we have enjoyed sunshine and 50 degree weather. Sunday – rain and January gloom is back.