It’s Snowy Deck & Patio Furniture Season

_99149104_20171210_145801Christmas is over and back in its box in the attic. The jet stream is blowing hard across the Great Lakes and pummeling us with sub-zero wind chills and lake effect snow, arctic clippers and blowing down across Ohio and, this week, that newest hyperbolic wild weather phenomena–the BOMB CYCLONE (oh how the marketing brahs at The Weather Channel must have sighed whilst excavating that gem of a meteorological wonder)–is hitting the mainstream, joining Snowmageddon and Polar Vortex in that rarefied caste of ratings-generating American Idol Weather Terminology.

This is not to undermine the effects of winter storms and the havoc they wreak. Every time it sleets south of Fredericksburg, Virginia dozens of Sons & Daughters of the Confederacy are lost to, or injured in, wholly avoidable automobile accidents. (HINT: Stay home, Beauregard, that white stuff is slippery.) And Boston got spanked by Flash floods that froze (WTF?) entire neighborhoods in place, which is messed up. But it is Boston and, well, karma. Right? Somebody has to bear the burden of the Patriots’ deal with the devil, and it ain’t going to be living Vegan Ken doll QB Tom “Quinoa Salad” Brady.

winter-snow-outdoor-furniture_lwtirzWhat does trouble me about these Twitter-friendly parade of ridiculous terminology is that shade they’re throwing on the time-honored, proven-to-be-accurate method of winter storm appraisal, the good old-fashioned Deck & Patio Furniture photo. For as long as I can remember (admittedly, not as long as I used to be able to remember), the severity of winter storms has been evaluated using observable scientific method, most recently on the internet but for many years before that in the form of winterizing-snowviewer-submitted photos and filler coverage by local news teams. Three generations learned to analyze the critical level of a “weather event” through this observable, utterly reliable data.

How would I know what winter was bringing to my good, decades-long friend Sally, who lives far away in Montana, if she didn’t apprise me of winter conditions north of Yellowstone with timely and evocative imagery of her deck, live and up to date?  That’s right. These are my actual friend’s actual photos of her actual furniture.


It goes without saying that the level of personal connection forged between me and my friend–or any one of the millions of Americans who annually apprise the world of their on-deck snow conditions (looks like Sally has a nice 7 inch base with a few inches of powder on top)–exceeds anything a few bozos with an old meteorology textbook can manage with their horror-film vocabulary.


And, final, overlook the community-building that comes from the ubiquity of patio-furniture. I don’t think it is overstatement to say that these photos–and the sense of kinship they evoke–are one of the deep and abiding bonds that hold us together as a nation, and as a people. Stick that in your Bomb Storm and smoke it, why don’t you.

Journal Photo I Like

Thanksgiving Countdown Day 3


It just occurred to me that my “countdown” is actually counting up–Thanksgiving will end up being Day 12 or something because, quite honestly, I have no frakking reason why I do some of the things that I do.  Fortunately, I subscribe to the philosophy that dictates she who acts like he knows what she is doing will get away with most of that with which she hopes to get away.  And ain’t that a sentence!  I have a story I’ll use to explain, but first I’d like to give a shout out to the contributor of today’s themed photo selections.  That’s right–real, actual, submissions from a reader named Don.  Thanks for playing, Don.

Now, I once worked for a company with a spacious, beautiful, professionally designed and decorated lobby filled with modern, well-made and carefully maintained upscale furnishings.  One weekend, a semi truck pulled up the the front and several guys in overalls got out of it and an accompanying van.  One of them strolled up to the front desk with a clipboard with a stack of invoices attached.  “We’ve got your new furniture,” the man said.

The guy at the desk was confused and said that he hadn’t heard about any new furniture, but the delivery guy showed him page after complicated invoice page on his clipboard while explaining that “corporate is replacing everything–half of the locations this winter, the rest next fall.  Must he nice,” he added.  “They’re sending everything back to Richmond, Virginia to auction it off.”

Man Eating Turkey on AirplaneIt all seemed to make sense to the desk clerk, but the security staff, the weekend auditor, and three other various employees putting in Saturday hours agreed it was probably not wise to antagonize the corporate offices, so when the delivery guy asked if they should just bring in the new boxes and stack them or “take all this old stuff out first and then arrange the new stuff as we unpack it,” the answer was “whatever works best.”
For the rest of the morning, while the staff went about their business four men in overhauls unloaded roughly 75 large cardboard boxes–most of them refrigerator sized or bigger and carted off all the other furniture.  After three hours the delivery guy walked past the desk and said “we’re taking 30 for lunch.”

A half hour passed, then 45 minutes, and then more than an hour.  Slowly, it dawned on a pair of custodians that they were going to get stuck unpacking all those boxes, and the resignedly went to work–although not for long.  The first box they opened held a ragged armchair, the next a broken lamp that even a thrift store wouldn’t sell.  Growing frantic, they ripped into the boxes : more decrepit, threadbare garbage.  Deeper into the array, the crates and boxes were simply empty.

The loss was set at around $175,000, but the actual replacement costs were over a quarter million–in early 1990’s money.  Sofas, arm chairs, side and end tables, lamps, even the carpets.  I was not associated with that company for very long, but at the time I departed the authorities had yet to gain so much as a clue.  The truck seemed to disappear, the fancy furniture with it.

So, yeh, it pays to just act like you know what you’re doing.