Last year it didn’t really get snowing until February. Before that the ground was pretty bare and it was numbing cold, day after day. The skies were gray and how I longed for the snow. When it came, it was manageable.

Now it’s been snowing since November, according to my weather diary.

In my youth I loved snowstorms. My parents moaned, “Oh, no, more snow. We have to shovel and plow and fall down on the ice!” And I thought, “What is their problem? The snow is beautiful, and the predictions are for 12 inches tonight. How wonderful is that?”

Today, I’m stuck in the house because our town is running low on salt and the roads are a mess. And it’s snowing like crazy. It’s one of those thick wet snows that builds up on tree branches that fall from the weight, and then break, knocking out the electric power. It is indeed pretty, though.

With all that beauty comes hard work, like roof raking tons of snow that refuses to slide off on its own accord. When it does break loose this old house shudders and booms; the cat freaks out. And we’re knocking down the mammoth icicles that grow thicker by the hour. And digging out the mail box in case our rebate check comes early. Spreading sand and salt and, out of desperation, kitty litter on the front walk. What did they do before snow blowers? They had lots of children who learned to shovel as they learned to walk.

It makes me think of the coping our parents did, raising families during times that were much less convenient when it came to running a home. My father was always after us to “turn down the burner! Wear more sweaters! Don’t you know oil costs money?” It probably cost 20 cents a gallon at the time.

The sound of the hot water running really drove my parents nuts. They could tell the difference between hot and cold from three rooms away. “Who’s running the hot water?” We never let clean hot water go down the sink. It could be used for many functions before it was allowed to leave our pipes.

Don’t stand in front of the open refrigerator door. Don’t leave the storm door open. And hang up your coat IN THE CLOSET. Don’t forget to unplug the iron, or the pancake griddle. Turn down the radio.

Don’t put the sharp knives in the dishwasher. Open the dishwasher door as soon as it’s finished rinsing; stuff will dry on its own. Somebody fill up the humidifier.

Where are the good scissors; why doesn’t anybody put things back where they belong? And don’t cut paper with the sewing scissors; it will ruin them. Where are the pliers? In the tool box. Where’s the tool box? Why are all the lights on? When you leave a room, turn OFF the lights.

And always: Somebody walk the dog. But first, take out the garbage.