Saturday, November 19, 2022

 The Five Stages Of Western New York Lake Effect Grief

Lake-effect snow occurs when dry, freezing air picks up moisture as it passes over a body of water. The water evaporates into the air and as it hits land cools and transforms into heavy wet and often voluminous snowflakes. 

Normally this snow is a bit of a nuisance to the people of Western New York, especially in Erie County/Buffalo. But sometimes it can be devastating as it was from November 17-20, 2022, when upwards of seven-feet of snow fell in the southern part of Erie County.

In addition to having a strong back you need a certain amount of mental toughness to endure these once in a decade snow events. Though I have no certifications or official training as grief counselor, as a lifelong resident of Erie County I am an expert in the five stages of lake effect grief.

The Five Stages Of Western New York Lake Effect Grief

  1. Denial.

Middle of November  

And the always too bright

The always too chipper 

Local weather person with white capped teeth

Says prepare thy snow throwers

Extract thy snow shovels from the garage rafters

Lake Effect devastation is upon us

You call bullshit

Say these forecasts are wrong as much as they are right

And with a sardonic laugh you say:

If only I had a job where I could be wrong half the time

  1. Anger.

But deep down you know these

White capped tooth bastards are right

They’re always right about the lake effect

This is fucking Buffalo . . .

When the call comes from your Florida friend

Who crows with a trenchant snort to be careful shoveling

Because you’re a lot closer to seventy than thirty

It takes great strength not to verbally blow him up

And you secretly hope the next Florida hurricane

Takes out some roofing or sections of fencing

Or does some other damage to his house 

  1. Bargaining.

As the heavy wet flakes swirl relentlessly

For hour upon hour and pile up on the ground  

You pray to God for mercy

After all you are closer to seventy than thirty

And you promise that

You’ll really try to listen to your wife’s work stories

You’ll put the seat down and put away the dishes

You’ll quit threatening to throw all her junk out

You’ll stop stalking high school girlfriends on Facebook

You'll go to bed before proving everyone on Twitter wrong

But alas . . .

It keeps snowing and snowing and snowing

  1. Depression.

Having failed to receive any of God’s grace 

You know what needs to be done 

And listlessly affix the air pods, boots, hat, gloves and coat

Of course, last year’s gas is still in the snowblower 

And the fucking thing won’t start

You grab a shovel and try to listen to

Thomas Pynchon's, “The Crying of Lot 49” 

But you understand it even less

Now that you’re closer to seventy than thirty

But you soldier on one shovel full at a time

And are reminded of not being able to leave the dinner table

Until you ate your brussel sprouts one mouthful at a time

Mom could be such a hard ass

  1. Acceptance

One shovel full at a time you move the wet white mud

It hurts your melancholic head and your declining body 

Because, after all you are closer to seventy than thirty

But soon a path forms, widens and reaches an end point

You feel the muscle memory return Your breathing evens out and your core tightens

That Robyn Hitchcock song “Meat,” makes you dance a little

Starting to feel it, you give a thumbs up to your scary neighbor 

Who has all the pro-gun signs on his lawn as he digs his truck out

Suddenly you have your stroke back and you’re flicking snow

Like Tiger hits it three-hundred, like Josh throws it seventy

Though there’s still lots to do, it’s alright, you know you’ll make it

With ibuprofen . . . and bourbon



Thursday, August 25, 2022

Going Mobile

Good day readers of, I've got exciting news—I won't be posting anything here in the near future. Isn't that great?

Instead, I'm going to concentrate on a new blog called: Going Mobile With P.A.Kane. In short, my wife and I bought this fully equipped Ram Promaster van and we are headed out on our first van life cross-country trek. The first stop on our maiden voyage will be an overnight in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario where we'll look to have a coffee and a cruller with Ted Nolan at a local Tim Horton's. From there we head west to spend a night or two with friends in Duluth, Minnesota. We continue to move west for a couple of days at Mt. Rushmore and the Badlands in South Dakota. Then it's over to the Grand Tetons in Wyoming to do some hiking. Our journey turns south at that point as we head to Montrose, Colorado for our niece Rachel (and Kyle's) wedding. Our daughter from Los Angeles will meet us there and after the wedding we'll mess around in Colorado until my wife has to fly home for work. I'll take our daughter back to LA, spend a few days there and then mosey back across the country by myself contemplating the ultimate causes of the universe—you won't want to miss that.

And, you won't have to because as we/I go along I'm going document this first ever van life experience with daily posts from the road. So make toast and tea and join me as we go mobile across the U.S.A.


Monday, July 4, 2022

It's Been a Banner Year For Looking Out The Window

     I have to admit it 2022 hasn’t been a great year. There’s been all this unpleasantness about inflation, the insurrection and a mass shooting every other day. Even Taylor Swift had to face some troubling developments that for once wasn’t about some boy in skinny jeans not knowing what he gave up when he dumped her or when she dumped him—I don’t know much about Taylor Swift or her music. I’ve heard though, there’s a lot of dumping going on in her songs.

At any rate, Taylor’s unpleasantness came about when some super clever Virginia Tech Phd. named a millipede he discovered in Tennessee after the mega popstar. He called it: Nannaria swiftae or Swift twisted-claw millipede. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t be too thrilled to have a hundred-legged creepy crawly thing that slithers out of the bathtub drain and startles you just as you’re about to get in the shower named after me. I’m not even close to being a popstar with a penchant for making hit songs about boys in skinny jeans dumping me or me dumping them, but I would find this very unsettling. 

     Still, like T-Swizzle I’ve had my share of distressing moments this year, from losing a job, to getting Covid, to receiving a hefty repair bill because I didn’t properly winterize the water system in my mini-RV. I drained the tank, but didn’t blow out the lines and add antifreeze. I’m new to all this mini-RV, van life stuff. My brother says there’s always a price to pay when you’re new to something. He calls it—The Dumb Tax. It’s the tax you pay for being dumb about something and not properly winterizing the water system in your mini-RV is pretty dumb. But, still it’s not like my house burned down or I don’t have food to eat. It’s more like having a broken table leg and an expired carton of milk in the fridge. Of course, all of this has been offset by the banner year it’s been looking out the window.

Monday, June 20, 2022

The Four Day Rental


It was a four day rental just down the road from Skaneateles (pronounced: skin-ny-at-las)  on Lake Otisco in the Finger Lake region of New York State. The mid-June weather was pleasant and the rolling green hills that descended down to the lake provided a wealth of charming views. On one of those hills sat the two story rental which was constructed of decorative hard split cinder block with double hung windows and a metal roof. A large deck extended out from the side door and curved around to the front of the structure. From the deck you could hear the shallow Otisco waves gently kiss the shore and you could get a glimpse of the lake through a multitude of leafy trees, but not in a way where you would say things like, “Wow, what a view!” or “OMG, that’s some body of water!”  Though the construction of the rental was newish, the inside was filled with old wood, creaky fixtures and antiques. Shelves with hundreds of hard-covered books lined the living area and made the place smell like a 1960’s library, but without all that talk of injustice and revolution. The downstairs half-bath was called the “National Geographic Reading Room—RJ Munson Librarian,” and that too had shelves filled with hundreds and hundreds of National Geographic magazines dating back to the 1960's.        It was quite a lovely place, but like the two aging couples that had rented the musty house for the four days the water pressure was spotty. The copper pipes rumbled and wheezed and the water trickled out slowly and sadly like from an old crumbling Roman aqueduct. Worse yet, despite the slow, sad trickling that was like a Roman aqueduct you had to jiggle all the handles to get the water to stop. But even when you jiggled the handles the water still came out in drips and drabs. The two aging couples were like that too—they had to jiggle all their handles but the water still came out in drips and drabs.