I used to park our family car right up close to the house, winter or summer. When it snowed, we'd shovel our way to the gate, often taking 45 minutes at it. Then a couple years ago, it occurred to me that if I parked next to the gate, shoveling took 10 to 15 minutes. Yeah, the driveway isn't so pretty and clear but it works.
It took almost 40 years for this Aha. Blame it on my growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Speaking of the driveway, it used to be narrow and sat slightly higher than the lawn it borders. So during inevitable winter thaw/freeze cycles, we would sometimes be holding on to the car door to keep from sliding downhill. Totally ineffective. We fell a lot. Five years ago, determined to solve this problem, I bought a couple big rubber mats. They helped immensely. Even better? When I realized the driveway could be made wider. It was a minimal investment (it's gravel) and -- no more falling. Not once.
I started watching my across-the-street neighbor and realized I could sweep light snow. Much easier than shoveling. If I do that a few times during the day when it’s snowing, it keeps everything SO much simpler to manage. Probably useless in the type of storm that drops five feet of snow in 24 hours like my sister experienced earlier this year in California’s Sierra Nevada, but quite effective with a Bozeman light and powdery 3 inches.
We all put up with stuff because we think there's no remedy, or, we just stop thinking. That's why I love making put-up-with lists. When you list stuff, large and small, you just start questioning and wondering, solving or accepting. As you shift smaller put-up-withs, larger ones don't carry as much weight. Well, some larger ones. Some things ARE just weighty. We're ALL carrying plenty of those right now. They drain energy, taking a toll on health, mentally and physically. Why add to the load?
Do you have to do anything about the things on your list? Not really. It’s not a to-do list. Just becoming aware of, and articulating, these bring them to the forefront of your mind, and spirit.
Create a theme for a list: what are 25 put-up-withs around finances? Around the amount of clothes in your closet? A friend had two hampers full of matched pairs of socks. She went to work on those then found herself in her closet, sorting out things she didn’t wear. Some of those still had price tags on them. She gifted them to friends, delighted by their delight. I love to donate to a thrift-store that supports the work of an important local non-profit.
I’ve been at this long enough I don’t create a list but keep a running tally in my mind. Generally, circumstance prioritize what rises to the surface, or I find I’m just ready to address something, and then I dig in and even if it takes a few months for a solution to pop, I stay with it.
My most recent winter-relief innovation? I don’t like to scrape ice off the car windshield in the morning. Forty-years of Montana freezes and I still pretend it won’t be there. For decades, I threw a blanket over the windshield. A couple years ago I found a nice windshield cover. But it’s too complicated to put on and doesn’t fully cover the windshield. I stopped using it. This winter I bought a nice sized tarp. It covers the windshield and then some. I tuck it in under the top of each passenger door so it doesn’t blow off. It’s amazing. Almost as good as a carport. Or that’s what a friend said. I’ve never had a car port so I wouldn’t know.
Honestly, I still have a problem of getting myself to actually cover the car with the tarp at night. Because really, my most consistent challenge, winter, spring, summer and fall? Me.
Jenna Caplette migrated from California to Montana in the early 1970s, first living on the Crow Indian reservation. A Healing Arts Practitioner, she owns Bozeman BodyTalk & Integrative Healthcare. For relaxation, she reads novels and walks the trails around Bozeman with her four legged companion. Oh, and sometimes she manages to sit down and write.