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The Mom’s driveway is a slippery death trap. This much we know. The key is, however, to devise a solution wherein one and all can at least use it, a bit, without risking life and limb.

Now, had it just been The Mom and I living here, this would not have been such a problem. One afternoon she would’ve returned from a walk or some errands, come into the kitchen, and proclaimed, “That’s it! The driveway is off limits until the melt!”

And we would’ve just ignored it for the rest of the season. Because that’s what a good solution looked like during my tenure. Find a thing that doesn’t work, then work around it. Easy. And involves little if any effort on my part or anyone else’s, thus making it an even more perfect solution.

However, L’il Sis and Crazy D are also in residence and demand a more functional solution. Apparently, they believe they’ll be needing to use the driveway and as such avoiding it until May will be inconvenient to say the least.

So, the other day, post-ice storm, it snowed. Crazy D dutifully went out to shovel. The Mom stood at the garage door and shouted at him, “Can you salt while you’re out there? Don’t forget the sidewalk at the side of the house!”

On the face of it, this sounds like an entirely reasonable request. Shovel snow, then salt to ensure a safe and secure walking area. Except, we are living at The Mom’s house and therefore nothing is as simple or straightforward as all of that.

When one finds one’s self at The Mom’s, and needing to do something normal, the way other people do it, one is quickly reminded of why things at The Mom’s are sometimes unnecessarily difficult.

Salt. Most people, I think, probably have bags of the stuff, lying in wait in the garage, ready to help out at a moment like this. The Mom also has salt lying about, bags of it, but that’s basement salt and it goes in the water to make us less itchy. So that salt, all nine bags of it, cannot be used for the driveway.

A good friend of mine, who lives in Toronto, and was in charge of shovelling and salting the sidewalk in front of his rented house, had a different method for salting the path. He used what we called Garage Salt. Which was actually just a really big box of Kosher kitchen salt that he got for cheap somewhere. He’d shovel, then go out and season the sidewalk. Whatever you may think of his approach, the results spoke for themselves: the sidewalk always came out perfectly.

The Mom’s driveway is too big for the Garage Salt treatment, so when Crazy D finally found that the salt The Mom wanted him to throw on the driveway and sidewalk amounted to about a half a cup he shook his head, muttered something harsh, and went out to buy more salt.

When he returned, he salted what needed to be salted, and informed The Mom that she was now the proud owner of five large bags of salt.

“What? There’s no room for that!” she cried.

“Make room or get used to having a sheet of ice cover everything within a 25 metre radius.”

“There was plenty of salt out there. Why did you have to go buy more?”

She is convinced that since they moved in, they just buy things to take up space in her house and drive her crazy.

“There was no salt! You can’t expect me to salt all that with the half a cup of old salt you had in the garage!”

The Mom then looked at him with a look I am familiar with and that he will, in time, become familiar with as well. The look says, ‘You are doing things in a new and improved way and that is not how I roll.’

You can fight her on this, but it’s useless. The minute you teach her to do something in a better, more efficient way, she’ll lose patience and go back to the way she’s always done it. Soon the others will learn that with salt as with anything else chez The Mom: either do it her way, or do it your way and don’t tell her. It’s just easier that way.