The World According to Dave: (Don’t) Let It Snow


This past winter, the Boston area experienced snowstorms of epic proportions. From mid-January to mid-February, we got over eight feet of snow—officially the most in the history of the area. We had a major snowstorm every weekend for five straight weeks; the worst was a 24-hour period when we got 34-and-a-half inches alone. The very fact that I began referring to nine inches of snowfall as “a dusting” speaks volumes to how much snow we saw this winter.

The main problem in winter is the formation of ice dams on roofs. Ice accumulates along the gutters, and the snow above it melts and pools against it, which results in water leaking into the house through the shingles. After the first storm, we had extensive water damage in several rooms. In hindsight, my efforts to battle the elements produced as much damage to our house as the actual snow. Here are the lowlights:

• I dumped de-icer on the back walkway and deck to try to melt the ice. It didn’t work, but the real problem was that we tracked the calcium chloride crystals into the house with our boots. After a week, the kitchen linoleum turned gritty and white as the calcium chloride burned into the flooring.

• One morning I woke up to find that both our front and back doors were sealed shut. Water had leaked all night into the doorways and, coupled with the sub-zero weather, the wood frames had severely expanded, leaving us trapped in our home. I ended up shaving off the bottom of the back door with a saw just to get it open. When the snowfall stopped and the weather warmed up a bit, the wood re-settled, and now we can clearly look out at the porch from under the door.

• Every day I reached out precariously from the windows of our second floor dormers and dutifully hacked away at the ice dam. Once the snow finally melted, I discovered that I’d gouged gaping holes in the roof with my 7-iron and accidentally tore the gutter away from the roof in one corner. The repetitive motion of hacking away at the ice, along with the countless hours spent shoveling this winter, resulted in my developing bursitis in my left elbow. Also, my feet were perpetually sore because my boots had shrunk (thanks to the de-icer). This winter has prematurely aged me, confirmed when I heard myself lamenting to a friend over the phone the other day, “My corns are killing me.”

When the barrage of snowstorms mercifully ended, my family and I celebrated by playing in the backyard for the first time. Well, the plan was to play at least. The first thing I did was toss my four-year-old son into the powdery snow off the back porch, but I watched in horror as he disappeared COMPLETELY under it! I dug him out and through semifrozen tears, he vowed never to go outside for the rest of winter.

For the first time in months, I thought about the coming spring, and ticks, and poison ivy, and heatstrokes, and the return of the raccoon that splays out our trash on the lawn every Sunday night. “I can’t wait,” I said to myself, and I meant it. Then my son and I went inside to have hot cocoa, which we, this past winter, pretty much drank on tap.


Pot-DaveYoo-DJ14David Yoo is the author of YA novels Girls for Breakfast (Delacorte), a NYPL Best Book for Teens and a Booksense Pick, Stop Me If You’ve Heard This One Before (Hyperion), a Chicago Best of the Best selection, and with a middle grade novel, The Detention Club, (Balzer & Bray). He teaches at the MFA program at Piano Manor College and at the Gotham Writers’ Workshop. He resides in Massachusetts with his family. 

This article was published in the April/May 2015 issue of KoreAm. Subscribe today! To purchase a single issue copy of the April/May issue, click the “Buy Now” button below. (U.S. customers only. Expect delivery in 5-7 business days).