Snowed In

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Blog entry by Phil Brown posted 01-02-2008 12:38 AM 1278 reads 0 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I went out this New Years morning to shovel the driveway, then retreated inside to work on my novel. Woodworking has to be on the backburner for a while as my knees took a tremendous beating being on my feet in the shop so many hours this year. Instead of moping about it I’m going to spend time on some other talents I’ve been blessed with, writing and art. I went out to clear the driveway again and saw the Freightliner in this condition. I don’t have to drive until Wednesday evening so I’ll wait till tomorrow to clean it off. No, I don’t drive around like this. My wife snapped this and laughed as I added the Happy New Year when photoshopping out the license plate.


This is what she looks like on a good day. There’s a wack of surface area to clean, and all the wheels are aluminum. The truck suffered this year for a regular bath as I was so busy with the casket making and other projects.


Christmas was a big change from previous years as my mother suffered a virus, after recovering from cancer surgery, and regressed in her cognitive abilities to the point of needing constant supervision. Consequently we’ve had to move her out of her apartment of twenty years where the family got together and enjoyed Christmas, and in with my oldest daughter who lives nearby. My mom will be able to shop and bank at familiar venues, and enjoy the closeness of her great grandson. Although my daughter’s bungalow is tiny, we were once again able to squeeze the whole family in and have a warm Christmas get-together.

My knees were so bad after the move, that I could barely walk for a couple of days. And my clutch knee is the worst. Shovelling snow and gathering weekly firewood have taken their toll on my knees as well, so getting off my feet for a while is the obvious prescription.

Still, I’m thankful for what I have, considering the myriads of homeless people I pass every night as I travel through the downtown core of the two cities I pass through to deliver my load. The truck route goes by several missions, handing out food and giving shelter to the unfortunate. Still the byways are crowded with the homeless, in the cold and unforgiving weather we experience around here.

I get to sit at the computer and rest my legs in warmth and comfort while they have nothing. I have no particular resolutions this year, but perhaps practicing thankfulness in my daily routine would be a good one to work on.

-- Phil Brown, Ontario

16 comments so far

View Russel's profile


2199 posts in 3935 days

#1 posted 01-02-2008 12:44 AM

I like your attitude Phil. It sounds like your holidays have been good in spite of a few health issues. Happy New Year to you.

-- Working at Woodworking

View Karson's profile


35120 posts in 4396 days

#2 posted 01-02-2008 12:53 AM

I understand the knee problem Phil. About one isle in Big orange or big Blue and I’m wondering why I don’t go and get the wheelchair version of a cart.

The shop has 3/4” rubber floor over all of the cement, and I sit as much as I can. Stools and chairs are ever present near the workbench,vise, mortise machine and drill press. I stand by the table saw, band saw and router table but find the chair when I can. I definitely think when I’m sitting.

May the Lord bless you in your travels. On the road, and in the lives of others that you meet. May the Lord Bless you and give you the best and blessed of New years.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View John Gray's profile

John Gray

2370 posts in 3881 days

#3 posted 01-02-2008 12:56 AM

Happy New Year Phil! Have you checked into knee surgery? I had a total replacement of my right hip and boy I can get around great now I wish I had done it 15 years sooner. Good luck and God bless!

-- Only the Shadow knows....................

View Don's profile


2603 posts in 4173 days

#4 posted 01-02-2008 02:22 AM

Snow! That would be nice; it’s a miserable 107 degrees in Melbourne.

-- CanuckDon "I just love small wooden boxes!"

View Phil Brown's profile

Phil Brown

219 posts in 4054 days

#5 posted 01-02-2008 03:34 AM

Thanks folks.

Years ago when I was running and mountain biking a lot my knee problem was diagnosed as chondromalacia, inflamation on the underside of the kneecap and/or misalignment of the kneecap which was my situation as the muscles on the outside of my legs were apparently pulling my kneecaps out of kilter.

As I’ve been on my feet so much this year it’s flared up again, bigtime – keeps me awake at night. One of the best things for knees is rest and I’m taking that advice. Hopefully I won’t need surgery at this stage, one year shy of fifty.

Don, you can have some of our snow. There’s been a whack of it so far this winter.

-- Phil Brown, Ontario

View tat2grl's profile


61 posts in 3797 days

#6 posted 01-02-2008 04:24 AM

I wanna join the crappy knee club too. Had knee surgery in 1992 and it went horribly wrong. I had a condition similar to Phil’s. My surgery did a left lateral release to the plica band, but my body apparently thought that something was wrong and attacked itself. All of my quads and hamstrings went bye bye…my left leg was just bone and tissue. Had to retire from my career as a paramedic because of it. Became friends with a sports doctor 10 years later who was livid over what I had gone through and showed me some simple exercises to do. Within 2 months I was walking normally and after 4 months I could run…wasn’t pretty, but I could do it! What was the exercise? Sit down on the floor with one leg straight and the other bent, left the straight one off the floor about 3 inches and hold it for at least a count of 5. Repeat for three reps. Keep building it up until you can hold it for 30 seconds for 10 reps. Amazingly simple and works wonders! Nice photoshop job!

-- "Creativity is...seeing something that doesn't exist already. You need to find out how you can bring it into being and that way be a playmate with God."

View CharlieM1958's profile


16274 posts in 4214 days

#7 posted 01-02-2008 04:46 AM

At 49, I run two miles every day, and also walk quite a bit. I’ve never had any knee problems whatsoever. You guys have given me something else to be thankful for this year.

Phil, you are right on the money. Whenever I start feeling bad about something that’s not quite perfect in my life, I just try to think about the millions who would be thrilled to have half of the spriritual and material gifts I enjoy.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Chip's profile


1904 posts in 4088 days

#8 posted 01-02-2008 05:22 AM

It’s great to hear from you again Phil, regardless of the circumstances. Here’s hoping the New Year brings you much happiness.

-- Better to say nothing and be thought the fool... then to speak and erase all doubt!

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 4242 days

#9 posted 01-02-2008 05:23 AM

Hi Phil, glad to hear from you, yea I have the same problem, chondromalacia, had arthriscopic surgery on both knees in 86, helped for about 6 months now they snap, crackle and pop again, and thats about the best discription of it and when they go out of alignment its some kinda pain, until it decides to go back in. Well get some rest buddy using that clutch has got to be murder on those knees. I can’t imagine. But, Happy New Year and God Bless and keep you safe on the roads. Your bud in Michigan, mike , at least we know when its gonna rain or snow before anyone else, right? don’t yours ache before a storm?

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View cajunpen's profile


14575 posts in 4062 days

#10 posted 01-02-2008 07:34 AM

Good hearing from you again Phil. Sounds like several of us know about that knee pain – ain’t it lovely? And wait – the good news is that the older you get the worse it seems to get. Give you something to look forward to. I am thankful for my overall health though and I guess I’ll have to live with knee pain.

Charlie, I’m happy that you run 2 miles a day – but I have a theory on running. Everything created has a limitied amount of time before it quits working – televisions, saws, etc. have so many pre-determined hours of use on them before they quit working. A heart is no different – when you are born, your heart only has so many beats in it before it quits (thank goodness we don’t know how many). Think about it – when you run, what happens???? Obviously your heart beats faster and guess what else happens – you use up those pre-determined beats even faster. So walk, don’t run. No Medical proof behind my theory – just common sense makes me think I’m right :-)).

-- Bill - "Suit yourself and let the rest be pleased."

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4157 days

#11 posted 01-02-2008 02:53 PM

you sure got a lot of snow—not as much as the east coast, though, I think.. but definitely enough!

the more talk about aching joints the more I wish I had bought the new General “Access” line of tools so I’d be able to sit comfortably at all the machines.

Take care and enjoy the writing and painting and.. and.. :)

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View CharlieM1958's profile


16274 posts in 4214 days

#12 posted 01-02-2008 05:17 PM

Bill, you may be right about the heartbeats. I remember years ago one of the original astronauts used the same theory to excuse his lack of exercise. But, here is the thing: Before I started aerobic exercise 7 or 8 years ago, my normal resting heart rate was upper 70’s to low 80’s. Now it is mid 60’s. So even though my heart beats around 136-140 times per minute for the 20 minutes it takes me to run 2 miles. if you add up all the beats I’m saving the other 23 1/3 hours per day, I’m still WAY ahead.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4157 days

#13 posted 01-02-2008 05:42 PM

that’s what I was thinking—the overall lowered heart rate.
(So speaks the lady with the sedentary lifestyle.. doh)

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 4295 days

#14 posted 01-02-2008 05:59 PM


The next tractor you get you better get an Allison automatic. They got them pretty well perfected now.

I started ordering all of our tucks with Allison’s, because our trucks were used on short hauls, mostly in the city for building demolition.

I was constantly replacing clutches, about every 30,000 miles. After that no more problems.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View David's profile


1969 posts in 4135 days

#15 posted 01-03-2008 07:27 AM

Phil -

I admire your resilient attitude! Nice looking truck . . . that is a lot of area to wash! Great photo of the snow!

Happy New Year!


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