Honestly, I do feel bad for the folks who are dangerously cold, without power or water or generally unable to handle frigid temperatures. I wouldn't wish that on anyone.
But for the rest of the Texans (and others below the Mason Dixon) I can't help but chuckle to hear their stories of horror and dismay that the temperature dropped below 80 degrees. For those of us born and bred in the northeast, we know a thing or two about cold.
My coldest day on ski patrol at Loon Mountain was 28 degrees below zero. We didn't take too many runs that day, but we completed our sweeps and even helped a few injured folks off the slopes. I actually rode the gondola with a guy who paid for a full-priced ticket. It turned out he was on vacation and was determined to ski regardless of the weather. I was proud of him.
The cold snap in Texas made me think of all the "green" they enjoy for most of the year down there. When my parents migrated to Florida, they waved goodbye to any notion of a white Christmas.
But what about those of us who enjoy all four seasons? What are we to do when we're trying to sell a house, but want to maintain awesome curb-appeal any time of the year. Today, we'll take a gander at a few tips you can use to keep your yard hopping regardless of the season. Let's roll.
While I'm not a huge fan of wasting water, a good power wash is a wonderful thing. We got one about a year ago and it is amazing what you can clean (or ruin). Caked on mud comes right off the mountain bikes as easy as pie. It also helped when I re-stained the deck. But for the curb appeal side of things, consider your driveway.
Leaves and branches are a great source of stain on your concrete driveway. You don't have to make it shiny-new, but taking a layer of grime and pine tar off will do wonders for the general appearance of your home. Power washers are also amazing at cleaning up walkways and retaining-wall blocks. I assure you, once you get that thing in your hands, you'll find loads of things to clean. Maybe just keep it away from the kids and pets!
Vegetation is a bit of a challenge in the northeast. That said, we have our fair share of evergreens that can keep your yard looking healthy and happy. Although I've never done this, I always wanted to plant bulbs in the fall so I could enjoy them in the spring.
This is a great way to have your yard do the work for you. Otherwise, invest in plants, shrubs and trees that will provide an array of beauty options. Trees that explode with colors in the fall are amazing for pictures and general cozy feelings (Is that just me?). And never stick with just one option. The most attractive yards always incorporate multiple types of plants and vegetation.
I know I've lauded the benefits of hardscaping before, but it bears repeating when it comes to year-round curb appeal. Cobblestone, pavers, mulch, river stone, boulders and loads of other options can keep your yard looking awesome without the maintenance.
Of course none of that matters if it's all under a blanket of snow. But when it melts, your investment will shine through and look amazing. This sort of yard decoration eliminates water waste (that you just made up for with your power washing), maintenance and stress. Talk to a landscape architect (or general smarty-pants) today and see what options are available for varying budget sizes.
Growing up we had a 25-foot-high hill on one side of our front lawn. As a teenager, I hated this hill because it was a pain in the neck to mow. Though it was fun to sled and ski on in the winter though. If you have a "trouble-spot" like this on your property, consider converting it to a more usable space.
You could build in a terraced garden on that slope and eliminate your need to keep mowing uphill. If you have a low spot that always floods in the spring, consider a rock garden or at least fix the drainage.
"Whenever you try to sell your home, you don't want to have to think about the potential buyers coming by on an "off" day," Badger Realty agent Diane McGregor said. "Get these spots remedied before you list your home. You'll be glad you did."
We didn't really touch on the house itself today, but suffice it to say you will need to give the outside a once-over before that first showing. It IS possible to do some touch-up sanding and painting in the winter. Just pick a warm afternoon and go after those peeling spots on the window sills.
Cleaning your windows is always an option and always a great idea. Removing dead branches and other shrapnel from previous storms will show the buyers that you care for your home and aren't just huddled in the basement next to the woodstove all winter.
Freezing temperatures and power outages are no joke. I lost power in my new house the month I moved in and my only heat source was my Rinnai heater. I woke up with my cat under the covers and an inside temperature of 46 degrees.
I'm young, healthy and got dressed quickly and went to work. Others are not so fortunate. Help out if you can and stay warm and safe yourself. It's a wild world out there.