The Basement Files

Spring can be a ‘pain in the grass’


Man, for one of my “less favorite” months of the year, February is flying by. I suppose it’s because this month has been full of suspense, intrigue, a retiring Pope and a meteorite strike. Which, slightly off topic, was my third greatest fear growing up, following tornadoes and commitment.

However, between the excitement we’ve had snow and more snow. And judging by the latest forecasts, even more snow is expected today. So it’s about that time everyone starts looking forward to spring.

Spring, in a word, is awesome. It is the time of year when I haul out my deck furniture, bug spray, radio, grill, bratwursts and cigars, and kick back and relax for the three or so months this state’s climate affords me. But you’ll hear all about that from other folks. I’m here to remind you of the other, less awesome things about the pending spring that make it a pain in the grass.

Chores, chores, chores

Spring cleaning is on its way. I’m not a fan, as I’m not exactly sure how I amass extra junk during the winter when I basically hibernate next to my furnace. It doesn’t matter however. The junk needs to go to make room for more junk, which will subsequently be trashed about 12 months from now.


Another thing, besides your humble columnist, coming out of hiding once the sun warms things up are creepy crawlers and buzzing blunderbusses that, after years of researching, I am completely convinced come out to irritate me as I try to relax. I kick back on my deck with a big, stinky stogie, and just start to feel like all is right in the world when bees inevitably buzz right past my face.

I am not a fan of bees. I mean, they “do things” that are kind of “essential” to nature, but please do it away from me. My deck is a “no fly zone,” and that includes bees.

Bees are one thing, and are easily avoided by staying inside, like I do all winter. But all is not good in casa de Hamble. The other creepier side of Mother Nature comes to life and crawls across your feet when you are in the bathroom or watching some nighttime TV. They are spiders, crickets and my absolute least favorite, house centipedes. I hate those things. And I save the word “hate” for very few things. But centipedes are nasty and toxic.

Those “front two legs” you see are actually antennae and on the end of each is a poison-filled barb. Sure, the barbs aren’t long enough to pierce through human skin, but if you are like me and stub your toes a lot, there is a real worry there. Plus, did I mention they were nasty?


The old adage is “April showers bring May flowers.” A long rainy day is nice, but nothing more than that. It’s no secret that I’m kind of a weather geek. I’ve written in the past about my “command center” in my basement to track severe weather, complete with weather radio, TV, smart phone and PC all focused on any incoming storm using the most up-to-date radar software. I’m not talking about those free sites and news apps. This is real radar, with real-time updates and access to all kinds of data, like reflectivity, velocity, echo tops, vertically integrated liquid and in some locations, brand spanking new dual polarization radar.

I’m prepared for everything, because as a kid severe weather was my second worst fear. I still hate it when severe weather comes around. It can ruin your day and is dangerous if you don’t respect it. Nothing takes my “relaxation buzz” away faster than seeing storm damage on the news. So every year, about this time, I remind you to not be stupid and take weather warnings seriously.

So, take it seriously and take it easy shoveling the snow today and tomorrow.

Chris Hamble is a freelance writer and humor columnist serving newspapers in Minnesota and Wisconsin, and is a lifelong Stillwater resident.