Chivalry isn’t dead, but it doesn’t need to sit out in the cold either.

Shortly after we bought our house, my parents wanted to buy us a housewarming gift and gave us a choice—a storage shed or a freezer. To us, it was a no-brainer: we chose the freezer. The refrigerator we’d inherited from Doris was one of those side-by-side units and the freezer space was shockingly small.

Price tag: $700.

Today, we bought a storage shed for the backyard. A 10×12 wooden shed that will be delivered and assembled for us in 4-6 weeks. We’ll just have to prep the space by leveling that section of the yard (it’s on a slope) and paint it when it’s finished.

Price tag: $5,400.

Err. I guess we made the wrong choice, huh? But it’s not like we had a crystal ball we could gaze into. Who knew the price of lumber would skyrocket and inflation would reach a 40-year high?

Not my backyard. Not my shed. Not my wheelbarrow. Not my straw hat.

We’re going to bite the bullet anyway. We recently refinanced the house and have money budgeted for this project. Our single-car garage is full of..well, a single car. And lots of other stuff. The stuff we’ll be able to move into the shed. The car can stay. While I could just park it in the driveway alongside Tara’s truck, I’ve always been a person who believes a garage should be used to shelter a car. And before you get all huffy and ask why Tara doesn’t get to park in the garage, it’s only because her pickup is too tall and won’t fit in there.

Chivalry is not dead. But, you know, there’s no sense in both of us leaving our vehicles exposed to the elements if we don’t have to.


A few days ago, I was telling Tara about something funny that my boss had said at work. “I sniggered when I heard that!” I recalled.

My wife looked at me aghast and said, “I can’t believe you just said that!”
“Said what?” I asked, puzzled.
That word,” she replied.
“Sniggered?”
“There you go again!”
“What’s wrong with sniggered?”
“It sounds too much like another word we never use.”
“Pumpernickel?”
“Ha-ha. Besides, aren’t you supposed to say snickered?”
“Pretty sure they mean the same thing, babe.”

They do: a partly suppressed or broken laugh. A quick Google search reveals that sniggered is more commonly used by the British while Americans tend to say snickered, but both are correct (and neither are offensive). There’s even a whole Reddit thread devoted to this. Because, of course there is.

Honestly, I didn’t even give the word a second thought. But now, I’ll probably never use it again on the off chance that I might inadvertently offend someone.


Originally, I’d planned to break out my new smoker for the first time yesterday. I stocked up on charcoal, found a nice pork shoulder roast, and read the manual. (For the smoker. The pork shoulder didn’t come with how-to instructions.)

But by Saturday morning, the forecast had changed. The 70-degree sunshine they’d been predicting earlier was replaced by temps in the 50s and, shocker, a wind advisory for 50-mph gusts. Less than ideal for my virgin smoking attempt, so I stuck the roast in the freezer-that-we-got-when-we-should-have-chosen-a-shed. There will be plenty of opportunities in the future.

Not in the next week though. We’re still supposed to get snow Tuesday night and Wednesday, though the storm track has shifted to the north. Frustrating since we need the moisture. We’ll probably end up with a couple of inches instead of a foot, but we’ll take anything we can get at this point.

There are two all-company training sessions in Wall this week, scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday. I’ve been assigned to the latter. There’s a chance the weather may affect those. Even a little bit of snow, coupled with strong winds, would make for a treacherous 55-mile drive down the interstate.

Trust me, that’s nothing to snigger at.

44 thoughts on “Chivalry isn’t dead, but it doesn’t need to sit out in the cold either.

    1. I guess Tara had never heard the word before and so her mind went there. Fortunately, with plenty of other perfectly acceptable synonyms from which to use, I’m a-gonna shy away from sniggered, too.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Yikes, that’s one pricey little shed. And you know where small outbuildings lead? To larger outbuildings… and barns. Trust me on this.
    As far as sniggered goes, I grew up with the word and find it perfectly acceptable. Emphasis on the S.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have never heard the word “sniggered” so I doubt that I would ever use it and, inadvertently, offend someone. Now, I am perfectly capable of snickering at an inappropriate moment and offending a room full of people.

    A company training session in Wall? Isn’t that where they have that huge drug store that you can buy just about everything? Good to know that you’ll have a new storage shed to store it all in.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I think this post has to win the prize for best title ever. You are so entertaining to read. Congratulations on your shed. By the way, I just finished “No Time for Kings” and loved it!! One of my favorite sentences had to be “Besides, they were leaving a trail even a blindfolded kindergartner could follow.”

    Great read – the post and the book!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, wow…thank you SO MUCH for your kind words (and for buying/reading my book!). I appreciate that more than you know.

      I’m actually toying around with the idea of a sequel. I have an idea for a story that’s been kicking around in my head. We’ll see.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Thursday, if you go to Wall, I hope it’s not icy so you don’t hit it (sorry about the bad Wall pun, but as a South Dakotan, you’ve probably heard worse). I seem to recall that Wall is famous for its drug store, which I bypassed on a trip through your state decades ago (though not every town can boast of a drug store being its main tourist attraction).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes indeed, Wall Drug is iconic. I had an opportunity to meet with the owner’s grandson and do a story for their 90th anniversary. Anyplace that can stay in business that long is clearly doing something right!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh no, I love the word snigger and now I’ll never be able to unsee the negative connotations. I mean, Mutley in Wacky Races – he sniggers, yes? Big sigh. But I can be a grown up about this. I’m afraid I don’t like snicker, so I will have to find another word.

    I’d have gone for the freezer too, but then I still don’t have a shed (but only ‘cos I have no need for one, not having a yard to maintain). And wow, that is some rate of inflation on sheds. Do you think that’s the price of wood or the massive interest in the influencer community for she-sheds? If I ever have exterior land, I’d have one – but mine would be a writer’s retreat (honest injun it would).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Trust me, I’ve thought about a writer’s retreat, too! I love the idea. But I’ve got a basement, and really, that works just fine.

      It’s inflation on everything, plus supply shortages. Then there’s the labor to truck it out there and build it. We could do it ourselves and save money, but then, we’d have to do it ourselves. I’m not super skilled when it comes to putting together buildings, so we’ll just hire the experts to do it.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. You’re wise to not snigger anymore. While I understand it’s proper English, some words are better wiped from you personal lexicon. Once upon a time we had a house with a shed. It was a useful building, but it had to be maintained like the house [roof, painting] and required extra insurance. The freezer is gonna cost you less in the long run.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. The cost of everything is outrageous, but man, I had no idea. I’d guess half that price, which is my usual error these days.

    I always thought snigger was a noun and snicker the verb.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I hear you about the weather. Last Thursday it was 77 and I was going to fire up the egg. Last night it snowed three inches. In Portland. In April.

    Maybe we will not replace the fence this year either…

    Liked by 1 person

  9. But is that your tree behind the shed?

    Oh my. You made the wrong choice, but you’re right, who knew this would happen?

    I always thought it was snickering and I’ve never heard of the other version, so I don’t believe it’s real. ☺️

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I can’t use snicker. It makes me think of Snickers and then I’m just left with a powerful craving, which I can either satisfy with calories I don’t need, or spend the rest of the day avoiding but obsessing about nonetheless.
    If you think sniggered is bad, try niggardly: “By purchasing a $5K shed, you’ve shown you aren’t niggardly.” In searching for the etymology of the word, I found this on Dictionary.com, which not only provides the non-offensive origin, but also explains in a nonconfrontational way why its innocent origins aren’t enough to defend its usage today:
    ORIGIN OF NIGGARD
    First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English nyggard, nigard “a stingy person,” from earlier nig “a stingy person” (from Old Norse; compare Old Icelandic hnöggr “stingy,” dialectal Swedish njugg, nygg “parsimonious”; akin to Old English hnēaw “stingy”) + -ard
    USAGE NOTE FOR NIGGARD
    The words niggard and niggardly are often misinterpreted as racial slurs because they sound like what is probably the most offensive word in the English language. Actually, niggard dates back to Middle English. The first element nygg-, nig- was borrowed from a Scandinavian source, and -ard is a pejorative suffix. The adjective and adverb niggardly is a modern English formation from niggard. Historical linguists and others familiar with the etymology of these words know that they are not truly related to the word nigger. However, the source of a term is not as important as how it is perceived and used in contemporary language. So even if the words niggard and niggardly are not racial slurs in their etymologies, meanings, or historical uses, it may be wisest to avoid these terms. The connotation or perception of any word is determined by how it is used, received, and interpreted; niggard and niggardly may be offensive to many speakers because of this speculative, but false, etymology.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This is why, whenever I’m in a room with a bunch of scientists, I avoid the astronomers. Talking with them just makes me crave a Milky Way bar.

      I hadn’t even considered “niggardly” before. Yikes. That one is much worse! Thank you for the interesting etymology lesson.

      Liked by 1 person

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