Good afternoon, America! Well this has certainly been a week to remember. Since sarcasm, my second language, does not translate well to written word please know that the previous sentence was dripping with it. The only day in the last week that it has not snowed here saw the bottom fall out of our temperatures and we were blessed a refreshing -37 degrees. If incessant shoveling and roof raking wasn’t enough, the Boo Bear ended up in the emergency room twice and was finally admitted for the night. She’s on the mend and should be back to her sassy little 30 pound self in no time.
Our weather in this little valley is bizarre to say the least. We were starting to have doubts that winter was ever going to show its hoary and boreal face around here. We hadn’t much in the way of the double digits below zero that we have become accustomed to over the years, and snow was but a rumor in the high country. I’m not a skier but I understand that conditions on the slopes were less than stellar.
Then it began. At first it was the very visage of a Thomas Kinkade painting. The landscape was blanketed in a thick layer of crystalline beauty. Children squealed with pure joy as they bounded through the pillow-like mounds of snow. Parents playfully flicked small shovels of snow at each other as they gleefully cleared their walks. The skiers smiled from ear to ear as they boarded the bus for the mountain.
At some point in the ensuing days there was a change. We slowly metamorphosized from an idyllic Victorian painting to the winter character in Stephen King’s “The Shining” as our two day snow totals surpassed two feet mark and it continued to fall.
The ski town to our north had it even worse. Their totals have crossed the 100″ mark from this unrelenting storm and another few feet is forecast. Both of our local ski areas closed for a day or so due to excessive snow.
Our County government closed, the University closed for two days (this has never happened by all recollections), and they closed our school (for the first time in decades). I inadvertently started a small skirmish by pointing out the fact that we must have gotten soft to close down due to a little snow. We live in the mountains. It snows here. It’s what happens at almost one and a half miles above sea level in the winter. Our roads are snowy almost half the year. Yet, we function just fine. We functioned just fine up until the school send out a voice mail on one particularly snowy night to everyone saying that you could keep your kids at home if you wanted to and encouraged parents to call them with feedback of this decision (glad I wasn’t answering their phones the next day). I’m convinced that this planted the seed in far too many peoples heads that we needed a snow day. We’ve gotten soft. No longer are we the hale and hearty mountain folk of yore. Now we drive 2-wheel drive sedans, get stuck a lot, and whine to the school district.
Now I’ve lived here for almost 21 years and have seen winters with lots of snow, and winters that we barely received a skiff. I don’t recall it ever snowing this hard for this long. We ran out of places to pile it. Our city streets are very wide (think 4 lane road wide) and they push the snow to the center of the road then come pick it up after it stops falling. The infamous berms in the road grew to over 20 feet in height and our streets were reduced to winding single lane paths better suited for a Sherpa and his yaks than for your favorite vehicle. How to you cross the street? You slowly peek out into one lane, go when you’re decently sure no one is coming, stop in the middle, peek out into the next lane, and go like hell when you muster up the courage to step on it. Annnnnnd that’s pretty much how we ended up on accident alert for days at a time.
Now I want you to close your eyes and take a trip with me for a moment. Ok, ready? I want you to imagine you’re a Lennox furnace. It’s a stretch, I know, but try. You’re treated well by your family. Checked up on every year, given new filters whenever you want, and kept in a nice clean mechanical room that was especially built for you. Now, I know none of you are selfish turds so you wouldn’t quit me in the middle of all this. But apparently an inanimate object decided to go out on strike on our household rrrrrright about the time it got cold. Well after waiting four days, and paying an emergency call fee, the ungrateful machine is back in service. I do my best to give it a withering glare every time I walk by.
So after piling the snow up in every spot I could find to depths of over six feet I finally decided that one of our vehicles had to go. I simply needed the room in the alley to pile more of the white curse up. The Ram is our road trip vehicle (and those trips are frequent), the Jeep is our around town vehicle (and small enough to fit through some of these absurdly narrow goat paths that are supposed to be for vehicular travel), and my work car is a requirement. So we had to dig out the 1978 Ford and drop him off in the next (and significantly warmer) town west of here for the winter. Never fear, the beast will return in the spring. We’ll see you after mud season!
Today was decent, but the freezing fog we had to drive through tonight was a bit uncalled for in my humble estimation. I guess Old Man Winter just wanted to remind me that he still has his cruel eye turned towards our fair city.
I have finally shoveled my last scoop of the white beast tonight. The Mini Ponderosa is as cleaned up as I can get it. I’ll wait for the next snow to decide where to stack that accursed yet bountiful harvest of fluff. Right now, I don’t even want to think about it.
Oh yeah…I would be remiss if I didn’t say thank you to some really decent folks around here. My neighbor, who doesn’t speak to me, has kept our alley clear with his snow plow. I’m not sure what we would have done without Russ manning his ATV and three foot plow for hours at a time. There have been offers of snow blowers, roof rakes, and even a backhoe to pile the snow higher and make some room behind the house again. I may bemoan the frozen wasteland we have become but some really good friends and neighbors make it a warm place to live.