Anyone outside the PNW will have heard on the news about “SNOWPOCALYPSE” and “HEAVY WINTER STORMS” and all that sort of blather that the news media seem to love to put on winter storms around here.
It’s all just a symptom of the pussification of this area. Yeah, we don’t get a lot of hard weather around here in the winter, it’s one of the joys of living in the Pacific Northwest.
But when we do it’s started to become national news, the subject of the entire local news casts, and a big apocalyptic thing.
It bugs me.
I grew up here. I’ve lived here for 39 years (well, almost). And I don’t remember this sort of doomsday drama occupying the national and local attention as much as it has been in the past 10 or 15 years.
Now there is certainly the argument to be made that I paid very little attention to newscasts when I was a kid. That is, to a certain extent, true.
But I also know that people used to either stay at home and live with snow, or put chains on the car and just get on with it.
And there is certainly the argument to be made that the local population is far higher now than it was when I was growing up. Also true. An absolutely non-disputable point.
But with all the population growth you’d think that this area would have attracted immigrants from areas that are, well, USED to winter?! Instead we seem to have attracted every thin blooded Southern hothouse flower that wasn’t permanently affixed in a warmer climate.
When it first started to snow last Sunday it was pretty, but it wasn’t going to stick. The lawns and the landscaping were dusted in a frosting-sugar coat of white, but the roads were clear and wet. I went to the grocery store to pick up more cough medicine for Andrew and the dude in the car parked in front of mine HAD CHAINS ON ALL FOUR TIRES.
Allow me to repeat myself.
There was water on the roadway, it was 42 degrees and the only thing coming down out of the sky was raindrops.
And there were chains on all four of this dude’s tires.
Considerable sighing and eye rolling.
Consider it a symptom of my progressive curmudgeon-ness. I’ll be getting my whittlin’ stick and a rocking chair for the porch any day now.
A few additives to clear out the rest of the ranting that I’ve been doing in my head for the last three days (we had a snow day at work on Wednesday, the power was out at work yesterday so I didn’t go in, and today is my usual weekday off. I’m a little cabin feverish.)
1. We had about five inches of lovely light, fluffy, powdery snow come down Tuesday night and into Wednesday. I spent about an hour and a half clearing the driveway on the assumption that I’d be going to work Thursday. Then the snow turned to ice and by the time I got up Thursday morning there was a half inch glaze of ice on everything that I’d shoveled the day before.
2. I am eternally grateful for the wisdom of my careful and concerned parents that taught my sibs and I all how to drive on slick roads. I may not have appreciated the instruction at the time (I still have nightmares about starting our station wagon from a dead stop on an icy hill), but I as an adult I am willing to sing praises to the wise and cautious parents who thought it would be a good thing for a driving person to know.
3. While I am sick to death of picking up bits of the alder tree that is on the northeast corner of our property and hauling them out of the road, I am at least grateful that the pine tree that fell across a contractor’s truck in the house next door, was in THER yard, not mine. (Note that the house is empty, no one indoors was hurt or even inconvenienced, and there doesn’t seem to be any damage to the contractor’s truck.)
Also I’m pretty convinced that the folks across the street think I’m bats for wandering around in my snow gear and a bicycle helmet. I’m concerned enough about the traffic that I want to keep the (rather large and very numerous) bits of that alder tree out of the street, but I’m not crazy enough to approach that demon child without something hard covering my head. Those ice chunks HURT when they’re coming at you from a height of 50 feet or so.
4. Weirdly, your homeowner’s insurance, or, at least, our homeowner’s insurance, will only pay to remove a threatening tree if said tree has fallen on your house, not just because it might fall on your house.
Doesn’t that seem short-sighted? Allstate could pay $500 (and we’d pay the other $500) to have this tree removed, but instead they’re willing to bet that the damn thing won’t fall on the roof and crush the master bedroom and they won’t have to pay several tens of thousands of dollars to remove the tree and repair the house.
That having been said, part of the damnable thing did fall on the house yesterday morning scaring the both of us out of a sound sleep and outside into the cold which sent Andrew into a coughing fit from which he is only just recovering.
Don’t worry about the pox ridden tree. It didn’t damage the house at all (at least not that I’ve been able to see so far, I’m not crazy enough to get up on the roof to check the shingles when the roof is covered in ice). The hard freeze is over, no more bits of the tree are going to come down in any threatening way, and as soon as the ground firms up a bit again I’m going over to the neighbors’ house to tell them that they’re going to have a tree removal service in their yard hacking that big bugger out. At least I know where we’re getting next year’s firewood from.
5. We have been paying careful attention to keeping the bird feeders and the bird bath open for business. In addition to our usual seed and suet crowd, because we’ve been putting seed out on the ground, we’ve had a hoard of ground feeders as well. At one point on Wednesday there were thirteen different species of birds at our feeders. We’re having a plague of Varied Thrushes which I find quite charming.
I’ll stop ranting now. 😯