Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Snowpacolypse 2011

Day three draws to a close… we are all still with the living. This has been an adventure of the indoor kind.

As happens every few years here in the Deep South, we have been iced in. From the view out the living room window, children sledding and pretty forest-scape, one would think that this is a lovely winter wonderland full of opportunities for rarely enjoyed activities like the afore mentioned sledding and snowball throwing and snowman building. The reality is quite different, the view is misleading. The kids aren’t sledding, they are slipping and sliding across the yards on ice, the snowballs are hard as rock and could kill a person and there are NO snowmen, anywhere around. A movie could be made-- Ice Age V (Will This Shit Ever Melt), or Super Size It II-- but neither of them would capture the drama of 72 hours in a house with NOWHERE to go and the same 3 people to look at. This is why I live in Atlanta. Once every ten years is enough. I would never last in a place where this is an annual occurrence.

Snowpacolypse –T - 24 and counting:
Thanks to some phenomenally accurate weather forecasting we knew that the ice and snow were moving towards us and roughly when it would get here. We bought groceries, we got fake logs for the fireplace, gassed the car up, checked for candles, flashlights and batteries and waited, expecting the worst. People up north like to make fun of us southerners for being so disenchanted with cold weather. They love to tell us that 23 degrees isn’t cold, they know cold, they love to tell us that we can’t drive in snow, they love to laugh at our snow forecast inspired  trips to the grocery store to get water, bread and milk. We just smile at them and go about our business. They will learn, as we all did at some point or another what happens when you aren’t ready.

Snowpacolypse-T -12 and counting:
A gorgeous snow began to fall about 7 PM (right on schedule, go Weather Channel!) Beautiful, for about an hour, then sleet, the freezing rain, then snow, then sleet, then freezing rain… you get the picture. I decide about 3 hours into it that yes, damn it, 23 is really cold and that my gas bill will be outrageous. The power flickers once or twice but stays on. This one is already shaping up to be better than the last one, spent in a freezing house with no power for 4 days running and the little old neighbor lady snuggled up on a warm chair right in front of our fireplace. By 1 AM we have settled into a steady pattern, sleet for an hour followed by one of freezing rain. Yuck.

Snowpacolypse Day 1
YAY!! A snow day!! Even most displaced Yankees are riding this one out inside their warm cozy houses. Major interstates are shut down with an inch or more of ice sheeting them and jack-knifed tractor trailers blocking all lanes. Northerners may know how to drive in snow, but no one is good at driving on ice. We watch on the news as many people try to prove themselves right about their abilities only to be found wanting, sitting in crumpled cars on the side of the road. We smile smugly, shake our heads and say ‘Dumb-asses, and they thought we were stupid.’

Left over home made beef vegetable soup simmers on the stove while we watch movies, read and nap. People keep their children indoors as freezing rain and snow flurries continue to mark the passing of time outside. Lasagna is set to bake and then devoured, the fireplace cranked up and day one slides to a sleepy close.

Snowpacolypse- Day 2
I am sick of watching pictures of people sliding all over hells half acre on the TV and my current book just isn’t doing it for me. I flip through the channels and find every old movie I am glad I never watched. All of my facebook friends are sleeping, the spam outnumbers the people on twitter, and my email holds nothing new for me. I log in some hours doing work stuff I had left unfinished on Friday, bake a batch of brownies, do some dishes and watch 25 year old episodes of Cops. The neighbors have tossed their kids out the door and they entertain themselves by hitting my car trying to knock chunks of ice off with sticks. Their parents are no doubt hiding inside just glad that the kids are burning off some energy somewhere other than in their faces. Excitement comes in the form of watching another neighbor try to get their car out of the cul-de-sac only to slide back again and again finally leaving it cockeyed in the middle of the road.  Roast beef and salad and French fries with brownies and ice cream for dessert finish the day. The cold weather has created some sort of Cro-Magnon like need for thousands of calories and the richer the food the better

Snowpacolypse- Day 3
Day three arrives with some sunshine (YAY) cold temps (BOO) news that highways are at least passable in one lane (YAY) but neighborhoods will not be salted for a few more days (BOO). I have slept 10 hours, which probably hasn’t happened since the last ice storm, my butt feels two sizes larger, my head hurts and I am bored to death. The office is still closed so I have no new work to do. The dishes are done in two minutes and even making a pot of chili takes no more than 30. While my son bundles up to face the great outdoors and an 8 mile walk to the store for smokes and thrills, driven by the same cabin fever as I, my husband knocks ice off the front walk and I trudge upstairs with iPod and headphones to log in some miles and burn some calories on the treadmill. If possible, the shows on the TV are even worse than the day before. Even the reporters are sick of standing outside, freezing their collective patooties off and saying look, there goes someone else sliding into the same ditch where five others car-carcasses are resting. Bright sunshine slowly warms up the surfaces and despite 27 degree temperatures the ice melts a bit, allowing cars to slowly skitter and slide out of the middle of the road and kids to once again attack the ice boogers on my car.

Tomorrow roads will be a bit better, offices will open even if a few hours late, some new man-made tragedy or natural phenomenon will take the place of sledders in Piedmont Park at 2 AM or jack-knifed trucks causing a snow-jam twenty miles long. I will be glad this is finished on one hand, I miss the normal, but saddened by it too. Adventures are best shared and this has been a good one.