Saturday, December 26, 2009

So this is what a white Christmas is like.

I've been living in the Midwest for three winters now and this is easily the most obnoxious. My first winter here was ridiculously cold. Last year was pretty mild except for one big storm that we missed while we were in California and some freezing rain that caught me by surprise. This year is another year of firsts for me.

We got a pretty good helping of snow in October while I was in California but I figured there would be more when I got home. Nope. No sign of any until December. November was pretty easy. There were some pretty warm days and getting around for Thanksgiving was a breeze. Then December rolled in and all bets were off.

Out here it's a well known fact that it's very hard to predict the weather because we sit right where everything seems to meet up meaning it could be any number of things depending on which way the wind is blowing or which storm system is stronger. Last year they sat on their hands and waited for things to happen before reporting for fear of being wrong. The result was a lot of people getting caught with their pants down while nature kicked their asses. Admittedly most people out here get their weather forecast by looking out the window and head out on even the worst of days. I think they really enjoy seeing their car in a tree or ditch on the news later in the evening.

A lot of people probably think Jill and I are a bit too obsessive about the weather. We're over-planners to begin with so it's only natural that we watch the radar prior to making any weekend plans. If it's going to be bad we stay in, canceling plans if needs be. It's just not worth the risk. Tangent over.

I've been through my first few blizzards and I think we're very fortunate that the snow accumulated the way it did. There's something magical about taking 30 minutes to quickly blow the little bit of snow from the driveway and sidewalk while the people across the street spend hours clearing their snow. Some do it in shifts. Others half-ass it and then drive through it for fear of breaking a sweat. Only one of them does his like clockwork. Here comes another tangent.

We have a neighbor we refer to as Gary Gone Wild since he spend his first summer here topless. He works out of his garage doing odd jobs fabricating things for people. He does okay with it. We have to listen to him grinding metal all day long but he does close shop in the evenings. Aside from the pile of junk he stores in his driveway he's one of my favorite neighbors. He's usually the first one out clearing snow. Like me, he does his entire driveway and sidewalk while everybody else just does their driveway since nobody gets ticketed for neglecting to do their sidewalks. I wish the rest of our neighbors had the same work ethic as Gary. Tangent number two complete.

Even though I've spent a great deal of my vacation trapped at home it's been really nice. The snow gives me a reason to go outside and stay busy rather than napping the day away. I say, bring on more snow as long as it continues to fall everywhere but my driveway.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Let it snow... for hours on end... and have it make the news.

My adorable wife took pity on me and suggested a snow blower this year. We shopped around and looked at a few. We were hesitant to take the plunge since they're expensive and we figured we'd have time to make an educated decision since there were plenty to choose from. The next day we heard on the news that we had 8 inches to look forward to on Tuesday. Snow on Sunday kept people out of the stores so we headed out Monday during my lunch break to buy one. There were just a few left so we lucked out. I'm sure there were a lot of disappointed people at Lowes that afternoon.

I figured out the trick to it pretty quick. I'm still adjusting to not having a completely clear driveway and sidewalk but I'll live. It's really nice to be able to effortlessly clear snow while my neighbors take a few hours to do theirs or half of theirs.

After a quick clearing the snow started to really fall and blizzard rumors were confirmed. Rather than worry about how much I was going to have to do the next day I chose to watch my neighbor instead...

Around midnight we saw lights and a Hyundai warming up in the driveway, surrounded by heavy snow. At the end of the driveway was a pickup sliding back and fourth. It was parked behind the Hyundai earlier. Their mother was visiting for the day and decided it would be a good idea to drive home that night. The real story however was the douche in his pickup. Rear wheel drive and deep snow don't compliment each other. Come to think of it neither does front wheel drive. A moderately intelligent person would have grabbed a shovel and cleared the driveway but this guy decided to just spin his wheels. His wife even came out with a shovel and instructions. Rather than listening he started pointing to where he wanted her to dig. She then threw the shovel into the yard and went back inside.

He was slightly peeved by this because from what I gather it's her job to do the shoveling. He dug a little bit hoping that if he could just get some momentum he would make it all the way up. Nope. He continued to spin his wheels for another half hour or so and even tried to find alternatives to shoveling. None of them worked of course. The mother and wife came out later and there was a brief argument. The wife then got behind the wheel and the mother and douche pushed the truck. She went up the street and was gone. We'd find out later on the next day that the truck was abandoned around the corner. The mother picked up the wife and they hopefully made it to wherever they were headed.

There is nothing better than watching my neighbors be dumb and they never disappoint.