Thursday, February 17, 2011

Snomagedden 2011

Earlier this month, on February 2nd, we were blasted by quite the winter storm. All told, we were just shy of two feet of snow in twenty-four hours. It was amazing. So amazing it's being called "Snomagedden" since the city went into emergency mode and virtually shut down. It was deserted and a bit creepy, but beautiful and serene all at once.

Being the snow-loving people that we are, we went to our neighbor's house for a blizzard party the night it started. We took the kids, cosied up to the fire with good food and drinks, and hunkered down with a great third-floor view of the world outside. We spent hours watching traffic fishtail down the main street near our house. We watched as emergency vehicles crawled past on their way to a rescue. We listened to thundersnow for the first time in our lives. And we cheered on dozens of people pushing stuck cars out of their snowy entrapments.

Ada loved being allowed to stay up late and celebrated the blizzard by running up and down the hallway around eleven at night. The neighbors in the unit below our friends didn't really appreciate her method of celebration and came up to complain that we were being too loud. I immediately blamed Ada, but they didn't really care that it was just a tiny little three-year-old having a little fun. She spent the last hour of the party tip-toeing back and forth down the hallway to compensate for her previous thunderous footsteps. It was adorable.

At midnight, we decided to call off the fun and get our kids home to their own beds. We bundled up to walk down three flights of back porch stairs, through snow drifts up to our knees, and up a flight of stairs to our home. Iain wasn't excited about having a blanket tossed over his head but it was that or cold, wet, whipping snow in his face. I thought the blanket was the better option by far. Our friends had to shovel the snow mounds from the stairs just so we could get home. Thankfully we lived that close.

After a warm evening all nestled snug in our beds, we awoke to a snow covered calm on the streets. The street in front of our house was completely impassable with four foot snow drifts stretching the entire block.  The sidewalk in front of our condo appeared as if it had been shoveled, but was really just blown clear by the intense winds. I went out to explore a bit before the kids woke up and enjoyed the peacefulness of it all. A quick check of the weather report explained that we still had another big wave of snow heading our way so it was best to stay home. Within just a few hours, we were blanketed with another five or six inches. At that point, I took Ada out just to see how she would react.

Eh, she's not such a big fan of snow whipping up into her face and she didn't really like walking through snow up to her knees. She wanted to hold my hand the whole time so she didn't slip and fall. When I was a kid, all I wanted to do was slip and fall into the snow. That's what made it fun.
Somehow, I coaxed her into the middle of the street to show the drifts. She wasn't very excited about that plan either and quickly insisted we go back inside. So much for our snowbunny adventure.

After seeing these drifts, it was clear to me that we would not be getting our car out of its parking space on the street for a few days.  It was in the back corner of a dead end side street that was surely on the bottom of the snowplower's list. With a thousand cars stuck on Lake Shore Drive overnight, the plows had other priorities and us going anywhere in our car wasn't one of them.

The brunt of the storm came between Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. Rick had to get the car out for a Friday morning meeting in the suburbs so he dug it out Thursday night and deemed the street passable. Unfortunately, the maintenance crew for the parking lot at the end of the dead end street we were parked on decided to shovel their snow onto our car sometime during the night. Rick again had to shovel out the car at six in the morning while dressed for a client meeting. And his fun didn't stop there. Once home Friday night, he had to shovel a new spot for the car to be parked in since there weren't any shoveled spots on the street and most cars had yet to be moved. After forty-five minutes of shoveling, he finally had a parking spot fit for a king. It was beautiful. That's what happens when you have a perfectionist digging out the spot. You can imagine, after shoveling parking spaces three times in twenty-four hours, Rick wasn't about to move that car for anything. And he surely wasn't going to let me move it the next day (I took a cab). From now on, if a blizzard is predicted in the city, we will hide our car in a covered parking structure with an entrance on a main city artery so we can get to it if we need to.

Moral of the story: Snowstorms are a time for being patient, helping others, and having fun. Be prepared to stay put for a few days and stay safe. 

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