Tag: snow

A Tuesday morning rant about school closures

After that gorgeous 75-degree weather on Friday, last night we had ice and snow and I woke up this morning to 1/8th of an inch of snow. You read that right. One-eight of an inch of snow. If you’re on the metric system, that’s about 2 or 3 millimeters. We got ready for work and got the Z-man ready for school as we always do–and then discovered that the Z-man’s school was opening 2 hours late because of the weather.

Seriously? For 1/8th of an inch of snow? Has the algorithm really become: open one hour late for each 1/16th of an inch of snow we get? Granted, according to Kelly, the reason they gave was that they wanted to make sure the sidewalks were clear and safe, but still: the roads are clear and they couldn’t have someone come in a little early to clear the sidewalks off?

Snow closures around here are pretty crazy. A rumor of snow will close some schools even if a single flake doesn’t fall. I understand the need for keeping the kids safe, but there is not even enough snow to cover the roads; I don’t have to clear off the car for lack of snow. To me this morning’s decision seems less like one of safety and more like one of laziness.

Winter storm

We’ve been lucky so far an avoiding a major snow storm this year–and nothing like last year when we had a total of more than 70 inches of snow. But this evening, the snow started falling hard, and by my last count, I’d shoveled a total of 5 inches of heavy, wet snow in a period of 3 hours. I’ve been trying to stay ahead of the storm, and I’ve been out to shovel twice, clearing he steps in front of the house, and the sidewalk, and brushing the wet snow of our cars. I’m done with that for the night, but I also think hope that the snow is starting to slow and diminish.

More than likely, I’ll be working from home tomorrow and I’m all set up for that. The Little Man has been enjoying this storm. I heard him say “snow” for the first time tonight, and he would run to the window, point and say, “Snow, snow, snow!” (He also said his own name for the first time tonight, instead of saying “Baby”)

I’m obviously not going to the free-writing session the Arlington Writers Group is having tonight. Since the schools are closed, our normal meeting place (in a classroom) was unavailable and so people were meeting at a coffee shop, but it’s not worth going out into this weather. The street in front of our house isn’t even plowed yet and I’ve already seen one car get stuck.

I’ll probably call it another early evening. However, when I turn in tonight, with my August 1939 issue of Astounding, I’ll be turning to a story by a “new writer” by the name of Heinlein. Can’t wait to read that one!

Cabin fever

Each of these two big storms we’ve had started on a Friday.  In a way that was lucky, I thought, because it meant the brunt of it would be over the weekend, and wouldn’t disrupt the workweek too much.  Not so for this latest blizzard.  Despite starting on a Friday, its one-two punch has now closed the Federal government for 4 straight days, including tomorrow.  In fact, these storms have now officially broken the 100-year snow records for the Washington, D.C. area.

Having a snow day is fun as a kid.  It can be fun as an adult, too.  It is even enjoyable with an eight-month-old baby.  As a kid, of course, the more snow-days, the better; kids never think too far ahead and don’t worry that the missed days will get tacked on at the end of the year.  As an adult, both Kelly and I are lucky in that we can work from home.  We live right next to Target and if our supplies run low, we can walk to get more.  But  we are now about to enter our seventh day of  this.  Believe me when I tell you: cabin fever has set in.  We are looking for any excuse to get outside.

After the storm subsided, and I had finished a significant amount of code-writing, I donned my snow gear and headed out into the glorious, cold gray sky.  I was surrounded by mountains of freshly fallen, fluffy-white snow.  Despite my face being stung by wind and snow, it felt really good to be out there.  I dug out our walkway, and dug out my car, before calling it a day.

A short time later, Kelly headed out to dig out her car.  She really needed to get out.  Cabin fever has been tougher on her than it has on me.  And while we have been working, she has done the bulk of caring for Zach.  You can imagine that gets tough.

But we have survived the 100-year storm, and no doubt, there will be winters in the future where we regale our children (and grandchildren) with stories of the storm, exaggerated for suitable effect.

Make no mistake: I am looking forward to spring!

Originally published at Jamie’s Blog. Please leave any comments there.


So far this winter season, I have calculated a total of about 64 inches of snow that has fallen in our area.  Now, even more snow is on its way.  Yesterday, it sounded as if we’d get an inch or two on Tuesday and Wednesday.  Early today it was upgraded to at least five inches.  Then it was 5-10 inches.  Then 8-12 inches.  The latest report has 10-20 inches of snow in our area beginning mid-afternoon tomorrow and continuing through late Wednesday.  10-15 inches is “likely” in our area.  And to top it off, blizzard conditions could be in affect, meaning more power-outages in the area.

So far, no word on weather the Federal Government will be closed, but I imagine there will be an announcement soon.  Most school districts are closed through at least Wednesday and more than likely, they will have to close for the week.  Kelly got out earlier this afternoon and stocked up on more staples to get us through this next storm.  But I don’t know how much more I can physically take.  Since getting our car out from under the tree, my back has been killing me.  And the thought of having to shovel another 10-15 inches of snow is filling me with a nameless dread.

To top things off, my work laptop is dead.  It won’t turn on.  I can do some work from my personal laptop, but my work laptop might as well be a block snow.  And there’s nothing I can do about it until I get back into the office.  And at this rate, who knows when I’ll get back into the office?

Originally published at Jamie’s Blog. Please leave any comments there.

And the tree were all kept equal, by hatchet, axe, and saw

Everyone who helped make it possible.

Thanks to some good friends, good neighbors, a little ingenuity and a lot of elbow grease, Kelly’s car has been safely removed from beneath the fallen tree.

I spent an hour inching it forward until I’d gotten to the point where I had only about 3 more feet to go to get the car free.  But the front right tire was spinning on ice.  I called my buddy Todd, and he and another friend, Chris, along with a neighbor, Kent, came over to help push.  That didn’t work.  We needed traction under the tire but there was nothing to use.  None of us had plywood.  So I got the idea of breaking off tree branches (evergreen leaves) and putting them around the tires.  After a few tries, that worked and the car was freed!  A good thing too since we are now under another winter storm watch and the additional weight of snow on an already strained trunk could very likely bring down the tree.

Our homeowner’s association was doing the best they could.  The problem is that with all of the fallen trees in the metro area, there is about a 2 week backlog on getting tree removers out to cut down the tree.  And I wanted the car out from under it before tomorrow’s snow.  Fortunately, it all worked out in the end.

As for damage: thanks to a layer of snow on Kelly’s car, there were not even any scratches.  The only damage I’ve seen so far is a bent antenna and a bent right wiper blade.  It could have been a lot worse.

Originally published at Jamie’s Blog. Please leave any comments there.

There is unrest in the forest, there is trouble with the trees

Yesterday, after spending the better part of 3 hours digging Kelly’s car out of the snow, a tree fell onto her car.  This happened sometime after I finished the job of digging the car out.  A neighbor said he saw it happen.  As he described it, it happened in slow motion, literally:  the weight of the snow on the tree simply eased it down in the direction of Kelly’s car.  In a way, this was a good thing because there does not appear to be any internal damage.

The trunk of the tree is not split.  In fact, the trunk isn’t touching the car at all, just branches.  I got into the car this morning.  No cracked windows or dents in the ceiling–at least none on the inside.  The tree is at such an angle, however, that it can possible go back up by itself.  So we are now in the process of finding out of the Homeowner’s Association can have it removed, or if we need to go through our insurance company.

Meanwhile, I logged another 3-1/2 hours of straight digging this morning between 8 am and 11:30.  I got my car completely dug out, I got more of Kelly’s car dug out.  And I cleared the walkway up to our stairs much better than I did yesterday.  Lots of people digging out this morning, not all of them pleasant, particularly those who hadn’t moved a single shovel of snow since the first flake fell.  It took me a total of 6.5 hours to dig us out completely (save for the tree, of course) and that was with relatively light snow since I did half the job in real time.  I imagine it will take longer for those people who never got started until this morning.

Here are the pictures to prove it.

I estimate at this point that I moved nearly 3 tons of snow by myself.  I get into some kind of zone when I’m out there.  I don’t feel the cold, don’t feel the weight of the snow on the shovel.  But when I got back into the house today, I could barely lift Zach up.  A very hot shower  and 800 mg of Advil later the pain is better but I can feel the muscles stiffening up.  At least I can still type.

More updates once we find out what is happening with the tree.

Originally published at Jamie’s Blog. Please leave any comments there.

3 hours of shoveling

Blizzard 2010

I was up just after 7 am eager to tackle the additional snow that fell overnight.  I had to make some repairs to the shovel  I screw had come out and a small crack had appeared.  Another screw and lots of duct tape took care of the problem.  Then I layered up and headed out.  The snow on the landing was so high that I had to force open the storm door!

Most of the top and outside-edge snow was heavy because it was pushed into place by the plow.  A dug a narrow channel to the street so that we could at least walk out of our place.  Next I tackled Kelly’s car.  I dug out the entire car.  I’d estimate that I shoveled around 130 cubic feet of snow just digging out her car.  That translates to 2,600 pounds or just over a ton of snow!

Next, I dug out the front of my car–the heaviest, wettest snow.  By the time that was done 3 hours had gone by!  At one point, the plow came by, but the driver was kind and did not block Kelly’s car back in.  In fact, he worked very hard to clear the road and avoid blocking in the car.

You can see what the result looked like (now more than an hour ago) by taking a look at the pictures above (click the image to see the full album).  The snow has intensified here in the last hour and is falling heavily right now.  But at least I got a pick head-start shoveling away old snow.  I did it in such a way that even if the plow covers my spot, it should be only with new snow, and since there is less new snow to come than has already fallen, I think we’re in good shape.

Now I’m going to take half a dozen Advil, crawl onto the couch next to the fireplace, and sleep.

Originally published at Jamie’s Blog. Please leave any comments there.


Another lazy day.  Kelly was up around 7 or 7:30 and I got up a little later and ate some breakfast, but then I went back to bed for a while, still needing to rest and be lazy.  I spent most of the day watching the Lord of the Rings trilogy on DVD and finished up the last movie late in the evening.

Mid-afternoon we headed out to do shopping.  Kelly headed off to Target and I went to the grocery store.  I’d planned out the menus for the week and got what we needed.

For dinner this evening, I made up a pasta dish.  Essentially, it was fettuccine with a "Marsala" sauce.  I prepared mushrooms the same way I prepare them when making chicken Marsala but when the pasta was done cooking, I through it in the pan with the mushrooms and sauce and tossed it.  It came out good.  I also made caesar salads, and instead of garlic bread, I got some pita chips and hummus, spread the hummus on the chips and put a slice of cucumber on top.

I did manage to get a little reading done today.

It started snowing late this afternoon.  I said to Kelly, "Let me see how much snow we’re supposed to get," since I hadn’t heard of any snow (or been paying attention to the weather for the last week).  I went online to look, figuring it would be the usual "less than an inch".  A minute later I said, "You’ve got to be [expletive removed]-ing kidding me!"

"What?" Kelly said.

"Am I reading this right?  It says we’re supposed to get 5-8 inches of snow!"

For some reason, I had trouble sleeping.  I tossed and turned for a while and then got up again and went downstairs to read.  I finally went to bed around midnight.

One inch

We ended up with about an inch of snow. Most of it had melted by the time I woke up this morning, but I could tell there was an inch by how much snow was on my car. Of course, tree branches are covered in snow and so everything looks unusually bright. Furthermore, it’s odd to see snow when there are leaves on trees and since the trees have begun to bloom, it makes for a kind of surreal setting.

This just in: snow!

Yes, a rare April snow storm for the metropolitan Washington area. And I don’t mean flurries. Current reports suggest 1-2 inches of accumulation overnight! Plows, which had been put away for the season have to be hauled back out. Prince Georges’ County is reporting that the surprise April snow will cost them $200,000. For some reason, the thought of this amuses me.

It was 80 on Monday and I’m hoping that the roads are warm enough to melt most of the accumulation. I guess I’ll find out in the morning.