Monday, December 22, 2008

The truth about snow

I come up with lots of good ideas for blog posts while I'm driving. If I could invent a device that would capture my thoughts as I have them I'd be a gajillionaire. I'd have so much money that I wouldn't have to work...or blog, I guess...anymore. *sigh*

So I was thinking to myself as I drove through the snowy streets on Friday night that what I take for granted as being a "given" with regard to snow may be completely unknown by some of my bloggie friends to the south. Even if you live in a place that gets snow, well, its a completely different ball game in places like Wisconsin or Minnesota that get FEET of snow at any given time.

This was the view of my car out the back door Friday morning, around 10 am:

snowy car

One of the biggest problems when you get a crapload of snow like we just did ("crapload" being defined as a single snowfall equalling 10 or more inches - its a scientific measurement - didn't you know?) is that once its all fallen, you have to clean it up.

Well, duh, you say. But think about it. Let's say you have a driveway that's 10' wide by 80' long. (That'd be one narrow driveway, but go with me here.) You'd have 800 square feet of driveway. If you get a foot of snow, that means you have 800 cubic feet of snow to scoop up and move...someplace else.

That's enough snow to nearly fill an entire room in my house. (And by fill I mean to the ceiling.)

Once your driveway is cleared, that snow then makes banks, along the driveway and street, so high that you cannot safely see traffic to actually leave your driveway.

Oh, and don't forget the plow! Oh yeah...when the lovely city finally gets around to clearing the side streets, they'll take all the snow in the street and push it back up into the driveway that was just cleared.*

So if you do head out into the street that you can't see, you best be in four wheel drive or be going as fast as humanly possible, or you just might get stuck in that pile of snow between the banks at the end of your driveway. (I'd laugh, but it happened to me back when I owned my Saturn. The banks were so high that year that I actually couldn't physically open the door to get out. I had to push on the passenger side door with my feet for quite awhile before making an opening large enough to squeeze through! I'll never not own a four-wheel drive vehicle ever again.)

Then, let's say you head to the mall. Not only are the parking lots packed with morons people just like you doing their last-minute Christmas shopping, but that lot is much smaller than it usually is and some isles a large, 20' high pile of snow**, forcing you to turn around in incredibly narrow parking lanes. Finally, after nearly 30 minutes of driving in the endless "parade" of morons cars circling the lot, you might just be lucky enough to make your own spot if you have four wheel drive.

I kick myself for not having a camera with me, but I foresee a post in the near future with photographic evidence of "creative parking". People who drive PT Cruisers pulled half-way up the side of snowbanks and Mini Coopers buried past the bumper. Obviously they won't be moving until spring. I, on the other hand, drove half out into boonie land and just stopped - the parking lot at the mall I went to butts up against the lot of a hotel and neither plow the section in the middle. I walked half a mile to the mall, but I swear I saw a familiar car still circling as I left a few hours later.

So, yes, its pretty. It makes things look peaceful, even. And yeah, we'll have a white Christmas. But trust me - it ain't all its cracked up to be!

*Not on purpose. They plow from one end of the street to the other, but snow gets left behind as it gets pushed.
**They bring in front-end loaders to pile the stuff at the corners of the parking lot. Every year, there's news footage when the last pile of the city melts, sometime in May or June. No lie.


Haasiegirl said...

Thanks for rereminding me why i dont miss Ohio at ALL. Like I needed a reminder.

And i live in boonie land too. I think there are lots of towns w/ those.


Anonymous said...

Scarily, this is what Portland, Oregon looks like right now. I am DONE with snow and we've only had eight days of it. However, 8 days broke a 40-year record.

Sassy Mama Bear said...

Imagine you getting snow, it was so fun diggin' out wasn't it? NOT!
Suppose to be more this week they are saying. At least we will have a white Christmas in WI.

Roger said...

I don't know if our friends in the south can truly appreciate the amount of snow we sometimes get - you worse than me, but I have a ten foot tall tree that generally gets buried every year - I am amazed that it survives.

On a different note, do you have a crazy neighbor with a bobcat? I should video tape this guy sometime, it's hilarious only because he hasn't destroyed any of my property (with the exception of my parkway grass). He has taken out water lines, garages and yes, cars! Every time we hear that bobcat start up, we pray that nothing or no one gets hurt.

I love winter!!

Momo Fali said...

I HATE winter! Thank you for sharing this so that all those people who live in sunny So. Cal. or in Florida will stop saying that they wish they had four seasons!

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

City sidewalks are very scary places when there is so much snow blocking visibility! I recall backing out of a friend's drive last March--it had thawed and children were on the sidewalks w/ bikes & scooters, but the snowbanks were so high I couldn't see anything until I was on top of them. Yikes! In that case, country driving trumps city driving!

morninglight mama said...

Wowee. My hubby (who grew up in NY) and I (who grew up in CT) were talking the other day about how pitiful that it was that seemingly everywhere else in the country people were getting blessed with snow, yet us MD folks were simply drenched in rain. I miss having SOME snow, but I simply don't think I could hack it out there where you are!

Kim said...

I will take my tiny three inches of snow and call it a day.. that is WAYYYYY to much snow for me..


Colleen said...

you forgot to mention the crazy kids that are usually sledding down those massive snow hills in the store parking lots, adding to the fun and mayham... not that I would know anything about that. ;)

Melissa said...

Um, yeah, I've got no idea what your talking about. I'm wearing shorts and a tank top right now. Come on down to sunny Fl and visit me!!

Amydeanne said...

looks like my place.. though i hear everyone's got snow in Canada (not just where I am, but across the board).. though it's -36C right now and -54 with the windsheild! so I know all about the snow and cold!

Hope you got your car out! or get it out at some point! lol. i'm glad for the farm and the big plow my father in law has.. gets our road clean before everyone elses! lol

Merry Christmas

J Money said...

Hey, Just think how bad it would be if your WooBIE didn't clean it up for you!

LceeL said...

You tell 'em, sister. You guys in Milwaukee-in-a-hay get even more snow than we do in Chicago.

Anonymous said...

I know I keep fawning over pictures of snow, I love it and love taking the dogs out in it - but that's only because we only get a couple of inches - if we got what you got they'd disappear!!

But it does look pretty.

Zoeyjane said...

We've gotten, maybe a foot? Vancouver isn't typically snowy - it's usually rainy sleet that disappears after a day or two, at most. So, today, I got the pleasure of trying to push a stroller through trampled, snowy sidewalk paths. Finally, I just made Isobel walk, even though she kept getting stuck in banks up to her crotch. On second thought, I really love the snow.

Mama Smurf said...

Me and the kids got a good chuckle at someone else's expense yesterday...they had their car parked in the street and the plows completely plowed him in. snow packed all the way around the car up to the tops of the windows.


Unless the car is dead and he couldn't move which case, I'm just a b*tch for calling him a dummy.

I feel your pain.

Kim H. said...

I laugh because growing up in Chicago, I totally know where you're coming from. Life goes on. People still venture out. Snow sits piled up until Spring. That's just how it is.

In Columbus, they FREAK out. It's annoying. People can't drive in it - hell, they can't even drive in the rain. I lose my mind when I try to drive even in flurries.

At any rate, I continue to say it. I'm jealous. I want some snow. Instead, I have a yard that's sort of white with some white crusted over snow/ice stuff. Now it's cold here, but that's not very exciting.

Hugs girlfriend!

Kim H. said...

Oh, another funny story - two of my brother's have been in a snow 'war' of sorts. After one of the snows last week my brother Dave buried my brother Joe's car door. Then Joe covered Dave's whole car. Then Dave bulldozed (not kidding) snow all up to Joe's garage door.

Then Dave's wife stepped in - and said "Dave if you guys don't knock this off, we won't be able to get out of our house cause your brother will baracade us in to our house!"

Boys will be boys...even when they're big!

overtly trite said...

I do not miss this kind of snow thanks for reminding me not to complain so much about the rain in TN this past month :)
Merry Christmas!!!

Melanie said...

Unfortunately I'm very familiar with that kind of snow. Ugh!!

Hope you're having a Merry Christmas!

Anonymous said...

Oh yeah...I can relate to this big time. My neck of the woods has been dumped on to the effect of a little over 2 feet. The snowbanks the city plowers are creating are up to my waist. Domestic flights in and out of Vancouver were completely canceled for a day and it's caused absolute chaos. Christmas Eve was even canceled and postponed until tonight.

Ima tell ya...I will NEVER wish for a white Christmas ever. again.

And as I write this? Its snowing. Again. UGH!