The Worst Things to Do In a Snowstorm

Given that it is snowing again here in our lovely city and there is already talk of snow days tomorrow, I have decided to be as helpful as possible to certain people who will be out and about tomorrow and let them know what they should NOT be doing during this beautiful yet somewhat treacherous weather.

For all of those who will be driving tomorrow and first must relieve their vehicles of accumulated snow…finish the job.  I empathize with the feeling of laziness in the morning, I really do.  I do everything I can the night before to make sure I can sleep in as long as possible.  I shower the night before, I take portable food with me instead of making breakfast, and I generally just throw my very long hair back into a pony tail and forget about it but when it comes to clearing off my car, I will make the time.  When there is almost a foot of snow on top of a car, that needs to go.  Driving around with that kind of snow on top of your car is dangerous and stupid and when I see people who have only cleared the snow from their front and rear windshield and left it piled on the hood, roof, and trunk of their car, I always wish for the power to incapacitate their vehicles somehow and force them to pull over (safely of course) to the side of the road.  I hate being buffeted with gusts of snow from vehicles who’s owners were too lazy to clear it off and I always find it frustrating and unsafe to be in that situation.  So bite the bullet and clean off your damn car.

The amount of snow on my car during the recent snow storm - yes, I cleaned it ALL off

People who drive too slow really irritate me as well.  Guess what?  A half a foot of snow isn’t that bad.  You are more of a traffic risk going 30 Km in that than you would be if you were just driving at a normal speed in a cautious manner.  Grow a pair and realize that you have driven in snow before and, should you choose to remain living here, you will drive in it again next year.

People who drive too fast, in contrast, are insane.  There comes a point in the weather up here when you DO slow down and if you don’t, no matter what kind of tires or number or wheels that drive your car, you are an asshole.  Where other people are being cautious and courteous drivers, you’re risking us all because you have to get where you’re going ASAP.  As a Canadian, your impolite driving upsets me.  People here understand that there is snow and you might be a little late.  It happens, deal with it.  If need be, sacrifice a half an hour of sleep and get up a little earlier.  You’ll save yourself an accident or two.

But none of the three that precede this last one are even comparable.  What is the final on my list of annoying people in winter storms is the worst and most horrid offender of all.  Pedestrians who walk on the road.

What on earth is wrong with you?  Do you have any idea what kind of danger you’re in while you’re tromping along in the snow?  I’m sorry, but get the hell off the effing road.  I know that the sidewalks are usually the last things to be plowed and trudging along on them when the snow is up to your knees is annoying and cold; trust me, I’ve been there.  However, that’s where you are supposed to be.  Realize you live in a cold winter climate and buy some snowpants and appropriate footwear.  Wading through the snow is better than being hit by a car.  If it is snowing really badly, we can’t see you.  If the road is slippery, we can’t stop fast.  A fender bender isn’t so bad.  I can deal with a dent in my car.  You are not a car, you are a fragile human being and you’re going to get your dumb ass killed.

I know why you’re on the road.  At least, some of you.  I see the stupid Uggs you’re wearing and I would just like to say…GTFO.  Leave Canada with your stupid, inappropriate boots and don’t come back.  If you live somewhere with snow fall more than a couple of centimetres at a time, buy some damn boots that are insultated and have traction.  It’s a safety issue.  Uggs have no grip, no ankle support, and no warmth in the cold, wet snow.  Buy some snowmobile boots and stop being such a diva.  Uggs are fine in the fall and the spring or for wearing around inside.  Canada in the winter is not a fashion show…it’s wet and dangerous and you should have better boots.  Stop it!

Good advice for winter pedestrians

So, with the freezing rain falling down outside my window and the prospect of having to drive to work in the morning, please heed my advice and follow it appropriately and we’ll all get where we’re going on time and alive.

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An Epic Journey Through a Frozen Wasteland (or My Trip Home From Work Today)

As some of you may know, we get a lot of snow where I’m from.  Southwestern Ontario gets dumped on pretty bad in the winter and we’re pretty much used to it.  I remember tonnes of snow days back when I was a kid, but I lived in town, so I’d get to go to school and play in the gym and watch movies all day because the country kids couldn’t make it in on the buses.

As I got older, snow days got further and further apart until, eventually, they really stopped occurring altogether.  No matter how many feet of snow there was outside in the morning, I always just got up, got dressed, dug myself out and headed into work; usually at a whopping 25-35 kilometers an hour down the city streets.  Today was no exception.  I got up, plowed my way through the foot or so of snow on my little side road until I got out the main road and headed on into work.  I was one of the few that bothered.  A great deal of people, mostly out of towners and some that were in town, didn’t make it in at all.  I was there until 11:00 am when the email went around that we were officially to be sent home.

SNOW DAY!!  It was like a nostalgic feeling, throwing me back to the days of being a kid when there was nothing to do but whatever I wanted because I didn’t have to go to school (in this case, work).

When you’re a child, however, you don’t take certain factors into account.  For example, when you’re a kid living in a very small town, bad driving conditions don’t even enter into the thought process.  You’re already outside wallowing in the joy of the snow.  Today, I learned, this is not the case for an adult, which I have sadly become.  Driving conditions are very much an important factor to those of us who drive a car or rely on public transportation to get us places in weather conditions such as this.  I will say I’m impressed with my little car’s ability to get through the snow.  It’s pretty impressive considering there’s not much to my wee hatchback.

So, upon hearing the news that we were set free, I offered to drive a coworker home as far as my place so she could walk (I wasn’t crazy enough to go gallavanting all over hell’s half acre) and we set to work cleaning off my car as it already had about a half a foot of snow on it since 8:45 that morning when I arrived at work.  When that mission was accomplished, we headed out onto the roads at the designated 25-35 km/hour.  This was effective all the way until I turned onto the side road that leads to my house.  Immediately, I was stuck.  We tried pushing, we tried rocking (I definitely tried a lot of swearing) but to no avail.  Us two tiny little people were not big enough to get my car out of it’s predicament.  However, a nice young man was trudging through the snow at that moment and he offered to help us out.  Thanks to him and my coworker doing the pushing and me nudging the gas pedal gently, we got Bob the Car unstuck.  I thanked him profusely (and choose this moment to do so again…thank you, Sir) and my coworker headed off home.

I then got as far as the very end of my own laneway and was once more stuck in the freezing mire of snow.  This wouldn’t have been a problem but I knew that I was blocking the side walk and I was probably going to be buried by a plow at any given time.  So I got out of my car, trudged inside and got the boyfriend who had not bothered to brave the weather and go to school.  We dressed in out warm coats, mittens, and boots and we got out the trusty old (and I do mean old, like…thirty years old) snow shovel and pathetic little bag of road salt and we literally dug Bob the Car out of the snow.  At some points, I was on my hands and knees scooping snow out from under the car because it was packed under there so tight.  I should send a revised list to Santa and add on a new, plastic, ergonomic snow shovel and save my back the pain.  Eventually, we were able to get the car into the driveway and now it sits there, slowly being buried under a barrage of snow squall that isn’t supposed to end until Wednesday (it is now Monday).

I came inside, cracked a beer and sat my butt down on the chair to watch some Netflix and that is where I now sit.  Occasionally I get up to check the height of the snow and I did managed to snap a few pictures of it as well.

Notice the fence and the snow that is halfway up it...that means it's up to about my thighs

My somewhat redneck type neighbours put a mattress and box spring out on the curb a couple of weeks ago and they’re still there, leaning up against either side of the light pole.  They are now half buried in the snow and I’m doubting will end up picked up by the garbage collection again this week.

You can just see them, leaning up on either side of the light post

There were people up and down the street digging themselves out of the mess.  The boyfriend and I have decided to wait until the snow is more likely to be over and then give it a shot, as the snowplow is going to go right by and bury the laneway again anyway.  We have a snowblower, I just don’t know now to start the damn thing.  We will be getting to that later when we feel motivated enough.

My poor neighbour is up to his waist in snow

Some kids down the street were enjoying themselves, however.  They were digging in the massive piles of snow at the side of the road and throwing snowballs at each other.  This took me back as well.  I used to do this with my sister and all the neighbour kids and it was great.

Fun in the snow...definitely more than the adults on the street

These last two pictures were my favourites that I managed to capture.  The first is of a view down the row of houses I live in.  You can see the snow coming down really well and you can also see the various places in which it has accumulated.  The second photograph is just of the top of our fence and the tree behind it with all the snow sitting on top.  When it stops actually coming down, I’ll be heading back outside to get more detailed pictures, but I don’t want to get my new camera wet, so it will have to wait until at least tomorrow.

I really love this picture, it's just so pretty.

The only time trees look pretty in the winter is when there's snow on them

Small Town Halloween

I have very fond memories of Trick or Treating in the little town I grew up in.  It was small (less than 1000 people when I was a kid) and for a really small child, it was great because you felt safe and it was fun and when you got to be older, it was awesome because you could hit almost every house in town and end up with two pillow cases full of candy by the end of the night.  It was great to show up at everyone’s door, have a small chat about this and that, and then head to the next house.  The parents who take their kids out go in groups and chat, dress up and have a great time while monitoring their youngsters.  Everyone is polite and compliment the kids’ costumes and I always felt overall that it was a great place to celebrate Halloween as a child.

When I moved to the city, I tried to become one of those awesome people handing out candy that made my childhood so great.  It never seemed to work out as well.  I have noticed a few things about Halloween in the city (and remember, I did not grow up here at all, and am probably biased).  For one thing, there are WAY less kids trick or treating in the city.  I think the most I have ever had come to the door was about fifteen and I was always left sad at the end of the night because no one came to my house for candy.  I asked around and this is a common occurrence.  At my mother’s house back home, she had 250 + kids come to the door last year.  This is a significant difference.

I also find that the kids are less polite here.  I don’t know why, some of them seem really great and their parents are nice but some of them come to the door in half ass costumes and don’t even say thank you.  After the first time this happened, I adopted a personal rule: If I can make the effort to dress up to hand out the candy, people aren’t getting said candy unless they’re nice and they made a decent effort in dressing up.  Show up at my house dressed as a “rapper” or a “hipster” (basically wearing street clothes) and you get no candy.  These are the rules.

Anyway, on we go to the point of this post (I know, it took a LONG damn time to get here, sorry about that, folks). I was hanging out with some

An awesome little costume, before we covered it up with a winter coat.

friends at work on break when one of them mentioned that her daughter was six years old and had never had a decent Halloween experience because trick or treating in the city kind of sucked.  Everything was far apart, you didn’t get much candy and it just didn’t feel very much like Halloween.  DING!!!  Lightbulb over the head kind of moment.  I immediately spoke up and volunteered to take her and her daughter (and another friend and her daughter, who unfortunately got sick and couldn’t come) back to my hometown and let them trick or treat there.  So Sunday rolled around and I got dressed up as a witch of sorts, all excited and eager to go home again for Halloween and I picked them up, driving the forty or so minutes to my home town.  Her little girl was dressed as Belle from Beauty and the Beast and she looked freaking adorable.

We arrived at my parents’ house and were pleased to find special made candy bags for her little girl and the other one who fell ill (thanks Mom, you rock) and a bowl of assorted candy on the table that said, “Help yourselves”…which we did.  We headed out into the town and I was thrilled to find that her daughter was immediately commenting on how much fun it was and that she was having a great time.  I was having a blast.  It was like flashback central.  I chatted with parents who had their kids out, got candy from my relatives’ houses and admired all the decorations and effort that some people put into making the night that much better for everyone.

Some people had entire scenes built in their front yards complete with fog, lasers, spooky music (or in the case of one house, endless remixes of Michael Jackson’s Thriller), and tonnes of different decorations.

This house had everything: lasers, fog, awesome decorations and endless remixes of Thriller

My awesome cousin, who got into the spirit and painted herself totally green with Acrylic paint.

I loved the atmosphere of everything, but it was definitely freaking cold.  I was silly and didn’t have any mittens or a coat or anything.  Darn the fact that my mother wasn’t home when we left so she could tell me I was being stupid and give me a pair of mittens and a sweater at least.  You’ll notice to the right that my cousin was smarter than me and had a coat and mittens on and still looked awesome.  This is required for Halloween in Canada.  Costumes designed to fit over snowsuits are a way of life up here.  I had forgotten that little tidbit in the 13 or so years since I had gone trick or treating for myself.

I will say that I had a great time and I loved seeing my friends daughter have such a good time and

Perfect, no sugar, no cream...just epic coffee goodness as it was intended to be. I was so warm after that and we were able to trick or treat for another forty minutes.

ask if we could return for trick or treating next year.  However, I must mention the best part of my night.  Actually, there were two.  We stopped at one older woman’s house and she was absolutely sweet as sugar and she gave “Belle” her candy and then looked at me and said, “Aren’t you going to come get your candy too?”  She thought I was a kid!!!  It made my night, I felt way younger than my 27 years of age.  I thanked her and told her that it was alright and I was old enough to buy my own.  The second favourite thing for me that night was stopping at the local volunteer fire department where my father is the chief.  They were handing out candy to the kids and I got my favourite treat of the night: coffee.  Yes, that’s right…I trick or treated for coffee and it was wonderful.

Life’s Little Brain Farts

We all know what a brain fart is; it’s one of those stupid little moments we have when we’re not paying quite enough attention to what we’re doing and as a result, something gets screwed up.  The result of a brain fart can be small and barely noticeable, something funny to laugh at later and wonder how you could have done such a thing or it can drive you crazy when you discover your error and it’s resulting disaster on your daily life.  I don’t know if it’s the time of the year and all the allergy medication I’ve been having to take lately, the fact that I’ve been forgoing sleeping a full eight hours in order to try and beat Batman: Arkham Asylum, or just some cosmic alignment that I’m not aware of, but my brain has been cutting in and out all over the place lately and I’ve been noticing a rising count in these little annoying errors and it’s starting to drive me a little round the bend.

First up, today whilst in the shower, enjoying the nice hot water and washing my hair, not only did I finally notice that I had purchased two bottles of shampoo the other day instead of shampoo and conditioner, I did not realize it until I had washed my hair, rinsed it out and then grabbed what I thought was the conditioner and applied it to my hair.  So in essence, I washed my hair twice and started rinsing before I realized that my hair was not conditioned in any way, but merely double washed.  When you have hair like mine, not being able to condition it is a disaster of epic proportions.  Luckily, I had about a quarter of a bottle left of the old stuff to get me through and my hair has not risen a foot off my head in crazy frizz, likely to attack the first person it sees.

The other day, the boyfriend requested I make some coffee, since I was downstairs at the time and he was on the upper

What the coffee should have looked like that day

floor.  Since I was feeling the need for a little caffeine myself, I agreed and was suddenly looking quite forward to a steaming cup of Maxwell House.  And so, I poured the water into the coffee maker, I got the little filter all prepared and popped it in and then I turned it on, going back into the living room to continue watching whatever was on the television.  About a half an hour later, the boyfriend wandered down and inquired about the coffee, causing me to suddenly realize that I couldn’t smell that delicious aroma that always drifts through the house, reminding me that it was ready.  And so, we went to the kitchen to investigate.  Did I forget to plug the machine in? No.  Did I forget to flip the little “on” switch?  Not at all.  However, I did manage to forget to actually put the three scoops of coffee into the little filter thing and ended up running water through the system to sit nicely heated on the little burner.  So the boyfriend made the coffee.

Last winter, when I parked my car on the road and walked to work, I somehow unknowingly

My little silver baby. Old but great for getting me where I need to go. (unless of course I've killed the battery)

managed to turn the overhead light on over the passenger seat.  I worked my day away, managing files and whatnot, keeping the overlords of the office happy and then at five, I cheerily made my way back to my little silver Kia Rio.  I situated myself in the driver’s seat and put the key in the ignition, turning it and heading off home.  Or so I thought.  Absolutely no response from my little baby.  That one little light that I had turned on when accidentally pushing that button in the morning had left my battery completely dead.  Fortunately, I had roadside assistance.  Unfortunately, it took an hour to get there, it was more than ten below and I had to pee.  We can all imagine what fun it was for me to sit there in that situation until the nice man finally got there and jump started my car.  I didn’t regain feeling in my feet until a few hours later.  Always make sure the lights are off in your car…ALWAYS!!

What kind of brain slips have you been having lately?  Wear two different socks to work?  Put a shirt on that had a stain you didn’t know about until halfway through the day?  A little salt in your coffee instead of sugar?  How many times a day does your brain go on a ten second vacation that leaves you frustrated, annoyed and defenseless later on that day?  I can’t be the only one.