The Revealing Spring

It’s starting to maybe look like spring could finally make an appearance up here in southwestern Ontario. We have had a few days of above zero weather and that always leads to one of my favorite things about spring: random items slowly revealed in snowbanks. The other night was my first object seem this year. Someone was unfortunate enough to lose their nice running shoe this winter.

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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.

A Second Snow Day: Beating Cabin Fever

I awoke this morning to much of the same weather as the night before.  The snow was coming down like a white blanket outside my window, the lane way looked like we hadn’t used the snow blower at all the night before and there were people up and down the road in all directions shoveling like their lives depended on it.

I dutifully checked the local college website and informed the boyfriend that his classes were canceled for the day and he could stay in bed.  He mumbled a rather unintelligible yet distinctly celebratory noise, rolled over and went back to sleep.  I then checked my work email, hoping for good news and that I could go back to bed as well.  Unfortunately, there was only an email saying that the office was open and if we felt it was safe enough, we were to head on in.

Wanting to keep everyone informed, I sent a quick note saying the college was closed in case anyone had kids that were attending and went to have a shower and work up the courage to dig myself out of the lane way.  I got dressed, I put my hair up a la ponytail style (that’s right, I’m all about cutting edge fashion) and I said goodbye to the boyfriend.  I then decided to check my email one more time and lo and behold…SNOW DAY!!

It was official, I didn’t have to go to work.  I decided not to go back to bed as I had already showered and was wide awake, so instead, I sat and watched about five episodes of Intervention and did some work from my laptop.  Yes, I’m just that exciting…working from home on a snow day.  However, I also cleaned the house which was the inspiration for the boyfriend’s motivation to put the tree up this afternoon/evening.

So that is what we did to keep ourselves from going insane because we couldn’t leave the house.  We dragged the giant box of Christmas decorations up from the basement, organized everything, got rid of a few things that were ready to go away, and we set to work decorating.

The mishmash of decorations in the lovely storage box that lives in the basement 11 months of the year

The pile of stuff the started accumulating after we went sorting through the storage bin

The boyfriend sorted all the decorations into various categories such as indoor lights (for the tree) outdoor lights (which we are estimating are over 20 years old), run of the mill decorations (shiny, coloured balls, garland, etc..) and sentimental ornaments to name a few.

While he was doing this, I used non-tree decorations and made other areas of the two living rooms look a little spiffier.  I used green and silver garland for the upright lamp posts in either room and they turned out looking rather nice.  I then set to work on jazzing up the lovely new entertainment stand.  I put green, leafy garland on it and we set most of our figurines on the shelves.  I have since noticed that we have a great deal of penguin paraphenalia.  When the boyfriend and I got together, little did the two of us realize that we both really liked penguins and between the two of us, we have a lot of them.

It looks a little cluttered, but I couldn't bare not to put them all out

When I was finished doing that (while at the same time torturing the boyfriend by making him listen to the Glee Christmas album), we started in on testing the strands of lights.  This proved to be difficult because some of them were mine from when I lived on my own and some of them were the boyfriend’s which had been collected over approximately the last 10-15 years.  So in testing them we found that some of the lights didn’t work but the others would come on.  We would simply replace the defective lights and move to the next one.  Some, however, were the ones that if one light didn’t work, the whole strand didn’t work.  After much frustration and swearing on the boyfriend’s part, we decided that we could make due with two working strands of lights as they were kind of long and if we were sparing, we could manage to get the whole tree done with them.  I don’t think we did too bad of a job considering he’d moved on to testing the outdoor lights (and diligently making sure they all worked and no two like colours were side by side) while I tried to string the lights on the tree.

This was problematic for several reasons.  The small amount of light strands, as mentioned above, the fact that I’m just not very good at stringing lights, and lastly, the fact that we have a rather fat Christmas tree and I have rather short little arms that will not reach around this.  The tree itself is in a corner and I could not just walk around it, so I had to get creative and reach behind the tree, throw the lights over the tree and generally stretch my wee little arms to the limit.  This was the end result (only of stringing the lights, this is pre-decoration):

Its kind of sparse in some areas, but overall, not to bad.

During all this rigamaroll, Mr. Peep decided to hide in his usual cautious place; the mat in front of the kitchen sink.  I’ll admit that it’s not the best hiding place, but he actually usually blends in quite well and he likes to sit there when there’s something going on that he’s curious about, but too afraid to get close to while it’s still happening.

He sits on the very furthest side of it and stares into the living room whenver we're moving things around

After this came the final stage of decorating (for now…outside stuff will come later when we can move through the yard).  We put the ornaments on the tree.  I would like to point out that none of our ornaments have any kind of theme or reason to them, they’re just a collection of things we’ve accumulated over the years.  Sometimes we will decide that a few are too ragged and they will get tossed.  This year we parted with a whole bag of strung beads and various other things for donation.  We each have our various sentimental ornaments that were gifts over the year that must go on the tree.

I always tease back and forth with my friend about how her tree must be perfect and matching have a theme and she always just stares in awe at the tacky mismatch and disarray of mine every year.  The year we lived together in an apartment was the best because I was the one that owned the tree and it was spectacularly tacky that year on purpose just for her.  You can see her well decorated and nicely themed tree on her blog here.  I will admit its very lovely, just not my style.  Even the boyfriend looks at our tree now and then and shakes his head.  After it was finished and we had all the supplies put away, Mr. Peep ventured out to check out the scene, immediately placing himself under the Christmas tree and chewing on the branches.

Our Christmas tree 2010

He has already knocked off one decoration...I expect to find more

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