FishDreamer scribbles, one page at a time

Tuesday, 6 January 2004

A Blanket of White

We are having Winter Storm '04 here in the Pacific Northwest. It has snowed on and off since the day after Christmas, but today it snowed.

We were expecting it. The news has been about nothing else, and I brought home my laptop yesterday just in case. Last night, I set the alarm for the latest possible time to get up in time for the last bus. We were both hoping it would really snow and we wouldn't have to go in. At 7:30 this morning, we had maybe an inch, if that. It was a very pretty dusting, but it wasn't going to stop the bus from coming. I called the number to see if there was a work closure, but no such luck.

However, I was so very tired from having had less than ten hours of sleep total in the last two nights, so I got Mr D to agree we'd sleep in and just take the other bus later (which requires a transfer and can take an hour instead of twenty minutes). I reset the alarm for 9 and went back to sleep.

When I got awoken by the insistent beep of the clock, I stumbled to the bathroom for that urgent first pee of the day. On the way back to the bedroom, I glanced out the window in the guest room. "Holy shit!" I exclaimed, loud enough to wake up the still-slumbering Mr D.

It was snowing. Really seriously snowing, heavily, with no wind. We had at least three inches out there by then, and it didn't stop until we had nearly half a foot. (I do, after all, live somewhat in the foothills of the Cascades.)

So we were definitely not going in; no buses would come and I was certainly not taking my little Japanese sedan out in that. Not even with chains. Way too many people here have SUVs and think that negates any need to alter your driving in adverse conditions. In other words, the fuckers speed along merrily and cause no end of havoc for everyone else.

Aside: My objection to SUVs comes mainly from two sources. First, anyone driving one suddenly owns the road. I've seen this in my friends and loved ones. The instant casual disregard for anyone else is unbelievable coming from people I know to be kind and friendly and caring. Not everyone is like this, but enough of them are. Second, SUVs consume way more fuel than your standard passenger car, plus when they do hit someone else the other person is much more likely to be killed or maimed, far beyond what would happen if both drivers were in passenger cars. Add the greater damage to others (including environmental) to the asshole mentality and it should be pretty clear. Again, not everyone is like this, but it's pretty common around here. (End aside.)

Okay, so I have my laptop and ability to log in to work and be just as productive from home, but Mr D doesn't. He also doesn't get free days for something like this. We're trying to save up enough time to go visit my parents in a few months. And then, as the final straw, the server went down at work and he started getting calls. So around 1 p.m., he went in. He has a heavy steel German car, designed for driving in these conditions. He grew up in Iowa, which frequently has these conditions. He knew what to do, and he did it.

On the way into town, at a prim 25 to 30 miles an hour on the unplowed freeway, he passed twenty accidents. On the way home, similar speed strictly maintained, he passed fifteen accidents. The number of these 35 accidents that did NOT involve an SUV? Three. More than ninety per cent of the accidents on the highway between our house and work involved SUVs. Can I rest my case now?

I do understand there are reasons for having four-wheel-drive. I got my driver's licens in Alaska, and I honed my driving skills in Maine. I even understand the need to haul around a whole mess of crap. But I do not understand the suburban SUV driver, and I get seriously cranky about it around here.

So, snow. Lots of it. And me all warm and cozy (relatively, anyway) in my house. I began putting together the ingredients for banana bread, only to find myself without enough eggs. And I knew I needed an onion for the chili I was planning to make, so I decided to put on the duck boots and head for the store.

I love snow, and I had a bunch of fun on that half-mile walk. I tried to stay in the tire tracks, but I was not the only one who felt like a brisk stroll in the snow and when I got to the main road, I saw a bunch of blithering idiots riding their assorted sleds down the hill. In the middle of the street, not some normally grassy hill off to the side somewhere. They had to stop for cars, of course, and they had a lookout posted, but still. The only time I sledded in the street was the night when I was 15 and out with two of my sister's ex-boyfriends, who fed me a six-pack of MGD. This was in Alaska, in a much smaller town, and it was late on a Saturday night at the end of a remote road. Not in the middle of a suburban main street.

Wow, I guess I had a more negative opinion on that than I thought I did. They were all kids, mostly junior high to high school age, so I'll cut them some slack.

Went to the store, got required items plus potato chips for Mr D and some potatoes which were on sale. (Think I'm making meatloaf later this week. Yum!) Went home. Finished mixing the banana bread, stuck it in the oven, and went back to work. Very glad the store was open, especially after I realized the mailbox place wasn't.

At some point in there, before the banana bread was done, I decided to make the chili in the crock pot a la Laura, so I went back upstairs to chop and slice and brown and toss and stir. And it's been just over three hours now. I can smell the chili, and I'm getting really hungry. Mr D says half an hour or so, which would mesh with the four hours Laura gives.

There is nothing so wonderful as finally figuring out how to use the crock pot. I've mostly made pot roast in it, but my dad did baked beans last summer and we made the crab dip in it for the party. I love the idea of tossing in a bunch of ingredients, for say navy bean soup, and leaving it all day to be ready for me when I get home. Or having it fill the house with the fabulous smell of a big pot of something savory while I'm off doing other things (laundry, reading, whatever). I really do love to cook, I love to experiment and taste and try and sniff and play. I just wish I had more time for it.

I feel so very lucky I got to work from home today. I got my work done, I got the laundry done, I got some much needed extra sleep, and I made banana bread and chili. I feel so very efficient and productive on days like this. Say hooray for a little snow to help me out.

Because I am lazy I did not take any pictures. They're promising us everything from warm rain to sleet to more snow, so I don't know if it will still be there tomorrow. If it is, I will try to take one or two to post. I have some from last week, but that was not even half what we got today. And I have once again ensured that "snow picture" is going to be my top search hit.

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