Thursday, February 15, 2007

13 Things About All the SNOW!

Well, Champaign got hit with 10 inches of snow on Tuesday and we're still reeling from it. So I bring you 13 Things about all this silly snow:

1. A winter storm watch was posted on Monday for Tuesday during the day. The school districts closed on Monday at 3:00 - hours before a flake had fallen. Wimps.

2. Monday was a pretty mild day; about 33 degrees. So after work (and while waiting to find out if Champs still had a job) I went out and chipped the ice from the previous snow off the end of our driveway. I figured a clean slate would be easier to work with. I expected my neighbors to do the same, but I didn't see anyone else taking advantage of the opportunity. I guess some things you just learn from living in a snowy climate.

3. Before we went to bed, we got all our vehicles off the street and onto the clean driveway. This served two purposes; to keep our cars from getting stuck in the street and to help keep the driveway cleaner. Again, none of the neighbors did this.

4. By the time we woke up on Tuesday morning, the snow was halfway up the tires and the plows were just getting out. Since the schools were closed, I didn't go to work. Mostly, I just wanted to be home with Champs to help him and me look for better jobs.

5. Mid-day Tuesday the IL-DOT closed the highways. The plows couldn't keep up. They would plow the snow and it would blow back on the road. They never saw how MN DOT does it; they use a huge snow blower plow and blow it into huge dump trucks that remove the snow and cart it away, not just pile it up at the side of the highway.

6. By noon on Tuesday the district declared the schools closed on Wednesday, fearing that the plows wouldn't get the roads cleared in time. Wimpy Wimps.

7. On Tuesday, Champs went out late afternoon and snowplowed our driveway and a neighbor's driveway. It was still snowing, but it's always easier to get out after a big snow if you move some of it part way through. Again, must be a Minnesota thing, because no one else was out trying to clear up that we could see. Champs has a bright orange snow suit that he wore to get the plowing done. He sure won't get hit by a snow plow wearing that thing. That is, if a snow plow ever comes...

8. The snow finally ended around 6:00 p.m. or so, leaving us with 10 inches. You can no longer see the grill on our back patio. Our back door drifted shut, so my mom's dog, Lucy, had to go out front to do her, um, business. Since she's only 9 inches tall and hairy, she wasn't too happy about the snow thing. Mom was concerned about putting a leash on Lucy since the front yard is not fenced like the back yard. I told her she needn't worry; the dog barely went two feet from the house and zoomed back inside the moment she was done.

9. Wednesday morning, the highways were still closed and the plows had barely gotten anything. The major grid roads were cleared, but none of the residential streets. Thankfully, my little zoom-zoom car is a great snow vehicle and got me right through. The streets were nearly deserted. Going steadily and carefully, I got to work in a surprisingly fast 10 minutes.

10. Since he was home, Champs got our driveway completely cleared and helped to get three neighbors unstuck (from our as-yet unplowed streets), as well as snowplowed two more driveways. They all said "well, you're from Minnesota, so you're used to this, right?" Pretty much, it seems.

11. A full 24 hours after the storm ended, our residential streets were not plowed. Whatever! On top of that, at 7:00 p.m. the district declared our schools closed AGAIN on Thursday. The reason? One or two of the school parking lots weren't plowed yet. They couldn't have a few schools open and a few closed, so they closed them all. Wimpiest Wimpy Wimps! I bet a few of the dads with plows on their trucks would have gladly cleared up the problem to get their kids back in class on Thursday morning.

12. By this morning, the residential streets were finally plowed - except where people left their cars stuck in the roads. City officials didn't start towing cars until Wednesday evening. In Minneapolis, they declare a snow emergency as soon as there is an inch of snow and start towing violators immediately. The plows are not as hindered by cars. Residents just know; if it's gonna snow, get your cars off the street. Another Minneapolis snow knowledge thing, I guess.

13. I went to work today; the streets finally plowed and everything open. Here's the funny part; it took me 18 minutes to get there! No joke. People here don't know how to drive in the snowy stuff. Case in point: one women went down a curvy street at 5 MPH. I am not exaggerating. There was a line of cars built up behind her at least 15 vehicles long. I'm sorry, but if you're afraid to drive when it's all been plowed, then you should probably stay home. Call the school district, they'll condone it.

The point of this blow-by-blow is that the city planners here could learn something from Minneapolis. We had a humdinger of a storm last March; 13-20 inches. More than 120 buses were stuck in the snow and 20,000 plus people lost power. By the next morning, the streets were cleared, the power was on and school - every school - was in session. No highways closed and no one missed three days of school. So this town doesn't get as much snow as Minneapolis does. It would still be nice if they would learn to be prepared when it does!

Here are some comments from this post:
Sarch said...
Blond Girl you cracked me up with this post. "Wimpiest wimpy wimps" - LOL

My gosh but you are harsh! :-)

MissMeliss said...
This may have been a rant, but having lived in SoDak where there is serious winter, it made me laugh and nod in agreement. Wimpy wimps indeed!

Stacie said...
I'm from Michigan and it used to snow like crazy there when I was a kid. I always have to laugh when here in CT, they close schools the night before because it's "supposed" to snow...
Wimps indeed! Unbelievable. Sometimes they cancel school if we get snow on a weekend, because they don't want to pay a janitor to come in on a sunday (they'd have to pay overtime) to shovel the they cancel school. No kidding!

Veda said...
Hey, Blond Girl. Midwest winters are not for the faint of heart, that's for sure! I would think though that Illinois would be better at handling it all. I've been through MN in the winter - you're right, much clearer than the rest of that trip. Here via...Veda's (thanks for the really great comment, btw)!

last year we had plenty ( but late) this year we can hardly scrape together enough for the skiers.
funny weather, but Calif is like that. lovely rant, did you learn that in MN also? hehe
here from miss melliss

L-Girl said...
Yay!! A snow day!! I love those. You guys were ahead of the game!

Geekwif said...
I have to agree with the wimpy wimps thing. I think I wouldn't mind if Minneapolis was just a teeny bit wimpier though. Three days off is a bit much, but one might be nice now and then. ;)

Carmi said...
I so relate to this list. Montreal's public works department approaches winter snow clearing with the discipline of a military unit. Their response protocol defines what kind of equipment is deployed at what stage of a given snow event, and the result is a city whose roads are usually quite usable during and after the largest of storms.
Here in London, our winters are far less severe. But the city seems to have no snow clearing capability whatsoever. Streets are ignored for weeks at a time, sidewalks accumulate dangerous layers of snow and ice. People have accidents - in cars and on foot - that could have been avoided.
I'm amazed the city hasn't been sued more often.

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