I Know It Don't Thrill You, I Hope It Don't Kill You
Back to work again, as we say a not-so-fondish "farewell, and good riddance!" to SNOWPOCALYPSE 2008. With barely an inch or so of the white stuff clinging to the nooks and crannies of my front yard, it's hard to believe there was nearly a foot of snow there just a few days ago, bringing Our Fair City to a grinding halt that could be heard all the way to San Diego (where a surprising number of people I know spent their holiday break).
I knew we were on the back side of the deluge on Saturday night when I encountered no fewer than four east-west bound buses on my 25-minute walk to a local theatre fundraiser. After having survived for a full eight days without so much as getting near mass transit, I actually raised my hands and cheered as the #2 come down the hill, as if the mere sight of the bus itself were a harbinger of better times to come.
I now have my office keys safely stuffed into my coat pocket, so there's no chance of forgetting them again; and the piles of unopened mail and phone messages at work proved to be far less daunting than I would have expected. Even with a short week this week, I think I'll manage to get caught up on the back-log before New Years.
So, our little adventure in surviving inclement weather is over; everyone seems to have come through their various and sundry personal ordeals in relative good spirits (although no doubt the kvetching about the lack of bus service will continue for a few more weeks), and things are slowly getting back to normal. Heck, the sun has even been out for most of the day, although it's also been accompanied by truly raging wind gusts blowing through the walkway behind my office.
How Can You Leave Me Standing Alone In A World That's So Cold?
First off, Merry Christmas, everybody!
Secondly, I'm really, REALLY hoping this snow situation is resolved in the next few days. It's been literally a week since I was last at work because of the rotten weather. In addition, getting around has been extremely hazardous - and I've been on-foot for the entire time. Buses are barely running, and those only on north-south routes that don't involve hills, which has meant they've been basically useless to me as a transportation option since I: A.) live on a hill; B.) work on another hill, and; C.) have to travel over hills to get to almost anywhere.
So, I've been schlepping myself out once a day, just to keep the cabin fever at bay, which is of course excellent exercise, sort of like doing a session on nature's eliptical trainer, so no complaints there. But, now that the snow is actually starting to melt even walking is a becoming problem due to the slippery-slidey, slushy mess left in the wake of 10+ inches of snowfall over the past eight or nine days.
I've been scouring the online transit maps trying to figure out if there's any way I can get from my house to my friends' just a few miles to the north, but without the east-west connections it's simply impossible without either walking, or, taking a cab in desperation, which may become an option, for no other reason than I've got a bunch of food to schlep along with me, and lugging it three and a-half miles through cold rain and over melting snow the consistency of cold, wet mucus just doesn't sound all that appealing to me for some reason.
Oh well, could be worse; could be - um, oh. It's snowing. Again.
Anyway, stay warm, stay dry, and enjoy the day. That's what I'm going to try to do.
My boss just called and declared today yet another "snow day". This is the fourth day I've been off work since we got hit with the series of snow storms starting last Wednesday. At peak, I had roughly 9 - 10" in my front yard, and very little of it has melted off so far. In fact, although it warmed up a bit yesterday, the temps dropped back below freezing overnight, so the melt has just turned into a solid, crusty sheet of ice wherever the snow hasn't been cleared - which is essentially everywhere. Some of the major arterials have been plowed and sanded/de-iced (we don't use salt up here), but it only marginally opens things up; side and residential streets haven't been touched at all, so if your car isn't on a major street, most people aren't bothering.
And of course, being a city built on hills, most of our bus service has been curtailed as well. If I DID have to go in to work, it would most likely turn into a 1 1/2 - 2 hour one-way commute, since the few open routes are running on half-schedules, and delays are currently about 45 minutes behind normal. So, really, there's not much point in traveling 3 - 4 hours just to spend a few hours on-the-job. Fortunately, this is generally a slow time of the year for us anyway, and with modern technology, we've been able to handle the few routine emails and inquiries from home anyway.
Naturally, all this has put holiday travel plans on complete hold: the local forecast is calling for yet ANOTHER snow storm late this evening, with a possible accumulation of up to 3" more on top of what we already have, and then mixed snow and rain through the remainder of the week. The Big Red Bus is almost literally buried in drifts at this point, trains aren't running, hundreds of flights have already been canceled or rescheduled; nature has pretty much dictated that, if you absolutely DON'T have to go any distance farther than you can walk, you're odds are not good. So, I'm staying put.
At least it's warm and dry here - although I'm beginning to run low on indoor projects.
Good News #1: I made it to my office this morning. Took me nearly two hours, between the long wait for buses, the elongated serpentine snow-routes, and the fact that some buses just never showed up at all. So, I ended up walking the last two miles, roughly from the University of Washington to my office 40th & Aurora, because none of the east-west routes on 40th were running due to icy hills.
Bad News #1: Once there, I couldn't actually get into my office, because neither of my co-workers were there, nor was the building maintenance staff, and I haven't seen my set of keys since Wednesday.
Good News #2: On a hunch I went around to the walkway between our building and the condos next door, and took a peek through my ground-floor window. Sure enough, the keys were sitting on my desk where I'd accidentally left them Wednesday afternoon. So, at least I know they didn't fall out of my pocket on a Metro bus, which essentially would have meant never seeing them again.
Bad News #2: Of course, I still couldn't retrieve said keys (see: Bad News #1 above).
This is my bus, still stuck at the top of the hill where we abandoned it about an hour ago. The entire downslope has been closed off to traffic for two blocks in either direction. I'm back home now, contemplating whether it's going to be worth trying to get to work at all, since there's still heavy snow falling, with about 3 inches accumulation where I am, and doesn't look like it's going to let up any time soon.
Might be a good time to get something hot going on the stove: Thai curry is sounding pretty good right about now.
UPDATE 10:05 a.m.: Just found out, my alternate bus route has also been shut down, due to a jack-knifed articulated bus blocking the entire street in both directions.
Am starting to boil water for rice, and putting the kettle on to make coffee. Still snowing heavily.
UPDATE 10:45 a.m.: Word was, the snow accumulation was supposed to stop around 10:00 a.m., but from the looks of things, it's coming down even harder; I can barely see the neighbor's house across the street, which means visibility is down to around 150 feet, with about 3 1/2 - 4 inches on the ground so far, and no signs of it letting up.
UPDATE 1:30 p.m.: Pretty much continuous snowfall since this morning. Accumulation approximately 5 - 5 1/2 inches. Seems to be tapering off, but the gusts of wind are blowing it around quite a bit. Starting to see just a little clearing, although that's what it was doing around 9:30 this morning as well, so who knows?
Our promised-then-reneged snow storm has finally arrived as of about an hour ago. Just a light dusting so far, but it does seem to be coming down steadily. Temps are supposed to plummet into the 20's overnight, so whatever accumulation we get between now and then is going to freeze up solid.
For the moment, however, I'm securely battened down, with a homemade chicken pot pie fresh out of the oven, and with only other major decision to make this evening being whether to have a whisky, scotch or mead with my dinner.
Tomorrow is supposed to be essentially a repeat of today: snow late in the afternoon accompanied by below-freezing overnight temperatures. Which means Monday is shaping up to be a FUN commute. Thank goodness there's always the bus.
Slow Down, You Move Too Fast Got To Make The Morning Last
Yes, yes, I know. No updates for a week. Things have been, well, slow. Not terribly exciting - which I suppose is a GOOD thing - and hence nothing really to report.
Frankly, it's a nice change of pace from the generally hectic pace of my life; a nice way to ease into the holidays. Hopefully, this diminished stress level will continue through to the end of the year.