For those of you who are unaware of these facts, I will explain a few things. First, I live in the Pacific Northwest. Second, the Northwest has been hit with a huge winter weather event. Now, this isn’t on the level of the Polar Vortex that swept through the Midwest a couple of weeks ago. We aren’t getting temperatures in the negative range and we aren’t risking frostbite when going outside. But it’s been a challenge. A lot of our communities are hilly and, at least on the west side of the state, we get very little snow. We can go years without seeing any snow on the ground at all. So, our little community wasn’t quite prepared for the week we’ve had. I have been keeping track of my experience and will now share it with all of you.
Day 0 — Preparation Day
The snow was due around 4:00 in the afternoon. I spent the day getting ready. I’ve brought in food from the outside freezer and stocked the pantry. I got out the snow shovel and stashed it on the deck right outside the back door. I took Disney Dog out for a nice long walk about 2 in the afternoon then filled up her food bin too. By 4, we were in, settled, and prepared for the weather. There was no snow. I fired up the stove and oven and made myself some homemade pizza and cookies. There was no snow. I dug down through my old video games and pulled out Epic Mickey and started to play through it again. There was no snow. Disney Dog went outside and we headed to bed. There was no snow. I feel over-prepared.
Day 1 — Snow!
Got up this morning to snow! My preparations were not in vain. Disney Dog bounced around the yard and rolled in the several inches that fell last night. She is in and out all day. I have spread towels by both doors to try and catch the snow that falls off her. It finally stopped snowing after lunchtime and we took a walk to the church to evaluate. It is surprisingly bad. The roads are covered, the sidewalks are impassable, the church parking lot is under a foot of snow. On the was home, I step in a snow covered pothole and wrench my ankle. It’s been less than 24 hours and I am done. I make a hamburger casserole and stream old sci-fi television. It starts snowing again. Disney Dog is still having a good time. I have to trick her into thinking we’re going for a car ride to get her inside for bed. I think she resents me.
Day 2 — More snow!
It once again snowed all night. It’s stopped snowing, but the roads are impassable. The people with Subarus aren’t even trying to leave home. I have canceled Sunday morning worship for the first time in my working life. I discover I have no idea what people do on Sunday mornings. It is odd. The neighbor dogs come over for a visit and Disney Dog plays snow games with them. It is fairly adorable. We go out for a walk around the neighborhood. I only fall twice. I begin to see people cross country skiing down the street. It worries me. I make raspberry muffins and warm up leftovers. It starts to snow again.
Day 3 — Frozen fractals all around
It literally snows all day. It never stops. Disney Dog refuses to go out at all. I eventually have to shovel a path for her out the door, down the steps, and across the lawn. She uses it but isn’t happy. After a little while she decides it might not be so bad. We do not go for a walk. I keep looking out the window thinking that it will stop. I am wrong. People now regularly go by on skis. I have also seen a group of people pulling small children and groceries in kayaks. The world has changed.
Day 4 — What just happened?
It finally stopped snowing some time last night. There is now approximately 27 inches of snow on the ground. I view my driveway with despair and decide that it will all melt eventually. My doorbell rings at 10 am and I open it to find one of the neighbors. He has come to help me shovel. Disney Dog jumps off the porch and immediately regrets her life choices. She sinks to her chin in the snow and attempts to swim back to the porch. I rescue her, thank the neighbor, and head back inside to put on real pants. 45 minutes later there we have cleared a path the width of my car just in case I need to drive somewhere. I think the skiers laughed at us as they went by. I dig out Disney Dog’s paths again but give up on making my gate usable. I can get out through the garage from now on. It starts snowing again. I make a pan of brownies in protest. By 3 o’clock the snow is ankle deep on the driveway. I get a call that the roads are too difficult for the garbage trucks to come. The major reason I cleared the driveway was to get the garbage can to the curb. I begin to feel a sense of futility.
Day 5 — A Brief Respite
It stopped snowing again and actually warmed up to over freezing. I celebrate by baking bread and taking a walk with the dog. I see several people shoveling snow off of their garage roofs. I realize that this could be an issue as my garage is old and the roof is already sagging. I resign myself to the loss of the building and my car since the the only ladder I own has a mere three steps. Sacrifices must be made. I take a loaf of bread over to the neighbor to thank him for helping me shovel. He invites me in for drink with him and his partner. I return home. My gate is still blocked. If the garage collapses I won’t be able to get back into the house until spring. The temperature drops again and everything that melted today freezes over.
Day 6 — Living in the frozen wasteland
It’s snowing again. I no longer know what day it is. I no longer have a sense of time. Every day is just like every other day. We’re supposed to get 6 more inches by tomorrow morning. I shovel the driveway again for something to do. The neighbor comes over to help. I think he wants more bread. On a positive note, the garage is still standing.
Day 7 — This is my life now
We have now had over 40 inches of snow fall. The city has given up on running snow plows and now sends construction equipment into the streets. I hope that the bulldozer doesn’t run over any of the skiers. I am now out of bacon, potatoes, cooking oil, and chocolate almond milk. I bravely head out to the store. I find that everyone else has the same idea. Shelves are bare and people descend on the deli like locusts as soon as hot food is available. I make it back home with almost everything I need. I will continue to make my own chocolate almond milk. I have survived the first week of winter weather. We’ll see what happens next.