Sunday, December 31, 2006


My mom and stepfather live in an area of the U.S. where brief snowshowers are common. Night and day temperatures are often vastly different, though, and the humidity generally hovers at around 30 percent, so when snow happens, it's generally gone within hours, sublimating or melting into the clear blue skies.

But when we came to visit, instead of bringing a nice hostess gift, we brought record-breaking snow. The neighborhood we're in is at the foot of a mountain, often enshrouded in cloud during bad weather. It started snowing on Thursday afternoon here, but down in the valley the sun was shining. Thursday night, however, the snow continued, as it did on Friday. As my mom and I took AM to lay in some Shabbat supplies, I asked if she had snow tires. "It didn't snow once last winter!" was her reply.

The driving between grocery stores was slow and slushy, with frighteningly low visibility. On the way home, my mom's Passat got stuck in the neighborhood. Twice. A kindly neighbor delivered me and a screaming, hungry AM to our door. Perishables were rescued from the trunk and arrived on foot. The snow continued all night Friday and ceased on Saturday in time for a gorgeous sunset.

But. In this city of few snowshovels and fewer snowplows (21 of them, a newscaster announced, to the hysterical laughter of Taxman and myself; for a city of about half a million people, it doesn't seem quite sufficient), snow totals ranging from 15 to 24 inches--my parents are at the upper extreme of that--has made for quite a mess. The airport was closed yesterday; sections of the major interstates that cross through the city were iced over and closed; even large portions of some city thoroughfares were deemed hazardous last night and closed to traffic.

The sun has returned today, affording a spectacular view of the white-capped mountains nearby and warming the air to a balmy 38 degrees. After an hour and a half of several family members shoveling snow (on top of what had been done on Friday), my mom was able to stop stressing herself into a tizzy and get out to shop for her New Year's Day bash (this year with a Show Off Your Grandkids Even Though The Party Is Smack In The Middle Of Their Naptimes Bonus!).

Miss M has been having the time of her life, clomping around outside in boots and borrowed snowpants, taking pratfalls in the snow and using a gardening spade to "help" shovel.

The snow has been everything that snow should be: pristine, pretty, white, wet. I got to watch the storm from a warm house. I saw bird, rabbit, and deer tracks in the snow when I took a walk with AM (can't do that at home!).

And while it's messy now, the driveway is clear, the streets are plowed, and we should be able to get home on Wednesday, as planned.*

Definitely better than a February Nor'Easter at home.

* I've got a blogger coffee meetup on Thursday that I am very excited about; if we get cancelled on the way home I'm going to go Miranda Priestly on someone.

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