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I Waited Five Minutes

How about that Mohawk Valley weather we’ve had lately? (Um, you do get the headline, right? If you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes)

That’s not such a lame comment as I was thinking (check with me tomorrow for Lame Post Friday, of course). The weather guy on WKTV this morning said we had “lots of weather” going on today. That struck me as kind of funny. I mean, good or bad, active or quiet, it’s always weather outside. I didn’t think a meteorologist would think of it in terms of different amounts.

Many of us have been loving this winter. Snowmobilers, skiers, people who make money plowing snow, etc…. not so much. Sorry, guys. For someone with a bad back, a husband with a worse back, and a second hand snow blower we have never gotten to work, I’m grateful for the relative lack of snow. Oh well, whatever happens, somebody’s going to be happy, somebody else not. My turn for happy. Yay me (Ooh, was that half baked philosophy? I’m sorry, that should have gone on Lame Post Friday).

This morning we got some authentic winter. There were even a few school delays, although not in our immediate vicinity. Apparently things were not so bad in the valley, but terrible in other places.

So I got ready early, figuring I’d have to scrape and drive to work slowly. And the fewer cars in the parking lot when I got there the happier I’d be. Steven actually went out to scrape for me, but it turned out not to be necessary. When I stepped outside it was regular rain, not freezing. A welcome anti-climax. There was slushy snow on the driveway and road. I backed out with caution, figuring there might still be slippery on the road’s surface.

Indeed there was. I almost fishtailed. Better get some weight into the back of my truck (maybe it would have helped if I would NOT have gone on the South Beach Diet). Not much traffic was on the road, but a pick up truck was coming up Caroline as I got to the three way stop. I was already at the stop sign, so clearly I should go; I just hoped the guy was turning the other way. Headlights behind me soon dashed that hope. I continued down German, trying to strike the balance between safe and not slow enough to piss people off. I hate to piss people off. Then I said, “To hell with it, safe is better, they can pass me on the highway.” Which they did. That was when I saw that it was a little red car, not the pick up truck I had seen on Caroline. How the hell did that happen? Then again, it wouldn’t do to spend too much time gazing into my rear view mirror to keep track of these things.

I made it to work without further incident and parked in the snow covered parking lot. I pulled in carefully parallel to another car, since the lines were hidden. Imagine my chagrin when I left this afternoon and discovered I was by no means parallel to the painted lines. All the surrounding vehicles were gone, too, so it looked as if I’d just parked like an asshole. I can only hope my co-workers understood.

So that’s my weather story for the day. I guess my driving story too. I hope this weekend to get out and do some real Mohawk Valley stuff to blog about. In the meantime, though, I’m off the hook, because tomorrow is Lame Post Friday. Woo hoo!

Winter Comes to the Mohawk Valley

Perhaps I jinxed things the other day, when I mentioned I was pleased about the green Christmas. Nah, that can’t be it; people have been remarking about the lack of snow for a while now. Be that as it may, I thought Wednesday’s weather was worthy of a post.

I first encountered the winter Wednesday morning. I was feeling rather bah humbuggish as I experienced problems trying to wrap presents for Christmas II at my parents’ house that evening. I thought a little fresh air would help, so on went the sneakers (me) and the leash (Tabby), and out the door we went.

It was cold! Once again I had not put a scarf around my face, to my regret. Little white flakes swirled around us, then moved faster as the wind picked up and got mean. Tabby only wanted to go around the block, even taking the short cut through the apartment building parking lot, which was OK with me. At least it blew the bah humbug out of me and I was able to complete my Christmas preparations with equanimity and even a little joy.

As the day wore on the snow kept falling. Perfect weather for a cup of hot tea (I had finished most of my chores by then). Then I thought I would take Tabby for a more lengthy perambulation (we avoid saying the “w word” in our house) before our drive into Rome (about 30 to 40 minutes, depending on traffic and how seriously I take the speed limits). I struggled into my army winter boots and we set out.

It was a little warmer since the wind had died down. I was glad of the boots, as the snow had started to drift across the sidewalks. Not too deep yet, but a preview of things to come. One man was out with a snow blower, blowing out the driveway and walk of the apartment building. I encountered some iciness crossing the streets, but no mishaps. Tabby went about two blocks down German Street, then turned around without fanfare or even an inquiring look at me, and led me back home. After we turned around the wind picked back up, and I was once again regretful I had forgotten a scarf (will I ever remember that scarf?).

After we got back and I had gotten Tabby inside and cleared the caked snow off her feet, I went back outside and shoveled a little. Just the end of the driveway and the sidewalk in front of the house. It was really quite easy. Not much snow had piled up and it was light enough to push.

A check of Facebook revealed a couple of cancellations in Frankfort and Utica, and some comments by people of how some roads were getting bad. Oh dear. I called my Dad and asked how things were in Rome. After some discussion, we decided I would start the drive and turn around at the Frankfort bridge if things seemed bad.

When I got ready to load the car and go pick up Steven, I put on my other boots. I had been delighted to get these boots for 50% off at K Mart last year. The army boots are excellent for dryness, warmth and traction, but they are a royal pain in my rear to get into and out of. The K Mart boots are slip on and perfectly warm.

As I brushed off the car (another joy, because it is my height, which the truck is not), I questioned my delight in the slip on boots as a big clump of snow fell right into them. Never mind, I told myself, I can borrow dry socks from Mom. Tabby eagerly jumped into the car and her kennel and we were off.

Village streets were predictably bad, but State Route 5 seemed OK. As Steven got into the car, I explained my plan. So far so good. Things started to get dicey as we neared the Frankfort bridge, but I suggested we give it to the four corners. Not the Historic Four Corners I blog so much about, but the ones near Dave’s Diner. From there it would be easy enough to get on 5S and go back home. 5S has the added advantage of two lanes of traffic. I can go slow, and impatient people can go around me at their own risk.

We did not get that far. We got as far as the Market Place Deli (formerly the Snack Shack), and that seemed to me a very good place to turn around. Snow was accumulating on the highway, and I felt a skid or a fishtail could easily happen. We went back home and called my disappointed but understanding parents.

I suppose some would call me a wimp for such behavior. These people would shake an admonitory finger at me and ask me how long have I lived in the area, and don’t I know what to expect in December? Apparently I do. After all, I own two pair of boots and a snow shovel. And I know that sometimes plans have to change. Maybe I can plan something more exciting for my next blog post.

Saturday Morning Walk

Other Saturdays I have gone running in the morning and then blogged about my run. Today I walked to the bank with Tabby, so my post will be about that.

I had a couple of checks I wanted to deposit in my Mad Money account at First Source Federal Credit Union here in Herkimer. I like that bank, because they are dog friendly. They don’t mind if Tabby comes in with me; in fact, they usually give her a treat. I thought they opened at eight, so we set out accordingly. I figured if I was wrong and they didn’t open till nine, I could get two walks in.

It was cold! Our thermometer said thirty-one degrees, and I believed it. The grass was stiff with last night’s heavy frost. I slipped on a little ice in the driveway and told myself I’d better watch it. I quickly put on the headband I had put in my pocket in case I needed it. I was wearing a jacket large enough to pull the sleeves down over my hands. Tabby did not seem to mind the temperature, but then she has a built in fur coat. I kept telling myself, wait till February. Then when it gets to be thirty-one degrees, we’ll be rejoicing in the warm weather. Perspective is a wonderful thing.

We saw a young person wearing pajama bottoms walking a large dog on the other side of the street. I could not tell if it was a young man or a young woman, because he or she was bundled up in a coat and hat, and the pajama bottoms were gender neutral. I mentally deplored again the fashion of wearing pajamas in public. Then again, maybe the person had just rolled out of bed and did not want to make their dog wait for its morning business meeting. Anyways, who am I to judge other people’s clothing? Especially when you consider some of my crazy old lady outfits. Tabby and the other dog regarded each other suspiciously but did not bark. Good dogs.

Tabby did her business, and as we continued toward the bank I kept an eye out for a trash can. You would think some of these businesses would have one by the door. At last I found one. I did not want to carry Tabby’s poop into the bank. I carried it into the post office once, set it down to transact my business and forgot it. I went back to get it and apologized, but how embarrassing. And pretty gross for other people.

After I made my deposit and Tabby got her treat, we went home by a different route. We saw a pug I know across the street but did not get near enough to pet him. He looked at us rather interestedly but kept walking, pausing of course to sniff or poop. Closer to home I got to pet two sweet shih tzu looking dogs (I’m never sure about breeds; I ought to get a book). Tabby touched noses with them but was more interested in heading home.

I have at least one more walk in mind for later today, as well as a couple other Mohawk Valley adventures. This morning’s stroll was a pleasant way to start my day.

Be Careful What You Wish For

I feel I owe an apology to the universe. Here I was blithely wishing for a rainy Sunday, on which I planned to do things which I could perfectly well do on a sunny day. Well, I got it, and now the entire east coast is dealing with the aftermath of Irene.

In Herkimer it seemed we were merely having our rainy Sunday. We tuned into a special edition of Today and were properly shocked and concerned about the images from New York City and the surrounding areas. As the day wore on, we started hearing about problems closer to home.

Sauquoit Creek, which I had never properly been aware of before this, flooded. I saw a picture WKTV posted on Facebook of a road I used to drive every day to work, waist deep in water (depending on how tall you are.) Another reason to be glad I don’t work there any more (we won’t get into other reasons; this isn’t that sort of a blog).

Friends and relatives from other areas checked in with tales of what they were suffering. Many were without power, although some had generators (or I guess they wouldn’t have been on Facebook) (unless they were on a battery operated laptop, I suppose. I don’t really know much about the internet). I heard a covered bridge in Arlington, VT was out, but nobody posted a picture, so I don’t know which covered bridge or how far out it is. I must say Facebook is a fascinating tool at times like this.

Do I feel my wish for a rainy Sunday wrought all this havoc? I guess not really. In college I used to observe that it only rained when I did not wear my raincoat. When I wore it, we had a nice sunny day.

“What an ego,” my friend Susannah Diamondstone (one of the all time great names) used to say. “She thinks she controls the weather.”

Of course, I did not really think that. But the facts bore me out.

Perhaps I feel I owe an apology for enjoying it all. Not that I enjoy other people being flooded out and/or without power. And I certainly don’t enjoy the death toll. But I did enjoy my rainy Sunday in the Mohawk Valley. And I feel grateful that the wrath of Irene passed me by.

Come On, Irene

Oh, don’t worry. I’m not encouraging a hurricane on to greater feats of destruction; I’m just making a play on words with a one-hit-wonder ’80s tune. I can’t be the first to say it.

Yes, this is another post about the weather. “Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.” I like to say it in a real air-head voice. My dad points out that people do so do something about it. They put snow tires on their car or central air in their house, as the case may be. That is, they treat the symptoms.

The symptom I’m hoping for from Irene, and no treatment necessary, is a rainy Sunday. I like to spend Saturday running around doing things, for entertainment, blog or practical purposes. On Sunday I like to relax.

A rainy Sunday, I feel, is a perfect day to watch an old movie or read a good book. And enjoy a cup of hot tea. Maybe in the mug Steven got me of Henry VIII and his wives. The wives disappear when you add a hot beverage.

I know these activities will not make for a scintillating blog post. And how much even less scintillating is a post where I’m only hoping for future weather conducive to such activities. Really, sometimes I wonder about myself.