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Saturday, January 04, 2014

So Sorry, But There Was A Snow Ban In Effect, And My Mantra Stopped Working

Listen, I don't even know what to say.  I mean, I literally do not know what I'm going to say in this post; I'm putting something up here because it's way past time and I feel obligated and ashamed.  This could be terrible, it could be wonderful, it could be horrifying--neither of us knows how it will all turn out.

I suggest alcohol, perhaps a nice glass of cabernet or maybe a good martini.  Two olives in case things get long-winded and you need a little snack.  Okay.  Let's go.

1.  The Dept. got all the way to Christmas Eve, and I thought we were home free, but then no, the dishwasher refused to drain.  Rick came home from work, took some stuff apart, cleaned some gunk out of some stuff, tried it again, but alas!  No compliance.  I Googled for remedies, watched some YouTube videos (how boring that was, let me tell you), then resorted to My Plan B.  I stood right in front of it and called it out for the Betrayor it was.  And I called into question its lineage as a goddam Frigidaire, which we never should have bought anyway, may they burn in hell.  Then, after totally humiliating it, I called the appliance store where we buy everything that fails us, and they sent out a repairman--who remembered working on our icemaker during Thanksgiving last year...or was it the year before?  It's all a blur.  Anyway, he fixed it easily, and well before my family party.

2.  Which leads me to what became my new Holiday Philosophy.  A couple nights before Christmas Eve, a house near us simply exploded.  Completely. (It was later traced to a gas leak from the furnace.)  Luckily, it was vacant, a rental that was without tenants and on the market.  Shockingly, the house next door to it had to be torn down a few hours afterward because its second floor had come crashing partway down into the first floor as a result of the concussion.  The people inside had no way to extract any of their belongings upstairs or in the part of the first floor that had been structurally compromised.  Imagine sitting in your home, cozily watching TV, your Christmas tree shining brightly at 9:45 PM, then a huge explosion blows your windows out, and by 1:00 AM, you have no house, no Christmas, and over half of your belongings are gone forever.  I was completely overwhelmed by the idea of it.  So when my dishwasher gave out, I said, "At least my house didn't explode."  And that became my mantra for anything that blipped my radar.  Because...wow.  Everything pales by comparison.

3.  But I have to admit that my New Mantra and I are getting Sorely Tested lately by this Effing Snow, which is relentless and overwhelming and quite honestly, getting Personal.  It just KEEPS SNOWING AND FOR NO REASON.  We don't really need it, thank you, as we have right now an Overabundance Of Snow.  Eight inches is plenty for anyone, and that crap is EVERYWHERE.  For two days it kept me in the house because of blizzardy conditions and JUST SO MUCH SNOW EVERYPLACE.  And, just for the record, No, it is NOT PRETTY.  It is TREACHEROUS AND, IN CASE YOU ARE UNAWARE, FROZEN.  This kind of snow makes me housebound and, therefore, Mushbrained.  The more it snows, the stupider I get.  Just yesterday, I lost track of my phone about eleventy hundred times.  And I was only on the first floor of the house.  And I was irked because the Cats are No Help.  It's only going to get worse; a bigass storm is forecast for Sunday which will bring MORE SNOW.  And BELOW ZERO TEMPERATURES.  I would cry, except that it would be Truly Shameful.  I had a blissful Christmas in my home which is intact.  Sigh.

4.  Rick and I were roundly criticized by the boys for having boring Christmas gift idea lists.  Sam especially was disgusted.  Finding himself a little more flush this year, he was finally looking forward to getting presents for the family.  In a text message discussion with Jared, he compared notes about shopping for his dad.  Jared, ever the dutiful son, told Sam that I had suggested some warm sweaters or sweatpants.  Instantly by return text Sam said, "Fuck that.  I'm getting Dad a bear shooting game and a gun for his Wii."  Of course he did, and there has been an endless parade of dead, bloody animals across my television ever since.  Thank goodness Downton Abbey starts tomorrow.

That's enough, I think.  How are all of you?  Resolute?  Virtuous?  Warm and balmy?  Most importantly, have you a good idea where your phone is right now?  Check in.

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19 comments:

  1. Nance, how could a house just explode? Gas main? Meth house? Please let us know when a determination has been made!

    Happy New Year, everybody.

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  2. I'm with phoebes, how in the world did that happen?

    I usually feel very smug about our weather, but I feel terrible about it with all the horrible things I'm hearing about the weather in most parts of the country. I recently read that Atlanta was going to be in the teens and twenties, which is pretty unusual.

    Stay safe, everyone!

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  3. My, oh my! I think NEO has tested your patience beyond the limits, Nance! You sound like you are ready to kill something. Maybe you ought to try out that Wii game yourself! (And just for the record, I am categorically opposed to killing anything...even if it is virtual.) I am not even going to tell you where I am right now...YOU might explode! (Hint: it's no where close to Ohio.) And, yes, how does a house just explode?!!!

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  4. I cannot image a house exploding. That's awful [stating the obvious] and I can see how your new mantra is perfect… for all of us.

    We've had snow down here, but not like your accumulation. Ours has been pretty and sparkly. Just the right amount of snow to be inspirational-- and call for a few shots of bourbon each night to stay warm!

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  5. Ally Bean--Well, bless your heart. I never find snow--of any amount--inspirational. It always represents an inconvenience and a barrier to me. I simply cannot stand it. But I do enjoy the occasional sip of port to stave off the chill. THAT we have in common.

    Karen S--I'm no fan of The Killing, either. He even has to shoot bunnies in this game. Sometimes the animals kill him, so at least there's that.

    If you're in California or someplace warm, good for you! I'd be jealous, but not mad. Who is watching Toby?

    As far as the house exploding, I've updated the post, explaining it was a gas leak from the furnace.

    Gina--Maybe not smug, but certainly grateful! On NBC news, I think, a map was shown, and California and Hawaii were the only states that were NOT experiencing lower than normal temperatures this month thus far. I hate to blame Canada, because of my deep love for all things Canadian, but it looks like it is to blame.

    phoebes in santa fe--hey! I've missed you! You're so right, and mea culpa. I've since edited the post to include the fact that it was a gas leak from the vacant house's furnace. It was a case of my brain filling in the blanks.

    There's going to be an investigation; the house had been a rental, but was recently put on the market and a new insurance policy taken out on it. The furnace was put in by the homeowner. I don't know the people at all, so I can't make any guesses or even a judgment call. I do know that former tenants stand by the owners quite staunchly.

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  6. Oh how horrid, regarding the house exploding. That sort of thing does tend to lend one a bit of perspective, doesn't it? My good friend lives in San Bruno, where a few years ago a bad gas main exploded, and between the explosion and resulting fire, 35 homes were destroyed, and I think 8 people died. HORRID. Thankfully my friend was far enough away that they were safe, but they did have to put down towels around their doors and windows to keep the smoke from entering their home, where they sheltered with their infant daughter.

    Our weather is getting on my nerves, which would likely piss you off. It's so damned sunny and nice here, but the side effect is that we have had the driest year (2013) on record. and no rain in sight on the horizon. Drought is an ever present threat in California, and I really do hope we have a wet, wet winter and spring. I often wish I could take some of your snow and transport it here. You'd be happy, I'd be happy, the skiers in Tahoe would be happy.

    I'm sure the horrid weather from Canada has you huddled by the fire at this point. I've been watching the news and seeing the frigid temps and feeling badly for everyone everywhere that isn't CA or HI.

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  7. j@jj--We are in the midst of a POLAR VORTEX right now. Our wind chills are 38 below zero, and I have frost and ice on the insides of many of my brand new windows. My furnace simply cannot keep up, and though it's set on 74, it is struggling to get to 65. I'm huddled under a slanket with an herbal heat wrap on my shoulders and neck, and my hands are like ice. The cats could not cuddle closely enough last night, for them or me!

    One odd effect is the noises this kind of cold produces in my (and others') house. As the structure and items within expand and contract, it makes the oddest sounds. Sometimes it sounds as though there are people walking, sometimes as though someone is dropping something, still other times like creaking and cracking. I heard on the local news that there have been cases of "frost earthquakes", wherein people have felt shuddering and shaking as the ground around their home heaved up due to the cold. It's all quite extraordinary.

    I know you need rain there, but for heaven's sake, don't begrudge yourself the lovely weather. This is awful.

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  8. In November, my daughter was in Findlay, Ohio for a national horse competition, so I added Findlay to the weather app on my phone. I never took it off after she returned home, and have looked at it with morbid fascination in the last week, thanking my lucky stars that I live in California. It's been relatively cold and dry and windy here this winter, but Jesus! What insanity in the midwest. My mom lives in Kansas City and I have a friend who lives in Gurnee, Illinois (north of Chicago), and the record cold temperatures and wind chills are unbelievable. I used to live in Chicago, and moved to southern California for this exact reason. Every winter, no matter how "bad" it is here, I know it's a lot worse everywhere else. It's bad enough for the people with those ridiculous temperatures, but I cringe when I think of the horses who have to live in that climate.

    Sadly, I have no words of comfort for you about the cold and snow. It's way too early to be Pollyanna and say spring is right around the corner. Perhaps a seasonal home/time share in Palm Springs?

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  9. Hi Nance,

    All of these Californians seem so happy to be where they are but you and I know that after a very heavy rain out there hundreds of homes change Zip Codes.

    Our places may groan and creak, shutter and heave but when it warms up again they are still at the same address.

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  10. Nancy--You know, you've made the point in a funny way, but seriously, that's the problem with the dry conditions out there. J@jj doesn't dare wish for lots of rain all at once because of those hideous mudslides. I've often needled the Cali people about the tradeoffs of living out there. Here, we have the freezing cold, the lousy snow, the tropical humidity, and any number of crappy things. California is wonderful, but holy crap! Mudslides, forest fires, wildfires, earthquakes, aftershocks...not to mention the smog and traffic in some areas.

    My teensy wee house would probably go for ten times what its value is here, but there it might have an avocado tree and a lemon tree in the yard and I'd never have to shovel snow or wear my mittens. Boy, those tradeoffs, huh?

    LaFF--Thank you for NOT being a Pollyanna; I despise that. Even my New Kinder Gentler Self is nowhere near that.

    Findlay is southwest of me. They got more of a rain/snow mix than we did, I think, initially. But we all got damn lousy cold weather from this POLAR VORTEX. Of course, according to The News, the only places affected have been Chicago, International Falls, and now (THANK HEAVEN! REAL PLACES LIKE...) New York, Boston, DC, and New Orleans. The rest of us got a small mention as The Midwest, the PLACE IN THE PATH OF THE POLAR VORTEX AS IT MAKES ITS WAY EAST TO THE MAJOR CITIES.

    We just hit zero a half hour ago. And by Saturday it's to be 45! So goofy.

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  11. As a long-time California resident, I must take exception with the now mostly out-dated view of what happens here.

    -- I can't remember the last time I heard about any mudslides in L.A., and it's not like it hasn't rained here.

    -- The AQMD (California's air quality nazis--I mean bureau) has instituted unbelievably strict emissions rules, so there is basically no smog anymore. It's like night-and-day different from when I moved here thirty years ago.

    -- Traffic is a problem, but it's becoming more and more of a problem everywhere. Like anything, you get used to what's normal for you. There is now a LOT of telecommuting here. That works for me.

    -- Fires are always an issue, but California does not hold the patent on that danger. Look at Colorado, Arizona, Nevada, Texas, Utah, and many other western states--many hugely destructive fires in those states in the last five years. The last big fire here was over four years ago--I can live with that frequency.

    -- We certainly have earthquakes, mostly lots of little rumbles, which is the safest way to reduce tectonic pressure. The last BIG earthquake was 20 years ago and I was 2 miles from the epi-center. It was inconvenient (to say the least) but most people, including me, went back to normal in a few weeks.

    I will absolutely positively take all of the above over an annual long-term deep-freeze, endless icy roads, putting on twenty layers of clothing just to exit the house, scraping ice off cars and digging them out of snow banks (and that's winter without even taking barn life into account), and the ridiculous humidity (the bane of my summers before I moved here) of the rest of the country. I spend a huge portion of my life outside, so the more even the weather, the better I like it.

    Everyone must weigh the pros and cons of where they live. If you REALLY don't like it, do what you can to change it. I'm always mindful of the fact that I am living right where I want to be.

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  12. LaFF--Point well taken. While it's fact that there are still wildfires and the threat of "The Big One" still exists, most of the other climatological concerns, man-made or otherwise, are often over-hyped by the media. I did Google "California mudslides" and it returned quite a few for 2013, including some in SoCal. And the smog that used to be such a punchline is absolutely in retreat and no longer such a prevalent feature of the skyline.

    I'm glad to get the straight story from the source. And I agree--winters like this make me wish it were a choice I could make RIGHT NOW to relocate to a kinder climate as you did. This is brutal and does NOT weigh in Ohio's favor! (And I'm grateful for my garage space, too!) You go right ahead and enjoy California, as I know you do. Have an avocado for me while you're at it.

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  13. To all of our Cali friends;

    I was only kidding..You live in a beautiful State and one of the main reasons we tease you is that we are jealous that you live there and we are freezing our asses off here.

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  14. Oh this week has been insane. We actually talked about canceling church, but the bad weather hadn't started yet so we went ahead - & actually had a pretty good crowd. We didn't get the snow or rain they predicted - just enough to turn into slick roads in this super cold.

    But I am bored with talking about weather. Let's talk about the funniest line in this whole thread (for me): "Sometimes the animals kill him, so at least there's that." Hahahaha! I don't know why that struck my funny bone so forcefully :)

    P.S. Our office (about 350 people) is changing locations. The bulk of the move happened this past weekend. Can you imagine? I'm glad I'm not a mover!

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  15. Bug--I'm sick to death of Weather Talk also! Thank you for the suggestion that we discuss other parts of my post, which I assumed fell flat. But I guess Weather is always topical....

    Glad you got a laugh out of that line. It's true, though; if Rick doesn't do certain things as he is drilling the wolves, leopards, crocodiles, bears, lions, etc., some can sneak around and maim him, and that takes a toll on his "health" rating. Enough of those, and he is D E A D. It's terrible--you see the scratches on the screen, all bloody, then things go blurry, then there are bloody smears, then it goes dark. "You Have Been KILLED" comes up on the screen. I usually berate him at this point. I say helpful things like, "Holy crap! Dead AGAIN! Why didn't you use your shotgun on that leopard? Did you remember to pick up the health pack by the shed or not? How many times do I say,'you have to push the button when the thingy is still GREEN!'?" He never even looks at me. The same thing happens when he plays Bass Fishing and Call of Duty. It's like he doesn't even want my help.

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  16. I think the polar vortex is coming home to Canada;sorry about that, I truly am!
    Here we have a forecast of plus seven celcius for Saturday ... with rain.
    If we promise to keep the Arctic air up here, do you guys think you could keep the damn rain at home? In, mYbe, California?
    I hatr typing on an iPad. My aim is terrible.

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  17. Oh, I don't know. When it's dry here (now), I worry about fire. We're likely to have more than usual, and the ones this year were big. Yes, Colorado was worse. When it rains too much, I worry about mudslides. Just last December, when it was POURING, some people lost their homes because they threatened to slide into the Ocean. Traffic can be horrid indeed if you live anywhere worth living. The smog issue has improved, but sometimes it still gets pretty bad. Christmas was brown and dirty and horrid and we couldn't burn wood fires because of the smog.

    Earthquakes I don't worry much about. That's like worrying about a tornado. If it happens, it happens, and you hope for the best. I don't LIKE them, though. Used to think they were cool...everyone is going about their daily lives, and then and suddenly for a few minutes, everyone is thinking about the same thing. Turn on the talk radio stations, and everyone is calling in with numbers. "That one was definitely at least a 4.5, but nowhere near a 5.0", that kind of thing. Fun. I was in SF in 1989, and that one was not fun. The only one I've been in where I thought I might die for a minute or two. And then the news of people dying in Oakland was horrid.

    In other words, LaFF has some valid points, but your jokey jabs were not off the mark entirely. It's like making fun of you for the humid summers and frigid winters, right?

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  18. Oh, and Mary G, thank you! Yes, please send rain out to us in CA. We're getting pathetic. I have friends visiting in February, and I want to show off and have the hills be green, not brown and dead.

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  19. J@jj--Yes, ma'am, it is. Sigh. It got all the way up to 28 here today. AND WE HAD SUN! I felt like I was on a tropical vacation. LOL.

    Mary G.--I will take all the rain necessary to melt this damned snow. After that, I'm sending it to JellyJules.

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