Thursday, February 19, 2015

Blizzard of 2015: A Lifelong Snowstorm Playboy Is Forced to Act Like a Grown-up.

All of my long life, snow has meant great natural beauty and fun in a winter wonderland: time off from school or work, making a snowman or two, playing in the snow,  trudging around in it, and soaking it all up. My love for snowstorms has kept me a kid at heart in New England winters.

Up to now. In the last three weeks two ferocious blizzards, serial snowstorms dumping over a hundred inches of snow, below-zero freezing cold of historic proportions, wind gusts of 50 mph with a wind-chill factor of 30 below,  have forced me to be serious and act like an adult. An amazing thought, I know, for anyone who knows me.

Here are couple of views  of our place that I had to take seriously.

What I saw when I opened our garage door after the latest storm.

The scene when I opened the door to look out at our back deck.

Barbara sent these and other photos to our daughter Misha who lives in the Seattle area.  She texted back: "Wow!! That's a lot of snow! Today, we are going to have a picnic at the beach! LOL. Wish you were here! You might want to consider spending your winters in Seattle!"

Then she sent us a photo of flowers she just planted in her yard, below right. "Spring is here!" she wrote. She was right. While Worcester where we live was officially the snowiest city in the entire country, the west coast, and especially Seattle, was enjoying an unseasonably  warm, springlike weather.

Misha didn't need us to tell her about the weather we were having here in New England.  With the story running nonstop on all national TV networks, she could hardly miss it.

For three weeks, the TV networks have been a continuous graphic display and accounting of the storm's impact: the collapse of the "T," the state bus and railway system, stranding thousands of commuters; traffic stalled for two and three hours on snow-packed highways; roads blocked with mountains of snow; collapsed roofs; cars buried in snow.

Our New England storm even made the front page of The New York Times on Wednesday, January 28.  Not only that, it was the lead story.  That is saying something because the Times is an old, storied, and respected newspaper with a worldwide reach and influence. I've been addicted to it for 53 years.

Still, as is my habit, I didn't feel any great need to take this series of powerful storms too seriously. That was for  scaredy cats who never learned to appreciate and enjoy winter. When the first giant storm came, I just went out to have fun  and take some photos.

But within minutes,  powerful wind gusts -- which I later found out had a wind chill factor of 30 degrees below zero -- stopped me cold, literally. Although I was dressed warmly with layers, hat, and gloves, my face was freezing.

In all the years that I have been going out playing in snowstorms, that had never happened.  I later read that wind gusts this cold on exposed skin can cause serious frostbite in ten minutes.  If I had kept walking,  it would have been a big mistake.

I only got one photo, but a very interesting one, at least in my opinion.   First, I noticed the American flag, proud, defiant, rising above the huge snow piles. Then, looking into my camera, I noticed a shadow against a wall of snow. With the sun out behind me, the shadow was me. I took the picture, shown below.

Normally, I love to shovel.  But this snow was several feet high in my driveway, on my roof, and on my back deck.  Also, I have a bone-on-bone arthritic hip that needs replacement, which I expect will be done early in the spring.

Lucky for me, my neighbor Tom knew of my hip problem and came over and snow blowed my front walk and driveway.  Talk about a good neighbor!  Thank you, Tom!

But my roof remained piled high with snow and more and more roofs were collapsing under the weight. What happens is that snow on the roof compacts, freezes, and turns into ice -- which weighs eight times more. Eight pounds of snow becomes 64 pounds of ice, greatly increasing the chance of collapse.

No thanks, I thought. With my hip pain moderate and manageable, I climbed up on the roof and started shoveling. I had been up there only a half hour or so when Tom came running over with a shovel.

"What are you doing up there?" he said, clearly annoyed.

"Look at all that snow on the roof. It's got to get off there."

Shaking his head, Tom climbed up on the roof and we shoveled together for nearly three hours. The photo below shows Tom on my roof working away. Working nonstop, we got a huge amount of snow off the roof, enough to make me feel better.  

Then more snow and more piling on the roof. With the number of collapsed roofs rising, the new snow had to get off.

 "Don't you go up there," Barbara ordered.

"I won't," I said. "Don't worry."

I lied.

I borrowed a roof rake from another good neighbor, Gabe. Standing on a ladder leaning on the roof, I raked huge amounts of snow from the roof.  I also got up on the roof and shoveled.

First there was the standing on the ladder. Then throwing the rake up.  Then dragging the snow off the roof.  It took about five hours over two days.

Barbara caught me on the roof but didn't call me a dirty rotten liar. She was pleased the roof was done. We didn't have to worry about it falling on top of us.
I think she was happy I was still alive.  I think anyway.  (Psst, do me a favor:  ask her and let me know. Thanks.) Anyway she took the photo, above, of  her liar husband.

I have no idea why I was able to do all that work with this bad left hip and with hardly noticeable pain. But I got it done.


Now I can relax.

OMG! I just heard on the news that a new arctic front is coming this weekend.

Ugh! The winter from Hell!

So long and keep moving.

NOTE:  Read my latest novel, Something Tells Her, for FREE on Kindle Unlimited. Go to Amazon. 

Jane is abandoned at birth and then placed in ever-changing, uncaring,  and often abusive foster homes. At age 12, her latest foster father makes a sexual advance on her and, with something telling her this is not right, she runs out the door. On the street, alone, no family, nobody, not even a last name, how is she going to survive? 

Other E-Books by George Pollock

"State Kid: Hero of Literacy" is fiction based on his real-life experiences growing up in foster homes; "Last Laughs," is the true story of how five foster kids (he and four younger siblings) found their way in life and each other. "Killers: Surprises in a Maximum Security Prison," is the story of his being locked up for 23 hours with killers in a maximum security prison; "I, Cadaver" is about his postmortem adventures and mischief in the anatomy lab at UMass Medical School. “A Beautiful Story” demonstrates the art and process of creative writing as a 16-year-old boy goes all out to write a story that literally saves his life. "Something Tells Her" is the story of a 12 year old foster girl who runs away from her latest abusive foster home.  How on earth is she going to survive? Well, she has ... something. What?

Labels: , , , ,