Monday, January 10, 2011

Snow Day

Jennifer's Caddy in front of our house today.

We got a little over 4 inches of snow early this morning. It fell after midnight and I was actually a little surprised to see so much of it this morning at 6:45. I waited around for awhile, drank coffee, and logged into work. Not much out there. One of my employees phoned to say she would be late today. Her voice message was in my email.

I waited until it was daylight enough then walked down my driveway to the road. The snow was powdery, made a nice dry crunch, and was easy to walk in. Its texture was such that you couldn't make much of a snowman. It was deep enough to cover my boots. They got about 6 inches of snow just ten miles or so north of us. As I walked down the drive I noticed that it was completely, totally, and utterly quiet. There was no wind, no motors, no dogs, nothing. Stillness. I could see my breath.

The road was slushy but drive-able. I ate breakfast, changed into my old-fashioned overalls and let my old Subaru warm up awhile. I figured I'd give everyone a smile at work today wearing my old-timer's attire. I made my lunch and packed up and drove into work about 9am. I knew from the internet there would not be any more snow for awhile but there might be some freezing rain in the late-afternoon.

I don’t know what the hell I was thinking. The major highway that runs about 2 miles from my house hardly had anyone on it, mostly arrogant four-wheel drives but a few regular trucks too. No Subarus though. The highway was very slippery from the packed snow. Maintenance crews had obviously been out but there was still stretches of several hundred yards of solid white packed snow to drive on. My car shifted numerous times but I made it through with the trusty front-wheel drive and constant 25 MPH. I drove the whole way in without anyone behind me until I got closer to the middle of town.

Not a human soul was at work when I got there. This was about 9:30 am and I pulled into a pristine snow covered parking lot. Not a mark on it. It was beautiful even though I was being stupid for having driven this far to see it. I called my boss, the president of the company, on my cell.

He told me he had been checking some things on his large farm before coming in to work. But, he had slipped and fallen once when getting out of his truck. He lives much further out and on a less maintained road. He said they had gotten a couple of more inches than at my house. Anyway, he sure as hell wasn’t coming it. “It’s probably going to be worse in the morning,” I aloud and he agreed, especially if we got much ice later.

I returned home uneventfully, taking my time. But, when I got back I couldn’t get the 1991 station wagon up the driveway. I kept spinning out about one-third of the way up. The grade was just a bit too steep and the snow too thick. So, I parked the car off to the side at the end of the driveway and walked up, carrying my routine jug of filtered water that I drink every day at work. It sloshed in solitude. The sight of Jennifer’s car covered in snow against the backdrop of my house was gorgeous. I stopped for a second, felt less stupid for the moment, and enjoyed the view all around. It was about 10:15.

I worked from home. I called all my employees and checked on them. One lives in Chattanooga and said she got about 8 inches with snow still falling there. I told her to not worry about trying to come in tomorrow. We have a meeting planned with one of the partners but it will have to be rescheduled. I shot out a couple of proposals to account managers. I reviewed voicemails and send a few emails with various attachments. I spoke to our project manager about uploading more accounts to the database.

But, mostly I took short walks with the dogs. Talked to family on the phone. Kept checking the internet regularly to see if we were going to get much ice. We didn’t, thankfully. Later in the afternoon my daughter taught Jennifer and I her version of dominoes. We played on a set Jennifer owned years before we married. We have never played a game with it before though I used to set them up in little spirals and other patterns when my daughter was a child and knock them over for her.

Today, I learned I really suck at dominoes. My first match or set or whatever you call it when you play three games in a series ended rather disastrously for me. I scored 99 to Jennifer’s 25 and my daughter won with 12. Several more games brought no better result. She thinks she’s something now, beating her parents so soundly.

Night came and the snow had melted just a bit in the late afternoon as the temperatures hovered right at freezing. You could hear the water dripping down the spillways of the gutters. What was a fine powder this morning became just a thin sheet of ice with tightly packed snow underneath. Instead of striding through it you had to pound it with your boots to walk. Just a mess, yet so wonderful earlier, before I stupidly drove into work on an obvious snow day, before being humilitated in my first attempt at dominoes.

We don’t get much snow around here (I've gone years without seeing snow, before starting this blog). It turns us all into elves when we do though. The snow is magic. It isn't the regular, routine part of winter that piles up on the side of the roads and turns black as the cold weeks go by. No way. Around here snow is still a novelty that finds the youthful places hiding in your heart.

My Subaru was a real trooper out there in the snow with those big, bad hemi trucks and their four-wheel drives. It got me to work when it didn't have to and never complained. It got me back home too. The tread marks you see are from my presistent attempts to get up my driveway.

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