We’re on Winter Storm Watch here in Minnesota, the first snow fall of the season is eminent. Forecasters are all over themselves in a virtual orgy of forecasting prognostica.
Prognostica is a new word that I just invented, thank you very much. Language being born, it’s a beautiful thing. It comes from the root “prognosticate” which means to forecast or predict and “euphoria” a feeling of great overwhelming joy. It describes the near blissful state that weather forecasters whip themselves into when the weather becomes actual news. 4 years of metrological sciences at St. Cloud State finally paying off when a weather dude gets to sit with the anchors at the top of the news and show concern. Prognistica- feel free to use it with attribution.
The weather dudes and dudettes are saying this evening we could see snow fall in excess of 4” in some parts of the metro. In my house 4” is sometimes described as 8” depending on what we’re measuring.
Like Pergo flooring for example, you have to leave some space for expansion…
They’re also say that since this is a very “skinny” storm the band of snow could be as little as 30miles wide, we could see as little as 0” in some parts of the Metro. And since the roads are warmish, we could see snow that melts on contact which would be negative inches if you follow my logic.
So restated correctly this evening the Twin Cities is under a Winter Storm Suggestion, not sure it warrents a full on warning, meaning there is a chance that we could see anywhere from -2” to 4” of snow depending on where you live and what you’ve done to offend your God.
Personally I’ll either hunker down, fasting and repenting while watching TV or I’ll head out to my Lodge meeting. Depends on fury of the flakes.
I love me a good Indian Summer. With all due respect to my native friends, or rather friend I think I only have one official Native American friend, official in that he’s an enrolled member of a tribe, I think he said I could still say Indian Summer. My definition of Indian Summer is a few weeks of gorgeous delightfully pleasant weather we get after the first nip of winter weather, usually in October. It’s a good thing, like the Indians are bringing us something nice before the cold sets in, aka the Thanksgiving Myth of happy Pilgrims free from the religious oppression of Europe, landed in America where they could now become the oppressors rather than the opressees enjoying a delightful meal of turkey, cornbread, garlic mash and green bean casserole with the benevolent and loving Wampanoag people who forgave them that enslavement deal for a couple days and brought them good things to eat and helped the survive the winter.
I digress. Indian Summer. Then I think about April 2013 in Minnesota. After three nice days in March we got an extra month of winter around here. Snow, and lots of it, cold temperatures, nothing thawed like it was supposed too… are there is there a name for that extra winter? Something about a people who gives promises of good times to come and then swipes them away? What COULD we call that? Hmmm.
What have we been through here in Minnesota? Local weather guy Paul Douglas pointed out that between Sunday morning and Tuesday afternoon there places in this state that experienced a 100 degree change in temperatures.
Paul Douglas is full of crap. There’s no way that it was more than 70 degrees. Childs play for the land of lakes where weather is a theatre controlled by the same unerring laws of natures that govern the movement of the planets in the orbits and rotation of our Earth around its axis, which is what really creates the unending progression of seasons which delight us so here in Minnesota, and fill our conversations with incessant whining while at the same time giving us pride and collective strength as we brag to friends and family less subject to Mother Nature’s inclemency’s that to live here takes guts and fortitude not found in more southerly climes.
To which I say, in the tenderest manner, bull<space>shit. My son, the Alabama guy, spit his McDonalds diet coke all over the front window of my car when he heard on the radio, on Sunday afternoon, a day when it didn’t get out of the 40′s, that by Tuesday we would be dealing with “extreme” heat, maybe even pushing…. 90 degrees.
We may be proud of the fact that there are times here when stepping outside in the wrong clothing could be fatal in a matter of minutes and that we survive it, but give us a little heat and we melt like fucking popsicle. Shee it.
I remember the one and only time I took by precious bride to visit my folks in Stockton California. It was August. Mid August, oven season in the Great Central Valley. We had started our journey (and this is the only appropriate use of the word friends. Your weight loss, professional development, childrearing years etc. are not Journeys, stop using that word for that stuff, it’s just gawd damned annoying.) in San Francisco, it was about 60 degrees. As we made our way over the Altamont Pass and descended into the valley, where on a clear day in winter you can easily see across the valley from the Altamont to the Sierra Nevada, a distance of about 100 miles, there was nothing but shimmering heat and haze. We pulled into Stockton the comfort of our car AC cranking away and passed the bank when Mrs S made the following comment, “It’s 1:15? I thought it was like 3:00.”
When we stopped and opened the door to the car, she realized her mistake. It was 3:00 and it was every bit of 115. Brutal. But not like I didn’t go out and do things back in the day, after all it’s a dry heat eh? We must not have invented dehydration before about 1980 because I can’t ever remember anyone ever worrying about it, or about us kids paying out side in the heat. Hell they MADE us play in the heat, and told us not to drink water to avoid cramping up.
Strange times we live in, why I hear nowadays parents’ chain smoking in cars with the widows closed is bad for the children in some way. That was a game even Granndma got into. Smoking that is.
So where in Minnesota we’ve passed the season where a can of beer in your gloved hand starts freezing in about 5 minutes and finally, FINALLY seems to have reached a point where the snow, at least sticking snow, is behind us for 4 or 5 months. Not saying we won’t have another frost yet, but snow is probably gone. Today I smelled my first cut lawn, neighbors are starting to get out there with their mowers and hacking away. The raking is in fill swing. Street sweepers came along today to harvest as much of the winters sand and gravel as they could, streets are clean, flowers are budding, things are looking up.
Ooo Morels will be here soon, now THAT is good news.
And then you realize the days get shorter in 4 short weeks. Happy Summer everyone.
Wisconsin fishing opener this weekend. Traditionally I’d be out on the lake, at least I’d consider it an option. But this year that won’t be happening, I have another responsibility. Team Sank is off to Houghton Michigan this instead. Yay us. Crazy to think that I’m old enough to have a college graduate. Crazier still, that on May 3rd I have to think about a gawd damned snow storm.
The snow that falleth in May, doth smite my hope in the promise of spring.
In otherwords I continue to grow weary of this fucking weather.
Here’s a picture of lake, taken this morning by the nice folks at Sherrard’s Resort who I’m sure would like to be open and running a resort the first weekend in May, fishing opener in Wisconsin and all, as opposed to whatever it is they are doing at the moment up there. Sure ain’t boating or fishing.
See that white stuff out there? That’s ice. We’re still frozen. We got 12 inches of snow at Blake Lake last night. Fairbault, just south of us, 18 inches. Previous record for the entire month of May… 3 inches.
Looking at the picture I can’t help but feel a little down. I’d like to be out there on the boat about now.
Cold is a small price to pay to live in paradise.
Keeps down on the riff raff.
I don’t have to worry about mowing the lawn, or doing any yard work.
No mosquito’s. I don’t have to worry about malaria or dengue.
I haven’t re-strung my fishing reels yet, have more time to do that.
I get to take my first annual May cross country skiing trip.
The local ski resort can reopen, for the 3rd time.
I don’t have to overload my refrigerator, nature is providing a free one.
I get one last snow cocktail- root beer schnapps and snow.
Summer sledding party.
Don’t need to buy sunscreen yet.
The more I think the more I can enjoy this weather.
April 17, 2013- St. Paul Minnesota, state of Narnia.
I have dudes in my backyard with goat hooves now. Looking for a bunch of kids in a wardrobe somewhere.
4 more inches of snow tonight. More snow tomorrow. More snow Friday. Windchills in the teens, highs in the 30’s… blah blah blah.
I’ve lost rational thought about the winter that will not end.
I swear to G-d, I may take PunxsutawneyPhil to court and sue him for, for um.. hell I’m going to find something. Breech of freaking trust. Stupid woodchuck said early spring. You know, even if the little rat had seen his gawddamned shadow and even if we had six more weeks of winter it still would have ended on March 16, that’s 6 freaking weeks ago.
Fucking rat is dead next time I see’m. Jus say’n.
In conversation with a highly regarded consultant, a fellow who knows all there is to know about everything explained the weather issues to me this way:
G-d has forsaken us.
Not sure there are any other explanations for this, we’ve tried everything else.
I’m thinking that I’m going to go on a fast until this weather breaks. Actually, pretty brilliant idea if I don’t say so myself. If summer ever does come, I’ll be in thong form.
Question is why? I think it’s because we re-elected Michelle Bachmann. She’s about as anti-God as they come. This is a little dire people. It means, and this is going to be hard to accept, but until Michelle steps down, winter will continue.
Hope you like sledding in July.
This morning I was reading local meteorologist Paul Douglas’s column in the Star Tribune. He’s worried that when summer does come, and he still thinks it will, I’m skeptical, ti will come fast and furious, like in one afternoon. Temps will go from 20’s overnight to 108 in the afternoon.
According to Douglas, that means we’re going to be due for a particularly violent tornado season. Something about gradients and temperature variances.
Sheez, Endless snow, followed by cataclysmic storms… I think then its frogs, boils, blood and death of the first born.
1) I have to write an outline for project at NamelessFaceless next week.
A)I love outlines.
B) I think in outlines.
Oh the humanity of it all. 14 March- Broken Bone Day in Minnesota.
The Cities were hit with a wintery mix of ice and snow overnight Wednesday. In that order, which makes a difference because.. the snow covered the ice, which resulted in people flying in all directions and not of their own accord:
- Your favorite old fat ass fell on said ass not once, but twice on the ice. Twice in the same morning I made contact with the sidewalk in a way that I’m loathe to repeat.
Aside here- you know, I’ve lived here in the Great Del Norte Blanco for 18 years and in that time have actually never slipped on wild ice. Meaning ice that wasn’t where it was supposed to be. I have slipped on lake ice, but that’s kinda of expected. But on the street never. Twice in one morning.
Neither fall was particularly devastating.
The first one was one was a face plant where the feet went south whilst the head went north. I broke my fall with right hand, my left successfully hanging on to a cup of coffee that I’m proud to say, leaked not.
The second fall, that was more of a death spiral where the plant foot begins to rotate in a clockwise direction and, being unable to stop it, one attempts to mitigate the fall by sort of rolling to the ground in the same direction. The bad news on that kind of fall, more of my um, expansive shall we say, surface area came in contact with the street resulting in wet pants.
Wet dress pants. Which in the words of George Orwell is Doubleplusungood.
But I wasn’t alone
- Friend of mine broke his leg falling yesterday. While he was in the emergency room his wife counted no less than 10 others in assorted arms, legs plus a couple hips for good measure.
- Several people in my cube farm reported difficulties with traction and gravity. And these aren’t oldsters like me.
Still, it’s a small price to pay for the privilege of living in paradise. I have a rather narrow definition of paradise but it looks something like this (as long as I’m in the list making mode.)
“List making mode” you ask, “wtf is that?” Thanks for asking, it’s that thing where you lack the creativity and impetus to string more than two sentences together so you hit the “Bullet” button on your word processor and then you get a list of stuff that people mistake for coherent thoughts but really were just lazy drivel. Drivel BTW is the old English term for “blog”. You can use them interchangeably sayeth I. See what I did there? Old English, sayeth, clever eh?
If anyone has gotten down this far, personally would have hit next on my Flipboard reader about three paragraphs ago, my definition of Paradise is a place with the following attributes:
Warm place to shit.
Other than that I’m not sure what else you need. The Baseball package would be nice too.
So would a lake.
But that’s it.
Oh, add good coffee. What’s good coffee you ask?
Dark roasted Arabica beans.
Ground seconds before brewing.
Made strong, like I like my women. And my opinions.
Made by someone else and brought to me.
Quiet would be nice too. No talking in Paradise. Well, no conversation anyway. I find conversation in my house to be really really difficult because everyone else won’t stop talking. F’n exhausting.
Maybe a conversation with some interesting folks. Hmm.. that would be cool for short periods of time.
As you can see Paradise is unattainable, at least in my current existence, but three out of four on these two lists ain’t bad. Notice what Paradise isn’t:
Beaches and palm trees. I find beaches interesting only when storms are coming in or when cool dead things are washing up on shore. Other than that I get bored after a few nanoseconds. Palm trees BTW, dirty trees that drop things on you like coconuts and palm fronds, which in my experience can seriously kill you. Gimmie a pine tree. Looks nice and kills the grass under it. Call that “self-maintaining”.
Swimsuit models at my beck and call. Unless they’re bringing me coffee I really have no use for a bunch of scantly clad babes. At some point they’re going to want to strike up a conversation with me and conversations.. this is my paradise, no talking. BTW just one reason why I’ve never embraced radical Islamic terrorism, the promise of 100 virgins to me sounds like spending eternity locked in a house with 100 teenage girls. I would seriously put that on a list with a different title if you know what I’m saying.
Free Golf. Not even going to bother with that one.
Bottomless glasses of 25 year old single malt.. Boy that’s a toughie but you know, but I certainly don’t to spend half my time in Paradise hung.
There you have it..
But Sank, this makes no sense whatsoever, what’s this drivel blog about? Fact is I’ve spent the last several weeks spending much of my waking hours in PowerPoint. 4 bullet point lists are the backbone of American business these days. I remember when a “deck” was something you stood on when you walked out your back window. Now it’s a way for Business Folks to measure accomplishments. The bigger the deck the more accomplished you are.
I, want to be accomplished. Four lists which are only slightly connected. I might have earned an MBA.
Another weekend at the Summer Palace, as it currently sits encased in ice.
The plan was to spend the entire weekend up there; fishing, reading, watching movies… big fun in the months before I hit 50. Was not to be however, I forgot the hated CPAP machine. I’ve become so dependent on it that I was dreading sleeping on Friday night. Dreading it enough that I thought perhaps some self-medicating would be in order. Not a bad idea really. This was the first time since I got the machine back in November that I’ve attempted to sleep without one.
Bad old days revisited. Aside from tossing and turning, I woke several times to gagging and choking. Finally after fighting long enough I got up about 5:15, made some coffee and tried to doze on the sofa. Won’t make that stupid mistake again. A mistake made even more stupid when I tell you that I had the thing packed and ready to go on at the door. Just didn’t pick it up for some reason.
Some lame reason.
I am a moron.
Despite being sleepless in Wisconsin I did manage a great day on the lake. The weather on Saturday was perfect with a capital “P”. Sunny, about 27 degrees.
The plan was to bypass my shitty little lake and head over to Big Round Lake, a lake that the guide books refer to as a “Tier 1″ fishery. I’ve certainly done well out there in the past.
The not so recent past mind you.
Big Round a massive body of water compared to lil’ole Blake Lake. It’s about 1000 acres or so, and as it’s name describes, quite round. Structure wise there’s really only a few places on the lake to fish. Most of it is a big shallow basin. Here and there are some decent rock piles. I found one of those rock piles years ago and entered into my GPS. I replaced my GPS and with that move lost the coordinates. That lake is so big that without it, and with 5 years since I was out there last, it’s difficult to triangulate with shore line references, and I’m not good with a sextant. Used to be a grass island out in the middle of the lake that I could use to find the rocks, they were about 1000 meters east and south of the reeds. For some reason the reeds are gone now and I was totally lost. Could just drive out to where everyone else was I guess, and there were a ton of people out there.
Note, as I write this I realize that the old GPS is in fact sitting on the counter at the lake, I showed to my friend. I’m quite certain that the coordinates are there, and had I had a decent nights sleep and 5 less bourbons the night before I might have thought this through.
Well, I tried finding the magic spot and paid a price. Got the Durango stuck out there on the lake. That has never happened before. Usually that tank can get through anything. There was only about 10″ of snow on the lake, but some how the perfect combination of snowpack and ice had me dropping through the snow right on to lake ice and the result was spinning tires. Lots of spinning. Lucky I had a shovel and a good friend with experience in these matters, Californians don’t have a tremendous amount of experience digging cars out of frozen lakes. After a 1/2 hour of digging, pushing, rocking and so forth we got the truck rolling again and I was able to drive, at some speed mind you, to the hardpacked snow and we were safe. My friend has happy to report that he burned off a piece of bacon he’d eaten for breakfast. We are both doing weight watchers. I didn’t mention that we’d each eaten about 4 pieces of pork belly not to mention two cinnamon rolls a piece. So, we could stand to dig for a couple and hours and still skip lunch, dinner and the following days breakfast to make up for it.
With that experience behind me I declared, with some conviction, “Fuck this I’m going to where I know”. Which in this case is Big Blake Lake. And we did. Drove on the lake at the far northern access and proceeded to drive straight down the lake, observing the “No Wake” zone in the narrows, just like I do in the summer. I had a spot in mind, a spot I don’t fish much in the summer but seemed to me that it should be good in the winter, bottom is boulders mixed with some weeds.
This was the last weekend for tip-up fishing in Wisconsin, game fish closed Sunday, and I’m still in pursuit of some pike.
Didn’t get any pike but I did slay the sunfish. My guess is I caught about 25ish over the course of 3 hours. My buddy pulled up another 10 or 15.. great day. So good that at one point I stopped baiting the hook in a “catching avoidance” mode so I could warm up a cold index finger.
The Dog seemed to enjoy himself. He likes ice fishing. Chance to run around all over the lake. He also likes that hole, that amazing hole in the ground that fish come out of. Spends a lot of time watching it, that is until his feet get cold, then he climbs up in my lap. Dumbshit. Won’t sit in the car however, has to be on the lake and in my lap.
All in all it was a great day out there. Warm, fish biting, sunny weather.. chatted with some neighbors I’d never met, very nice day on the lake. Along the way caught some intel on Balsam Lake, big crappies coming out of that lake. Give me something to do next time I get up there, in two weeks.
Saturday night I got back in town in time to watch Auburn/Vanderbilt basketball with the Mrs. Good news is we saw our son in the crowd a couple times. The boy lives. Good news, and he looked good so they’re feeding him down in Alabama.
Sunday was reserved for work, home work like cooking and shopping and work work. Seems that since 2013 started I’ve not had a weekend that I didn’t spend at least half a day working. I don’t mind too much, just gets to be much when I try to fit in a play day and don’t make it to the store.
Mrs S likes to look in the trash after I throw things away. Fish them out again and put them in the proper receptacle, the trash receptacle.
Pisses her off.
As she pulls out a plastic bottle and waves it my face…
“You know you’re contributing to global warming lazy.”
“-11 this morning, we could use a little global warming.”
Not what she wanted to hear. “You and your attitude are going straight to Hell you know that?” “Hmm can’t be that bad, the don’t recycle there.”
Blah blah blah
We really could stand a tish of global warming around here, it was freezing this morning. Much colder than it should be the end of February. When the kids were small, and winters were colder, I remember that by the end of February it was hard to keep the outdoor ice rinks nice. Not this year. Friggin cold walking to the bus stop. Legs went numb.
Then again, being a Minnesotan I reserve the right to laugh at the cold and did take the garbage cans out to the curb in my shorts.
Went to the gym this evening. Wore shorts for the first time since October. I don’t particularly like shorts. Feel nekkid in shorts. I like wearing jeans. I’d wear jeans every day if I could, unfortunately I have to wear dress clothes to work. In 2013 it’s a little absurd if you ask me. You can tell who works at my company on the busses, we’re the ones in suits and ties.
Well ties anyway. I don’t wear a suit anymore. I have several suits, I just don’t wear them. Mrs S is forcing me to go the gym in part, because I don’t wear my suits. They were nice. Don’t know of they’re nice anymore because I haven’t tried to wear them for awhile. For a good reason mind you. That’s why I’m going back to the gym.
Last weekend I sold my Nook color on Craigslist. Met the buyer at McDonalds. He sent me a note describing himself. Tall blonde dude. I sent him a text back “Bald fat guy”. Mrs. S pointed out that it feels wrong to describe yourself as a bald fat guy. Fuck that, it is what it is. “I don’t like describing my husband as a ‘bald fat guy’”.
She’s a little pissed off today. She got a letter yesterday that she wasn’t all that happy to get, she recieved her invitation to join the AARP. Retired Persons Union. She’s turning 50 tomorrow, my old lady. For 6 months anyway. I suggested that I should look into trading her in on two 25 year olds. She replied that it made sense that I’d want two wives since I’m twice a fat as I was when we got married.
I ain’t marrying any 25 year old until I get that AARP letter out of the garbage disposal. Jammed the thing up pretty good.
Not quite. 25% bigger, not 2X.
I hate going to the gym. I especially hate going when it’s -11 degrees. I wore shorts because I wasn’t too interested in changing in the locker room. “Why won’t you change in the locker room?” she asked. “Don’t want my stuff to get ripped off.” “Use that lock” she said, pointing to the my bag. There’s a lock hanging off my bag, but I can’t remember the combo. “When was the last time you opened the lock?” “It was the last time I went to the gym.” She looked at me.. “oh so back in the 90’s huh? I guess I’d forget too.”
90’s? Shit I have proof that I belonged to the YMCA between 2009 and 20122. I assure you I went every year. Usually in January.
Whenever the subject of ice fishing comes up and I’m talking with people who don’t ice fish inevitably the questions come…
Most common, one word “why?”
There’s also “What’s the attraction?” or the more personal “are you outta your mind?”
It’s hard to explain the attraction of sitting out on a frozen lake at 3 degrees for 3 hours looking down a hole. Usually an unproductive hole at that.
But it’s not just about the fishing.
If you live in this climate you have two choices in winter, stay inside and bitch about the weather, or get out in it and enjoy yourself, it does have it’s charms. I’m also going to admit that I don’t sit in the boat in the summer and think about how much I want to the lake to freeze up so I can get out on the ice. It’s more of dealing with the situation at hand, and taking pleasure from what the season brings, no matter the season.
I’m not going to try to snow anyone [thank you very much] and sell winter in Minnesota or Wisconsin as something it’s not, it is extreme. When it’s 10 below things become a little harder to do, the pain in the ass factor goes up significantly. But it’s not a prison sentence, you aren’t, or rather don’t have to be, housebound. You can dress for the cold and be quite comfortable. Winter clothes these days have come a long way. They can be light weight, they can breathe, you don’t have to seal yourself up in a snowmobile suit.
Once you get past the fear of the cold you find a frozen lake is quite a different experience from what it is during the summer.
Ice fishing is the great equalizer amongst fisherman. In the summer the line between “haves” and “have nots” is defined by a boat. If you have a boat, you’re a fisherman. If you don’t, you’re regulated to the shore line and as a former shoreline guy, it can suck. It can be good, but mostly, it sucks. In the winter, everyone can get to any spot on the lake regardless of boats or equipment, the can walk out out, drive out, take a sled or an ATV, and for a few short months all the hot spots on a lake are open to everyone. It’s angling democracy at it’s best.
And you don’t have to worry about draining your livewell or pulling the weeds off your trailer.
I’ve written about this before, in the winter the lakes are quiet. Except for the occasional drone of a 2 stroke auger or a snowmobile speeding down the lake it’s amazingly quiet. The only sound out there, the wind in the trees and the sounds of the birds. If you’ve never experienced that kind of vast silence, and I say it that way on purpose, you should give yourself a chance sometime. You can put your fingers in your ears or put on some noise canceling headphones and get silence, but it’s confined and contrived. The vastness of an empty landscape brings a different kind of quiet, it’s not that you can’t hear, it’s that there are long stretches where there is simply nothing too hear. That alone is worth the price of admission.
The snow creates its own beauty. Stark, white, cold. the sunrises over ice are spectacular as the snow picks up blues and purples from the shy and reflects those colors back in a cold impressionist view.
And because it is so quiet when there is something to hear, it carries a long way. The honking of a flock of geese 10 minutes before you see them clear the trees and go right overhead. A coyote mournfully calling across the lake somewhere, or maybe further, hard to tell in the winter. My personal favorite, a Barred Owl hooting the “who cooks for you” Who cooks for you” call. Owls are the first sentinels of the spring BTW. As soon as the days start getting longer they’re out looking for mates and nesting spots and by February have eggs laid and chicks on the way. Hearing a barred owl is one of my favorite northwoods experiences.
Wildlife is a little less weary in the winter and certainly is easier to find thanks to the lack of brush on the trees and plants in the fields. On Saturday last week I had the pleasure of watching a mink playing in the snow. Apparently he’s living under my canoe. Last year it was an otter under there. The mink was wandering back along the shoreline, make use of several snow tunnels he’d dug when he suddenly noticed a group of guys out on the lake. For the next 20 minutes dive into the snow, popping his head up from time to time to see if we were still there. Finally the call of home became too much and he risked the dash across open field to get to his house.
Being a nice guy I dumped the leftover minnows in front of his den, I’m sure they were appreciated.
While I was sitting out there I was treated to a flock of swans flying just over my head. Enormous birds that make a tremendous racket, but at the same time, a treat to see. Usually they don’t like to come near people. Finally, the coup de grace, if you’re really really lucky, and the night is clear, winter is the best time to see the Aurora. The greens and reds dancing in that night sky over a frozen lake is a experience reserved for the hearty, as it’s might cold at night. But it’s worth every second, had to be one of natures most amazing works of art.
Ok not exactly related to ice fishing, but if I wasn’t up there for the fishing, I’d never see the Northern Lights, and that’s worth the drive alone.
Cool this morning here in the great white north. It’s not as white up here as it has been this time of year, we have about 4” of snow on the ground around the Casa. “Normal” for this time of year would be about 12” or more. Apparently if we had had that much snow on the ground we could expect temps overnight to be 15 degree colder than it was. Well, when I got up this morning the old creaky thermometer on the deck was reporting a brisk 15 degrees below zero. For those of you tracking in Celsius that’s -26. Etch glass with your nipples at those temps.
Don’t care who’ya’are, that’s cold. 30 below would have been frigid.
At 15 the weather service issues the following warning, taken directly from their site:
This will result in
frost bite and lead to hypothermia if precautions are not taken.
When venturing outdoors… make sure you wear a hat and gloves.
Is that something we have to tell people? I’m wonder if there are in fact people who rely on this information to decide to wear a hat and gloves. News didn’t say anything about coats. A coat is more important in the overall scheme of things when thinking about hypothermia, than a hat or a glove. If I go outside wearing a hat and gloves but no coat, and freeze to death in the process, does my family have the right to sue the Weather Service for withholding critical information that could have prevented my demise?
I’m just ask’n.
This morning I broke the law. 99.9 percent of the time I’m a law abiding citizen. Prison is a great deterrent for me, a soft pinkish flabby fat man with moobs and no ability to defend himself wouldn’t last long in prison. Pretty sure I’d be sold for a pack of cigs. On the other hand I think prisons are smoke free now. Good, put the soft doughy dude into a pen of convicts who are participating in an involuntary smoking cessation program. Excellent.
So here’s what I did, ready.. I warmed up the car.
Yup, I backed the Durango out of the garage and left it running in the driveway to warm up. In Minneapolis I’ve learned it is illegal to leave a car running in the driveway with the keys in it. If you have a car starter, a popular northland accessory, press a button on your key chain and the car starts itself, you are limited to 3 minutes. A police man with a stopwatch could come by and cite you.
The reasons I’ve heard cited by the Social Engineers in this State-
- Risk of having your car stolen.
OK fair enough. But regulating me to keep my car from being stolen is lame. Saves police work ok.. but just say you’re not going to look for it because your too busy, like you do when the steal my car in every other circumstance.
- Wasting gas.
OK, this blows past lame and into the general realm of moronic. Yes I’m wasting gas. My gas that I paid $3.50 a gallon for, I’m going Libertarian on this and suggest it’s none of their beezos.
Turns out most cities in Minnesota have similar ordinances. Warming up the car is illegal.
You know what, at -15F we are approximately 20 degrees colder than the inside of my freezer. If stepped in from the outside and into my freezer, I’d be taking shit off, like my hat and gloves.
This morning I pulled the car into the driveway, popped Judas Priest in the CD player, little “Break’n the Law” and watched as the CD player promptly ejected the disc and flashed “error” on the screen. Too cold for the CD player. Windows fogged with my second breath. Not sure how that happens when most off the moisture in my breath instantly crystalized and dropped into my lap. More argument for warming up the car, decided to add another 10 minutes to the warm up time after that. When back in the house and 20 minutes later I crawled into the toasty warm truck and off to work I went. CD Player working fine.
The first snowfall of the season came Sunday. Going into Sunday night we had a 11.5 inch deficit in seasonal snowfall. I believe the words “snow drought” were being thrown around. By Sunday night we were at a 1.5” surplus. Instant winter. Sunday morning Mrs S came down stairs to find me nursing a cup of coffee, aimlessly staring out the window, eyes a little moist. “What’s the matter honey?”, empty nesting has us growing more cuddly.
“I’m sad today”
“I don’t know, I’m kinda missing the boys all of a sudden?” Sniff.
She came over, put a hand on my shoulder and in the most understanding and loving voice ever said “You wish you had someone to go out and shovel the driveway don’t you?”
So it went. Wet, heavy, “widow maker” snow as they say. Lotta guy my age collapse and die in the driveway shoveling snow like what we had on Sunday. If you do the math, I moved about 2000lbs of snow one shovel at a time. No wonder my back was aching later. This whole situation was caused because I procrastinated one day too many to get gas for the snow thrower. In my defense I’ve been counseled to only use premium non-oxygenated gasoline in my small motors. The only place to get non-oxygenated gas is across town, a gas station that’s not on any of my usual routes. I would also have to remember to carry the gas can in the car, and really, that’s a lot of stuff to come together at one time for me. I need a reminder, and 12 inches of snow was a pretty good reminder.
I did get snow tires on Mrs S’s car in time for the snow. We mothballed the Durango this winter, the go to car for snow. This left me with some concerns that I might find myself snowed in this winter. The Scion is a fun/frightening winter driving experience, or as I refer to it, Mr Toads Wild Ride. Mrs S’s 16 year old Camry hasn’t been a great choice winter car either. Last year, pretty much a snow free winter, she still managed a few 180’s doing hard right turns. I suggested that it because she didn’t the after-market sway bar on her rear suspension, like my Scion does. (long stupid story) She’s not as open to feedback about driving as you would expect. Which was brought home when I let the “leadfoot” phrase slip out. I thought I was thinking in the privacy of my own mind, but alas, my mouth betrayed my mind and I found myself once wishing I had a 5 second delay on my speech.
New tires I’m happy to say made quite the difference. I took to Camry out to get to gas, groceries etc. Wow, call me impressed. Baby was a champ on the snow covered streets. I was passing SUV’s on the main drag, bitching the whole time about how slow people were driving. Matter of fact, since we didn’t have snow the last year or so, I think everyone forgot how to drive in the it and we went it collective panic.