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Monday, December 13, 2010

My People Call It “Maize” – er, Snow

Minneapolis received 700 feet of snow Saturday.

OK. Not seven hundred feet – a mere 17 inches.

But as we like to say up here, it’s not the cold, it's the wind - and those seventeen inches of snow were accompanied by a 40-mile-an-hour wind.

Now whose idea was that?

Yes, yes, I hear you. We all saw it coming, didn’t we? Winter is not, after all, a surprise.

What is a surprise is that it is not yet technically winter.

Nevertheless, here it is.

The snow arrived in aggressive fashion, has smothered vehicles in chilly lumps, driven itself between windows and screens, covered dryer vents in four-foot drifts.

The Metropolitan Transit Commission ceased all bus routes Saturday night; the airport closed; Mall of America Field/the Metrodome collapsed, moving the already-delayed Vikings/Giants game from Minneapolis to Detroit; and for several hours the Department of Transportation pulled even the snowplows off the streets.

And in the morning, we shoveled.

Oh, how we shoveled. Neighbors emerged, pale and blinking in the blindingly blue sky, be-hatted and be-booted, and did their best to shift the tons of snow that had landed on their weekend.

Which brings me to what I feel I must tell you today.

Alley snow.

Rumor has it that the Inuit have a hundred words for snow: the very cold snow that falls in individual flakes, the heavy wet snow that falls in clumps, the yellow snow that Frank Zappa wants you to steer clear of among them.

But do they have a word for alley snow?

That’s where I was Sunday: in the alley.

Deceptively heavy and prone to breaking off in mid-sized boulders when struck just so with a shovel, alley snow has two purposes: to keep you from leaving your garage and to provide future work for masseuses and chiropractors.

I shoveled quite a bit Sunday; and what’s more, I was a darned good sport about it. Bob, The Guy Next Door, came in and shoveled alongside Willie and I, and we sweated and shouted above the wind, slowly moving the snow from two driveways into the space between two garages and into the backyard, where it now stands in a monstrous heap a good foot taller than me.

My back is aching, I can no longer raise my arms above my head, and more snow is on its way.

And now? It’s bubble bath time.

I felt someone should know.

35 comments:

Jess said...

Well, I WAS going to complain about the cold, but after hearing this...

No, actually, I can still complain...you know why??! Because I live in the freakin SOUTH and it isn't supposed to be in the 20's. EVER. NEVER, EVER. That little light on your central heating that comes on because it is so damn cold outside your heater can't keep up...yeah, I keep seeing that light come on. COLD.

At least you get snow...that sounded pretty fun until the shoveling part.

haphazardlife said...

I feel your pain. I'm quite insulted actually that winter has arrived before it is legally winter. That is just wrong.

Of course this happens every year, but as soon as spring arrives, I sink deeply into denial and refuse to believe "that which must not be named" will ever return.

- Jazz

Big Fat Gini said...

I admit that I did think of you on Saturday when I saw that the high in Minneapolis was a whopping 2 degrees. I may or may not have giggled. A little.

I am a little jealous of the snow, though. It'll be 78 here on Wednesday which kind of makes my dreams of a White Christmas go down in flames. Again.

Flea said...

It's global warming. I blame Al Gore.

Pearl said...

:-) When I get a hold of the person who ordered up early winter...

a Broad said...

" You felt someone should know " ... is this partly due to the fact that IF you go missing, we will know where to tell the Rescue party to look ... In the backyard .. she's in the BACKYARD !!

Susan in the Boonies said...

I feel your frigidity.

Pearl said...

Absolutely. If I go missing, please poke long sticks into the snow mounds scattered about my neighborhood. I shall wear a red hat to aid in the rescue...

Eva Gallant said...

A nice hot bubble bath and a glass of bubbly was bound to make you feel better!

Oilfield Trash said...

I hate shoveling snow. It is why I left northwest Pa.

FirstNations said...

Well hello there! Good to see that someone else is suffering the same misery as we are here in Sumas. We too ran out of degrees. We too had snow. Of course it all melted and now the sky is blue and it's nearly 50f outside, and you are jealous (and possibly trapped beneath the glacier in your alley like a hapless wooly mammoth with a mouthful of buttercups and regret)but at one point we did have that in common. I suggest we band together and face our common foe: CANADA. This is where winter comes from. Once we have faced them, we should then run inside and have an Irish coffee.

Karen said...

The Pacific Northwest had snow a few weeks ago. Try to guess what happens when a place where winter means nothing except RAIN suddenly gets 8 inches of snow, high winds, and a bunch of dimwits in 4-wheel-drive rigs zooming along the freeway as if THEY can't slide right into the guardrail and then the Pacific Ocean exactly like the rest of us? MAYHEM.

a Broad said...

I don't think poking sticks will be a good idea, what if that is where you are ? I'm not going to advocate poking you with sticks while you are helpless. Save that for when you get out.

The Red Hat is a great idea...

I think you should stick with the idea of leaving glasses of wine around the house and let the backyard just melt .. naturally .. yeah.

Roses said...

Here, let me pour you a glass of wine to go with your bubble bath honey.

savannah said...

thought about you and again, i must ask:
you are at home today, aren't you?

and yesh, jess, is right, i'm going to complain because i, too, am in the damndeepsouth and this is not the type of weather we're supposed to have! i mean, hell, we even made the front page of the new york times, sugar! xoxoxox

Fragrant Liar said...

Does this mean you're moving to Florida now?

Elizabeth said...

I guess there is one advantage to living in suburban Minneapolis. Richfield has no alleys (but we do still have very shovel-worthy driveways.) And there are still bars within walking distance.

Kay Dennison said...

We usually get your weather when you're done with it but we only got a couple inches. Still, I'm hibernating -- just because I can!!!!

Hilary said...

So kind of you to accept all that snow in place of its delivery here. We have less than an inch but it's SO cold. Please don't be in any hurry to share your snowfall. We'll get our own in due time.

Douglas said...

What you need is an Army Surplus Portable Flamethrower. It makes short work of alley snow, snowbanks, and the occasional snowman or tree.

These are tough to find. Cozy up to your neighborhood survivalist, he (or she) may have a supplier you can contact.

Wayne Pitchko said...

It is ALLLLLLLLLLLL gOOOOOOOOOOOd Pearl....even 17 ft of snow.....up here in the Canadian Rockies....pretty normal...beautiful and WONDROUS...although out trip to Cuba last month was wondrous also.....happy trails

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

And I'm guessing that if you're anything like me, bubble bath time is followed by heating pad time and a shot of something extra* in your hot cocoa time. Snow. Harumph.

a Broad said...

Hmmm, I like the idea of an Army Surplus Flame Thrower , they can come in handy in all sorts of situations !

bruce said...

thank god i live in michigan where it is sunny and 70 year round and the little drinks *hic* with *hic* little unbrellas flow like liquid mana for the nice weather gods...

yeah, that michigan...the one in my head, the one i see when, i too, am shoveling snow...in april...

Bruce
bruce johnson jadip
And
evilbruce
stupid stuff i see and hear
and
The guy book
the guy book

alwaysinthebackrow said...

How many planes/cars/trains does it take to transport 40,000 Vikings fans, concession workers, ticket takers, medics, cheerers, and one large man with horns on his head from Minneapolis to Detroit?
What? They aren't bringing everyone along to watch the game there? After all of the snow and cold, those people deserve a break-a Monday evening in Detroit would do the trick, I am sure!

Jhon Baker said...

common misconception - the Inuit have about 5 words for snow - roughly the same amount we have as long as we aren't including four letter words commonly associated with shoveling.

Rawknrobyn.blogspot.com said...

I shiver for you. Keep enjoying those bubble baths. xo

The Retired One said...

I empathize! We also got over 3 feet of snow here and a 2 day blizzard! Hang in there Pearl...!!

Gigi said...

You have my sympathies. But could you talk to whomever okayed sending the frigid weather this way? I live in the South! It's not supposed to be this damn cold! Make it go away - please!

Willoughby said...

The snow was much sneakier here in Michigan. It started falling all pretty and snow-globe-like just to throw us off. By mid afternoon, it was blowing 40 mph and the temp was hovering just above zero. We didn't get as much as you did, but the temps, wind and drifting have made the roads a nightmare. My husband's usual commute is about 90 minutes. Today it was 4 hours (I'm not exaggerating, you're from MN, you get it). I hate winter.

Ponita in Real Life said...

We had that in November... you're a month behind! It's been so freaking cold here, it's unreal. This morning, with the wind, it was -40... again. And we both know that -40 is -40 no matter if you think in C or F.

Sorry to hear you're hurting from all the shovelling, although I know exactly how you feel. Get some Robaxicet or whatever version you have down there of a pain killer with the muscle relaxant in it. Goes well with that wine. You'll sleep like a baby tonight!

injaynesworld said...

I'm a California weather weenie. I wouldn't last an hour in your part of the world. The only shoveling I'm familiar with is the removal of manure from my horse's stall -- and there's never 17 inches of it. Man, you must have bodacious biceps.

lgsquirrel said...

If you think you have it bad, remember the poor squirrels trying to find buried nuts in the snow!

Gary Baker said...

My sympathies to the squirrel who lost his nuts in the snow notwithstanding ... a scant 4 days ago I shovelled and shovelled and shovelled my drive clear of snow leaving two pleasing alpine ranges piled high on either size as evidence of my heroic endeavours. Then the sun came out. All evidence of my labours erased. This reminded me of a question asked of me by my son: Dad, what's it like being dead? Well, my son, said I, it's exactly as you remember it from before you were born. He paused, pondered then said, Water turns to snowflakes which turn back to water. He was eight. I'm not.

DAVID McGRIEVEY said...

Why would you want to raise your arms above your head? As long as you can raise a glass to your lips all is well.
X David