Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Snowed In

If I was already saying "Enough Snow Already!" on Boxing Day (Dec 26), then it's really ENOUGH snow already now, after a few more dumps of the white stuff. It was not so bad when we were on holiday, and besides my husband was around, willing to venture out in his 4WD Jeep.

But then on Monday, school started. The city snowplow finally came on Monday to plow the 3 blocks which are the only access to the school. Even then, everywhere, the street was down to a single lane, with huge piles of snow on each side, making it next to impossible for cars to pass each other. Only the daring or 4WD drivers would pull aside into snowy driveways. Roadside parking was next to eliminated, and there were a number of abandoned cars lining the road, unable to make it back to the safety of their own driveways. And since there is only one way in & out of the school, the traffic problems in the morning have been disastrous. Good thing it's only 2 blocks up the hill, so we can walk. But even the walking has been treacherous. The neighbourhood had not kept up with clearing sidewalks, so there is a buildup about 1 foot deep in most places. To either side of the sidewalk, it is knee deep or worse, so a misplaced step can easily result in a boot-full of snow.

Then two nights ago, it started raining. Yesterday, the street, still slippery with compacted snow, had two rivers flowing down the two tire tracks. No sign of any available storm drains to accept the water, other than the one my hard-working neighbour across the street, Carissa, managed to shovel clear in front of her house.

It seemed as if the City had just abandoned us down here. The snowplow / salt truck had not been down since about Christmas. We set our our garbage cans twice, once before Christmas and then again after Christmas, and no sign of any attempt to pick it up. So it was 3 weeks today since we had a pick up. That's a long time, when you are used to pick up every week.

It is still raining now, and it would be good if it continued long enough to actually clear the snow, at least in that single lane in the centre of the street. In the meantime, I cancelled all lessons and appointments for this week. I started to feel a bit trapped, since my husband was entertaining clients last night and tonight, so coming home too late to count on him. But I am for sure the lucky one, since I can work from home, can ask him to pick up groceries if necessary, and can still walk the kids to school.

We also haven't had any problems with the house. A few friends have already started having floods in the basement, and leaks in their ceiling. My dear friend Andrea is in a basement suite, and not only had leaking from her ceiling (apparently the water is making its way down from the roof, travelling down the wall and along one floor joist, then into her ceiling), but her side fence/gate was broken by the weight of snow sliding off the roof, and piled high with snow behind, so she is unable to get out, other than into the back yard. That would be scary.

Nobody I talk with (some older than me, so would remember more winters) can remember so much snow in Vancouver and persisting for so long. There were a few highlights to this otherwise dreary season, though. One was hearing the sound of the garbage truck, finally making his way down our street today. When I saw him, I ran onto the porch to scream out "Thank you" and wave. What a welcome sight, after 3 weeks! (And even then, the recycling truck only ventured as far as our house, and didn't venture down to the 2 houses down the street from us, or into the still-icy cul-de-sac across from us. So I was glad he at least made it this far.)

The other was a magical moment, on the Saturday night before the kids had to head back to school. The neighbours below us had actually shovelled clear the road, but then there was about 6" to 12" of new snow deposited on top since then, so my husband was out shovelling our walkway (that was a great sight in itself!), while the kids slid in their toboggans down the street (which is quite steep, and has only two more houses, then ends in a dead-end against a greenbelt). I had been on a work-related phone call for more than an hour, and had come to realize that the house had gone very quiet. By the time I was done, it was past 9:30PM, and I looked out the living room window, to see the kids sliding happily, the snow falling, and my husband playing with them and shovelling the walk. I picked up the karaoke microphone, and selected a few Christmas favourites, "O Holy Night" (in the "style of Celine Dion", and "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" (in the "style of Tony Bennett"), and sang out joyfully, while watching my little family playing in the fresh white snow under the light of the streetlight. That was a pretty special moment.

But for now, I wish for the snow to wash away, and give us a "normal" winter, just the usual rain and more rain. I have a feeling, though, that there are a few more months of winter left, and we may not get off that easy.

2 comments:

Karen said...

Oh man, we had the same deal here in Seattle! Piles of snow, total breakdown in city's ability to deal with it, failed bus service, so difficult/scary to drive anywhere, the only people who were happy were the kids and skiiers! Now floods of rain, rivers rising, basements soggy. Sigh. Are you looking forward to summer yet?!

GardenJoy4Me said...

Hello there Garden Lily !
Yes .. you people are getting some very odd weather way out there ! it will help with ground water in the dryer areas but this flooding thing is a rotten price to pay for it. We lived on Vancouver Island for a couple of years .. Comox/Courtney area .. beautiful scenery : )
Thanks for visiting my blog ! : )

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