So, snow already!

Off and on for the last week we have been alternately pelted with what I call ‘granola snow’.  It starts out as little grains of snow and eventually creates a crusty, slipper surface everywhere you step.  This goes on for a day or so and then the sun comes out (or tries to) and then the temperature edges up and over freezing resulting in melted granola.

While mentally composing this post, I ranged way back 60-some years and recalled the snows of winters past.  I am sure everyone does this from time to time; comparing snows “like it used to be, Sonny” with a chuckle more like a cackle, but I really seem to remember a lot lustier winters in my past.

Take Fairbanks (please).  We were up there from summer 1947 through summer of 1950.  I was age 5 through 8.  Perhaps it was because I was closer to the ground, perhaps not, but it did seem that snowfall, any snowfall, seemed to reach my waist fairly fast.  I definitely remember walking to school pushing snow ahead of me like a two-legged snowplow the whole six blocks.  When I arrived (or, in fact any kid arrived), our first order of business was to dance about and shake wadded snow and ice down our snowsuit legs.  This was done in the entryway and under the supervision of stern-faced teachers who would inspect each and every one of us for contraband (i.e. hidden snowballs).

Once inside, we progressively shed outer garments until we were steamed dry.  This was because the school used a monstrous coal-fired boiler and steam heat.  Steam heat, as we all know, is the bane of any kid regardless of age.  When the heat was on, we sweltered; when it was off, we froze our little tushies off.  But, I digress.

We were overjoyed when our dad came home and told up we were moving to Washington, D.C.  Whoopee!  No more snow!

To put it mildly, we were disillusioned the very first winter.  That was the winter of 1951 and it was brutal.  It actually made me wish for the sunnier days of Alaska.  At least in DC we had buses to take us to school.  Only on rare occasions would they fail to get through.  It was pointless to sit there in the kitchen listening to the radio and praying for a snow day (or week, sometimes) because they would never fail to pick us up.

This amount of snow was not the norm though.  In most winters (we were there from 1950 through 1955) the snow levels were somewhat disappointing to us kids.  It rarely ever reached our waists.  Instead, it mostly hung around our thighs or lower.  Since my age was from 8 through 13 there, perhaps it was because I was taller than before.  By now, however, boys my age were now more interested in building, charging, and defending snow forts as well as making the lives of girls miserable by snowy antics.  I would like to state here and now that I really didn’t have any axe to grind when I did stupid stuff like that.  If any of those girls are still around, I apologize.  It was just ‘stuff boys did’ back then; stupid, but necessary by the ‘Code of the Male Animal – preteen years’.

Moving onwards, we spent the years 1955 through 1958 in Southwest Germany – specifically at Bitburg AB near Trier.  This was a different snow it seemed.  Weather patterns weren’t like those in the States.  It seemed as if snow could come from any direction – and usually did.  My dad, who was in the hierarchy of the 2nd Weather Wing on base, had a particularly hard time predicting weather patterns for quite a while until he got used to there not actually being a pattern.  In my 13th through 15th years there, I came to welcome hard snows.  Since we were housed in a central area, and the school was plonked down smack dab in the middle, we rarely got a chance to actually miss school because of snow.  We did have what they called ‘delayed opening’.  This is similar to what that call the same thing nowadays except that it meant we would gather in the gymnasium or smaller lunchroom and play records and dance until the teachers actually arrived.  Now I recall that snow was beginning to work towards my aims instead of against them.

The Germans also had tons of sports and festivals all winter long in which snow played an important part.  Cold weather would not daunt them from carnivals and the like.  All of which would allow some cold-weather activity on the part of good male-female relations.  In face, it outright demanded it in some instances.  Ice skating was high on the list as well as bundling on horse-drawn hay wagons (real wagons with real hay and real horses) so we could “watch the scenery go by”.  And, best of all, there was nothing like walking your girlfriend home in knee-deep snow, carrying her books, and trying to catch flakes on your tongues.  That was something to die for.

The following years, I spent mostly in California.  When that ended, I spent a year in college and then joined the navy.  My first few years were spent down in Southeast Asia where the only snow you saw was coming from the press reports on how well we were ‘winning the war’.  I did spend three years in Misawa, Japan.  The snows were great there with drifts sometimes high over the roof of the car as I drove to work.  It seemed strange , however, that Japanese snow only fell from right to left.

Now, in this new year, all I see (so far) is snow that barely reached your shoe tops.  I realize that we may have more snowstorms for a while, but I’d bet they aren’t anywhere near as deep or as good as snowfalls of the past; dammit.  I really miss a good hefty snow.  Maybe, since it is an election year, we’ll see some great snowjobs.

Weird Weather

A couple of days ago, it was 54 degrees out.  The sun was shining, the birds were tweeting, and the squirrels were, um, squirreling.  A light wind blew and all was right with the world.  Now, today, the rain came.  It is cold, blustery, and not at all conducive for the sun, birds, or squirrels to do their thing.

According to the weather-guessers, it is supposed to snow for the next two days.  Now, these are probably not the same ones that told my sister in Boulder that the snow was only going to last for a short while and deposit just 2 inches, but they are of the same breed (if not the same genus) and they make their predictions based on Ouija Boards and fish guts (or whatever) wrapped around their fingers.

A company a few years back used to sell what they called a backyard weather indicator.  It was a simply flat board about 6 inches square that was suspended by a string on all four corners and hung on a tripod.  It was simple to use:

If the board was dry and warm, the sun was shining.

If the board was wet, then it was raining.

If the board was whipping around, then the wind was blowing.

If the board had two inches of snow on it, then it was snowing

You get the idea, I’m sure.  I wonder if that company is still around because they obviously had an inner track to thing of that nature.  They probably invented the Pet Rock also.

I just watched an old British black and white movie starring Aldo Ray and Peter O’Toole called “The day they Robbed the Bank of England”.  It’s a very good movie but only about 85 minutes long.  Now that I’ve seen it, I was strongly reminded of a much more modern movie released not long ago called “The Bank Job”.  Like the older movie, the thieves used an old sewer to tunnel under the bank vault so they could plunder it.  Not having the modern conveniences of things like radios, rapid transportation, and other things like that, the old thieves got caught simply by bad luck.  In the new movie, a ham radio operator picked up their handi-talkie chatter and called police.  The police, in turn, did some fancy sleuthing by sending cars all over London with their sirens hooting while the detectives listened for radio chatter.  Clever idea, for sure.  It didn’t work because a clumsy accomplice on a rooftop dropped his radio to the pavement below.

The end of the later movie got a bit murky as the thieves traded some smutty pictures by a female Royal for immunity and new passports.  They “underestimated” the value of their haul also and rode off into the sunset.  I’m pretty sure Aldo Ray didn’t get to do that.

Our cat is certifiably deranged.  That’s a veterinary term meaning “she’s crazy”.  Since the squirrels have virtually stopped frolicking in the yard, she has now taken up a watch station in the front window and “ekkkks” at the occasional bird that has the temerity to try and feed itself from the small try I have suspended right in front of the front porch.  This puts the birds at about eight feet away from her nose.  Yeah, I know.  It’s cruel, but lots of fun (for me, bwwwwahahahahah).  One of these days I’m going to have to film her.  She really gets into it.  She paces back and forth while they peck away and when they fly off (especially upwards over the roof of the porch) she zooms to the back sliding door and waits patiently for them to appear.  They never do, but she won’t listen to me.

Later, ya’ll.

Stupid Cold

What a heck of a way to start a new year.  The wife and I have been trading colds.  Early last year, I gave her a cold and in December she paid me back.  I’ve had hot and cold flashes for most of the last 24 hours.  ‘What’s a cold flash?’ I hear you asking.  I know there may not be such a thing as a cold flash, but that’s what it feels like.  I’m simply sitting in the living room and suddenly I get the shakes and it feels like a cold wind has attacked me.  That’s a cold flash.

Drinking lots of liquids seems to help – especially my favorite brand of scotch.  Just kidding; although a nice hot toddy does help my throat somewhat.  Note to self: if the little squirt bottle of honey has ‘sugared’, don’t put it in the microwave to melt because it will do just that; the whole dam thing.  I managed a cup of peppermint tea with a tot of rum and that did help my throat but overstimulated my sinus(s) and I ended up blowing my nose hundreds of times.  Where does all that stuff come from?  I figure that somewhere out there three people are using teleportation to transfer crud into my head.

Yesterday we woke to snow on the ground.  It has remained cold enough to keep it there.  I haven’t ventured out since the day before and, frankly, I think I’m coming down with cabin fever in addition to my cold fever.  I guess that dovetails nicely with my hot flashes.  Hey!  Wait a minute!  Isn’t ‘cold fever’ an oxymoron?

While I was typing this post, my Thunderbird bonged (making my head reverberate). My buddy sent me a funny joke.  I’ll repeat it here:

= = =

On their way to get married, a young couple are involved in a fatal car accident. The couple find themselves sitting outside the Pearly Gates waiting for St. Peter to process them into Heaven. While waiting, they begin to wonder: Could they possibly get married in Heaven? When Saint Peter shows up, they asked him.

Saint Peter says, “I don’t  know. This is the first time anyone has asked. Let me go find out,” and he leaves. The couple sat and waited for an answer … for a couple of months.

While they waited, they discussed that IF they were allowed to get married in Heaven, SHOULD they get married, what with the eternal aspect of it all. “What if it doesn’t work?” they wondered, “Are we stuck together FOREVER?”

After yet another month, St. Peter finally returns, looking somewhat bedraggled. “Yes,” he informs the couple, “you CAN get married in Heaven.”

“Great!” said the couple, “But we were just wondering, … what if things don’t work out? Could we also get a divorce in Heaven?”

St. Peter, red-faced with anger, slams his clipboard onto the ground.

“What’s wrong?” asked the frightened couple.

“OH, COME ON!!”  Saint Peter shouts, “It took me three months to find a priest up here! Do you have ANY idea how long it’ll take me to find a lawyer?

= = =

On that note, I find it is time to blow my nose again.  Oops, sorry.  I mean ‘brow by node’.