it's been stormin', Norman, and I like it

Rocko and I are pleased to report over a foot of the finest snow our atmosphere has offered in a while.

I was at work when the snow started, at 1 AM on Thursday morning. By the time I went home at 6:30 AM, only the main roads had been cleared. The snow was coming down pretty heavily and the road crews were having trouble keeping up. I took my time and all was well. My car handled quite well despite not having snow tires.

All was well, that is, until I reached the halfway point of the trip. The steepest hill I need to crest is right about there, and it hadn't been plowed recently enough.

Nearing the crest, the drive wheels started to slip. The car pulled to the right. I recovered, only to have it happen several more times. Finally I gave up and (thankful for the lack of traffic) slowly backed down the hill and around a bend until I could turn around.

Thus righted, I headed back a half-mile or so to the nearest parking lot (one of our stores) to await a snowplow. I refreshed my coffee and went outside to have a smoke and wait. Before I could finish my cigarette, a plow came along, so I hopped back in the car and followed the plow the remaining nine miles to my house, where I promptly got my car stuck in the snow.

At work, there had been about three or four inches of snow. In my driveway there was nine inches, some of it rather dense from being thrown by an earlier plow.

I was stuck, and stuck good. The tail end of the car was not technically out of the roadway (as I discovered after a lot of shoveling) but it was a couple of feet outside the plowed lane. Kinda safe, but not good enough. I got Rocko out of the house, grabbed my square garden spade, and started digging.

The garden spade doesn't move a lot of snow at once, but it also doesn't grab a heavy load; I can move a surprising amount of snow fairly quickly without hurting myself.

The car, as I said, was stuck real good. I had to dig out the entire underside of the car - side to side, nose to tail, and right up tight under the tires - before I could move it. Oh, I tried to get it to shift a number of times during the digging process, you bet. But no, no, no. That snow was packed tight under the entire car and ol' Rudie couldn't go.

Finally I got it to move. Backed up a few feet (woo hoo!!) drove forward a few feet past where I had been stuck. Safely parked at last!

I texted my manager to tell him that we would have to see what the day's weather brought before I would know if I could come in that night (Friday). He said that the owner would come out to get me and that he (my manager) could bring me home in the morning. A couple of hours later, after seeing plow after plow go by my house, I took a test drive. I had to go five miles before I found a place to turn around, but the roads weren't bad.

Not bad, that is, from a Western New York perspective. The weather that so many around me see as terrible and impossible to drive in, I see from the point of view of my Western NY upbringing.

To me, this weather represents "any random day from the beginning of November to the end of April."

So, when I got home from my test drive, I texted my manager again and told him the the plows were doing a good job and nobody needed to give me any rides. I set my alarms ten minutes earlier than usual and went to bed.

The ride to work was uneventful once I got out of the driveway. It took a few attempts to get through the new snowbank that the plows had built, but after that, it was just another night driving on a long, dark, snowy but passable road. The night at work was slow, only 27 customers, and the ride home was a lot easier than the previous morning, despite the extra snow. They really didn't get all that much down the valley.

When I got home I got stuck in the driveway again, this time sticking a few feet out into the road. I turned on my blinkers, got Rocko and the shovel, set the car free and parked it properly. Later I'll go out and clear around it better.

Today's snowfall measurement in my yard was 13" (about 33cm), an increase of 6" (about 15cm) over yesterday's total. The snowfall is over for now, and the sun is coming out, but it's still very cold. Time for a nap so Rocko and I can go out and play some more later.

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