My niece joined the family on July 12th, 2010. This special young lady's mother is my younger sister, which in classic Chinese culture makes me her Jiu Jiu (舅舅) -- thus the title of this blog. Here I intend to semi-regularly post reflections, thoughts, stories, and assorted whathaveyous pertaining to our trip to China, adoption in general, and (mostly) watching my niece grow up. Since the web is a very public place, I will attempt to maintain my family's privacy while telling the story... but I invite you to follow the blog and come along for the adventure!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Snowmageddon: The Sequel

Okay, this post's not really about the Pipsqueak -- but it covers a pretty major event from late this past January.

The winter before AJ got The Call has gone down in history as "Snowmageddon" -- I lived at work for three days, then struggled home (a 30-minute trip that took almost two hours) and then shoveled snow for nearly six hours just to clear a spot to park my car and make a path to my front door.

Fast-forward to the beginning of this year and in a matter of days "a chance of snow" became "WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE! AAAIIIEEE!" and the shelves of local supermarkets became barren wastelands devoid of water, toilet paper, canned soup...

Snowmageddon Two was coming!

My joy at the realization that no longer working at the nursing home meant I didn't have to stay there was cut short by AJ texting me to ask if I could take care of Miri or stay with her at Mom & Dad's 2-3 days because Corporate decided anyone even vaguely managerial was required to stay at work for the duration of the storm "just in case." I let her know how I felt about that, discovering in the process that one can indeed rant loudly in text messages. (Her reply was, "Thank you for your interesting answer!")  Luckily, her boss (my ex-boss) agreed and told her to just stay home.

Family crisis averted, on Friday AJ & I ran some last-minute errands, leaving our folks' house just as the first few flakes of white stuff began floating down. After putting away my groceries & staring out the window a while I had a brainstorm and set up my camera tripod by the front window with plans to take a photo every 30 minutes. (Sleep? What is this "sleep" you speak of? I know it not!) I did end up with a rough sequence of over 80 images but unfortunately every time I took the camera off to take other photos I ended up moving the tripod a little so the photos don't quite line up as planned. I'm going to include just a few of the images below to track the storm's progress...

Friday, 22 January 2016 14:34hrs
Just flurries so far...
Friday, 22 January 2016 16:34hrs
It's been snowing 2 hours and this is all we have?!?

Friday, 22 January 2016 19:19hrs
Okay, the wind is picking up a little bit...
Saturday, 23 January 2016 00:59hrs
Still doesn't look like a blizzard, but piling up...
Saturday, 23 January 2016 01:37hrs
Whoa, NOW it looks like a blizzard!
Saturday, 23 January 2016 13:53hrs
Hey, where'd my neighbor's car go? Where's the sun?
Saturday continued without any sign of the weather clearing, and mid-afternoon the wind began to really pick up. At some point it finally occurred to me to look out the kitchen window in back and I saw something like this:

That sucker's about 4 feet high... 
I immediately got ready to do some emergency shoveling out back, then got another unpleasant surprise when I opened the drapes to go out the back door:

After getting over my shock, I put the chair
there for height/depth reference. Yikes!
I figured the snow was all light & fluffy so I'd save myself a lot of work by using my leaf blower to clear the snow from the door, maybe even to create a path to the heat pump and clear it as well.

I'll pause for a moment to let you contemplate the brilliance of my idea to clear snow in the middle of a blizzard with winds gusting above 35mph by using a leaf blower.

After picking up all the stuff that ended up on my dining room carpet I forced the sliding door & screen open and began shoveling. (Nice try, Dude!) About two hours later -- during which the heat pump began buzzing loudly and then stopped working altogether until I cleared most of its air intakes -- I creaked & groaned my way back inside to thaw out. Before changing into dry clothes, I thought that maybe I should try to clear a path to my car out front, so I forced the door open through the snowdrift the wind had created on my front porch and took a look at what was going on out there.


Needless to say, I did no more shoveling that day, opting instead to change into dry clothes, put my winter coat in the dryer, and absorb a mug of hot chocolate. As the day progressed, I realized that this really was a winter storm "for real" and even without the insane volumes of snow we'd gotten back in 2010, digging out would not be fun. In fact, even though the forecasts called for slow clearing, things just kept getting worse as the day progressed:

The snowfall slowly began to taper off in the evening and I was happily shocked to see the first snowplows before I went to bed.

Saturday, 23 January 2016 19:27hrs
Finally just flurries but the damage is done.
Sunday, 24 January 2016 01:14hrs
Looking out from upstairs - the snowplow's been thru twice!
I was awakened late Sunday morning by the sound of snow shovels in action, so after a quick brunch I grabbed my shovel. First I went out back and re-cleared the heat pump...

I humbly draw your attention to the 7' snow
wall I created to block the wind...
...and then I tramped snow through the house and started working out front.

The average depth on my front steps.
It took about 90 minutes to get this far!
I spent a total of 6-½ hours shoveling snow that day, first clearing off part of the porch, then the steps down to the sidewalk, then the sidewalk, and then digging a path to the communal mailbox. I managed to also clear a narrow path down the side of my car but gave up when I saw what was in front of it.  Here's an overhead view of what I achieved (it looks a little strange because it was taken at night and I used Photoshop to brighten the image):

The next day I spent an additional four hours digging the car out, a task made all the more difficult by the fact that the only way to get rid of the snow (thanks to that frozen mountain you see towering over the Rav) was to carry each shovelful across the street and toss it onto the hillside there, all the while dodging a steadily-growing number of moving cars & SUVs driven (badly!) by neighbors whose cabin fever had gotten the best of them.

I eventually made it back to my folks' house to help clear the bottom of their driveway. (Cleared nicely by some of their neighbors the previous day only to be re-buried by a county snowplow a little while later.) Looking back the next weekend, I realized that I had shoveled snow for anywhere from 30 minutes to 6-½ hours every day for five days in a row...

...but we'd survived Snowmageddon II!

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