Snow

I really love Madison as a city. It is a great city all in all. We have good schools, good homes, good stores, great restaurants, good beer, good events, good sites, and burgeoning tech industry. I like the history of the town, and I like the politics of the town. One thing I have always been able to do without is the location of the town. Unfortunately, it somehow manifested itself in the confines of Wisconsin, and with that comes the cold dark winters that Wisconsin is known for. No where did we see that better as we did this week as I’m sure many people have heard by now.

We heard of the storm coming in starting on Sunday. Originally we were supposed to get up to eleven inches when all was said and done by Wednesday morning. So come Tuesday, we all knew it was happening and I don’t think anyone was surprised by it in the least. It was already snowing when I woke up, I drove to work in it, but it wasn’t really bad. People were already driving slowly in it, mostly 30-35 MPH in a 55 zone. This wasn’t normal for this type of snow actually but the first real snow of the season occurred just two days prior and so people aren’t quite used to snow driving as of yet. Being the reckless man that I am, I drove 50 down the highway, passing people as I went. Like I said, it wasn’t that big of a deal, you get used to it quick. You don’t go as fast as you used to, but you don’t need to go as slow as some like to.

While at work, we knew it was snowing outside. Every now and then you would hear reports on the updated forecasts, first it was twelve inches, then fourteen, then sixteen. It ended with eighteen inches of snow by the end of the next morning. I left work at 5:30 on the button. I wanted to get home as soon as I could, for one the apartment complex was having a gingerbread house making event, but also I knew that the worst of the storm was coming in the evening so it was best to get out of it if you could.

Madison after the 2009 BlizzardI was actually quite surprised by the trip home. Usually, you are going 25 MPH on the beltline during rush hour traffic, but I was going down about 40-45 MPH most of the way. So it actually didn’t take too long to get home from work. As I passed the mall, I smiled to myself and thought it’d be a great night for shopping as I am sure the malls were almost barren, just like the roads. The snow had already fallen a good four or five inches during the day, you could tell people had left early from work to make it home before most of the storm. But thankfully, Wisconsin is used to snow and thus, the plows had done a good job at keeping the highways clear, driving was fine for the most part. I did have trouble the closer I got home, which is about how it works. The further off the main roads you get, the less they plow and the less cars are there to keep the snow packed down, so the worse the roads are. But they still were doable.

Got home, enjoyed the gingerbread house building, had a lot of fun actually even though my house was no where near as good as nearly anyone else’s. It turned out to be a rather perfect night for the event. It really felt Christmasy with all the people around, watching Elf eating cookies and decorating their houses. It was a good time. Afterwards, we watched people playing in the snow.

The next morning was tricky. My work is that of a call center, and as such they do not like to close even with a lot of snow. After all, no one else in the state had as much snow as we were getting and there were likely many people actually going to work and wanting to get help for their problems. We were told that if the state announced they were closed that we could call in our normal call-in line and they would leave a message if we were closed. There was no such message at 6:15 in the morning, just 45 minutes before people had to be there for work. I had to be there at 7:30 and knew that if I had left at that moment I would be late even though it was a normally 20 minute trip. So I told them I wasn’t coming in for the day.

The next couple of hours we watched people getting stuck trying to get out (even the bobcats plowing the parking lots were getting stuck) and getting some house chores down. After awhile, we wanted to go out and clear off my car before it got too cold out. There was already probably the full seventeen or eighteen inches on it and it took quite awhile. My roommate went on a walk, I tried but for some reason I didn’t wear warmer clothes so I had to turn back and go back to the confines of our apartment.

We did later go back to my car that afternoon as well to make sure it was cleared off and also to drive the car out of the spot so that I knew that I would make it without being stuck in the morning. I think it is prudent to go out twice on these big storms like this. I know that means I have to go in the cold twice, but at the same time it gets us out of the apartment and it means we don’t have to do as much work each time which is nice. I tell you after the first clearing, I didn’t really want to be outside any longer to do more.

So that was the big blizzard of the season, well I hope at least. The next day everyone went to work as usual and people are still plowing the streets two days later. Life goes on with another reminder of why I hate living in the northern part of the country. If it weren’t for my daughter living here, I probably would move to a more southern location or at least a somewhat warmer one. I can see myself living in San Fransisco, or even Seattle. At least wouldn’t be as bad as it is here.