Monday, February 7, 2011

There's No Business Like Snow Business (or...We're Off To See The Blizzard)

Snow is an obvious staple of a midwestern winter.  We play in it, we shovel it, we sculpt it into interesting shapes.  We marvel at the beauty of a new snowfall, and then curse it's inconvenience when we get behind the wheel of a car.  We listen to the forecasts, plan accordingly, and dutifully clean and salt our walks and driveways when colliding weather fronts dump a few inches of the powdery stuff on our domain. 

When the dire predictions of impending doom began to emerge last weekend, we peered at the foretold omens with skeptical eyes, having been taken in before by the cries of meteorological "wolf".  More than once, prophecies of disaster have turned into nothing more than a bothersome dusting of white fluff.  Adopting an "oh well, just in case" attitude, we stocked up on shovels and de-icer, and the usual staples of bread and milk (my list also includes chocolate and Diet Coke). (And maybe bacon).

Well, Mother Nature decided to more than live up to the hype this time.  Pulling out all the stops, she treated us to blinding snowfalls, howling winds, and even a side show of thunder and lightning. In the northbound lanes of the illustrious Lake Shore Drive, three accidents in short succession blocked the roadway for all who followed, bringing traffic to a standstill, and quickly entombing hundreds of commuters in snow and ice encrusted vehicles. I guarantee the stranded motorists had at least these two thoughts on their minds:
  • " How the hell am I going to get out of here??"
  • " Why the hell did I drink so much damn coffee at the office??!!"

About ten hours later, rescue finally arrived; but instead of a prince on a white horse, it was a firefighter on a snow-whitened snowmobile. All of the marooned motorists were eventually rescued, and were rewarded with days of trying to locate their towed cars in the myriad of city impound lots.

When all was said and done, we only managed to obtain the status of 'third-worst blizzard in Chicago history", missing the top mark by a scant two inches.  If it had only managed to snow another hour or two, we easily could have taken top honors.  Thankfully, we weren't required to leave the house for any reason (not that we could have anyway), and even more thankfully, the power stayed on.

The only reason the dogs weren't handed snow shovels was due to their lack of opposable thumbs.  They celebrated this biological advantage by gleefully bounding through the snow drifts as we spent hours digging ourselves out.

The blizzard-induced sequestering wasn't all for naught; I did manage to try a couple of experiments using the Sea turtle and various acrylic mediums.  They turned into disasters in and of themselves.  Here's one example:

  • Pre-calamity:

  • Post-calamity:

I really must learn not to use India inks when I have my mad Scientist hat on, I don't have the feel (and apparently the eyesight) to tell when it's completely dry.  I may have to attempt a turtle resurrection with this one, as she was coming along interestingly before the ink obliterated her facial features.  Or maybe I have just created a new species called the Swirly-Black-Headed Sea Turtle.

Yeah.  I'm going with that.


debwardart said...

Hi Lisa, loved your post! Glad you weren't caught on Lakeshore Drive! We here in Cincy had a blizzard the winter of '77-78 (how old do I sound now!!).
We had gotten married that fall and lived in an apartment on a "major artery" at the exact crest of a hill (Cincinnati is made up of hills - 7 named ones and myriads of others!). I looked out the front window in time to see a city bus sliding sideways down the hill, and knew I wasn't going anywhere that day! My husband tried, falling on his @$$ in the driveway just as the first policeman arrived to erect barricades on the street, and who informed Mike that the city was shut down! It remained shut down for a few days and even then cars were not allowed on many streets until all of the ice was removed, which took a couple weeks. Jeeps and other 4-wheel drives were allowed on the streets, and they transported injured, sick, emergency workers, nurses, doctors and the local police around the city. Some of them made big bucks towing cars up the hill in front of our apartment!
Our blizzard had started with 50 deg. weather and rain - and the temp. plummeted 40 deg. in a matter of a couple hours so all the rain froze - we had upwards of a couple inches of ice in some spots. It was very scary riding the bus for a while - nothing like being on a city bus rounding a corner, hitting ice and sliding out of control and seeing a horrified look on the driver's face.
Anyway, glad you are all OK - and the power stayed on.
You can fix that turtle, too, I just know it!

RH Carpenter said...

Well, put some whites on her and call her a snow turtle!!

Lisa Walsh said...

Wow Deb, that must have been a hell of a few weeks! Glad you and mike made it through. I'd rather deal with two feet of snow than an inch of ice, the ice is far more dangerous. Cincinnati seems to be in just the right spot for the ice/snow combination. So far I've experienced our four worst blizzards: '67 (how old do I sound!), '79, '99, and now 2011. I'm looking forward to retiring someplace that doesn't get snow!

LOL Rhonda, but I think I've had enough snow for the time being!

Terri Buchholz said...

I LOVED that Snowzilla man illustration! What a HOOT! Did you do that? Nick sent me some pretty impressive photos from downtown Chicago as he waded his 8 blocks to work. We got it bad but only half of what you guys got! Hope the worst of it is over. Makes anticipating Hilton Head all the more attractive doesn't it?