Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Weathering the "storm"

Jan. 13, 2011

Geez, what a slacker I am. But, really, I've been BUSY. I mean, like I bought a new purse this weekend.

And, like, I went to book group last night.

But I'm back. Determined to finish this blog. With a vengance.

Back to January 12:

For the last 48 hours, the local weather service has had us all quaking in our proverbial snow boots warning of a “major” winter storm bearing down on us. You know, the large, economy size type of storm -- with the potential to halt traffic, bury small children and leave legions stranded across the vast winter not-so-wonderland we call Bermtopia.

Well, it came, it saw – but it didn’t exactly conquer. By mid-day it totally pooped out.

But still.

Things started out impressively enough. At 6 a.m., when I stumbled downstairs looking for a cuppa joe and piece of toast, it was about 20 degrees and dumping at a furious rate -- the snow falling so fast and hard, it looked more like a wall of fog enveloping the street than a snow storm.

We measured about 3-plus inches of snow on the ground -- and counting --as Ben and I set out for his morning walk around 7. Aside from one or two intrepid snow blowers out trying to keep pace with the storm, Ben and I had the neighborhood to ourselves.

Ben ran, light and low, across sidewalks and lawns, not too far separated from his lupine ancestors.

Me, I sloggled along in the thick snow, occasionally missing a curb because the snow had drifted, softly distorting the landmarks of my neighborhood. Time seems to suspends itself when this happens, especially as you lurch around trying to regain precious balance -- looking, I think, much like a Macy's Thanksgiving Day balloon that has sprung a Very Bad Leak.

Minutes into the walk, Ben was encrusted in snow.

And so was I. It was as if the storm was slowly trying to absorb us into its wild, wintery world.

"Come on, Ben. I think it's time to head home."

And so we did, kicking up soft white puffs of powder with each footstep toward the house.

Back to January 13 (see, time travel is FUN!):

The snow stopped by mid-afternoon Wednesday. The temperatures rose, and rain began to fall. It rained all night and was still persistently dribbling as I crept out to retrieve the morning newspaper.

But good news: The sidewalks were wet and bare. At least on our block. This was going to be a dandy morning walk with the dog.

And it was -- till we got a about 1 1/2 blocks from home and encountered our first rain-slicked ice field.

Let me explain: According to The Bermtopian Laws of Snow Physics, when packed-down, frozen solid snow at the foot of a driveway meets rain, it creates what we call The Wipe-out Effect. This means it's nearly impossible to traverse the ice field upright.

And -- once again, according The Bermtopian Laws of Snow Physics -- when this phenomenon occurs before dawn or after sunset, you have The Inevitable Wipe-out Effect.

Which, of course, is exactly what happened.

Note: Ben is so sweet when I take a tumble. (And yes, of these there have been many). Immediately following The Wipe-out, he'll lope over, ears back, tail wagging nervously, and then frantically sniff me all over. (Checking for blood? Compound fractures? More likely, to see if a stray treat might have shaken loose on impact. Who knows?)

From there on, for the duration of our walk, he'll stop and look back at me every few minutes, obviously fretting about my ability to maintain a sustained vertical status. He IS the dearest dog in the world.

I stood up slowly, relieved that everything but my pride was intact. Only to be rewarded with the chilly sensation of at least 3 cups of snow, slush and rainwater slowly dribbling down my leg. . . and into my boot.

And so it went as I wobbled and squished back to relative comfort The Nine-One-Four with one anxious dog and a boot full of H2O.

Ah yes.

How I love this little corner of winter paradise we call Bermtopia.

1 comment:

  1. oh dear. after THAT description, i'm pretty glad i'm not in bertmtopia! slipping can't be fun. i've had very little experience of that and remember walking very slowly on an icy sidewalk once. if i could have, i would just have rooted myself to the spot until it all melted.

    on the bright side, that's a great picture of ben in the whiteout. is he shaking with cold?how come i'm seeing dogs frolicking everywhere [in blogs] without a single winter coat on? i'm beginning to think our oz dogs are quite...spoiled.