Truth in advertising

at least they’re honest….

Spring is here

No… Not the season. The vernal equinox is still a few weeks away. I’m refering to what looks like a fresh water spring spouting up in our front yard.

Turns out the sump pump in the basement had stopped running. This happens sometimes when we lose power. I noticed a couple of inches standing water at the bottom of the outside stairwell. Last time this happened, the basement ended up flooding. This time we noticed the pending disaster before it became an actual disaster and got the sump pump running again.

Aquaguard had been out the fall before and did a terrible job working on our leaky basement. Part of the legacy of this failed venture is a PVC pipe running from one of our sump pumps ( we have 3 within about 10feet of each other- I don’t know if I should laugh or cry), but I digress, it runs from the sump pump to a little pit in the middle of our front yard.

Now that the sump pump was running again it was overwhelming this pit with all the water running about in the pipes under our house.

Oh no! Not again…

Well, we didn’t break the record with that last storm, so mother nature decided to try again.  Just like with the storm a few days ago, the weather men kept raising their predictions for this storm every few hours, finally settling on an additional 10-20 inches of snow.  When this storm hit, it was much fiercer than the last storm, with the snow swirling around in strong gusts of wind.

But as we’ve all learned, watching the fearless crews of CNN and our local news stations, it is the proud duty of the newsman to report on situations such as this regardless of the danger to themselves.  So, without concern for my personal safety (or Sandy’s comfort) I opened the front door to my house and stuck my arm out to record this historic event so that my loyal viewer(s) can experience it second hand.

Unfortunately, Tim and I were supposed to be flying down to Florida the next day for a dive trip.  All the airlines were canceling their flights.  We had no choice but to cancel ours also.  That’s when I made the mistake of trying to call SouthWest.
If you thought that video was annoying be thankful you got the abridged version.  I had to listen to that damn music for over an hour.
We did finally get a record.  We’ve had 54.9 inches of snow this year which beat the 1898-99 by half an inch.
Unlike the prior storm, the birds were out at the feeders throughout blizzard.  We watched groupings of little birds hopping about on the snow looking for fallen seeds as blue jays, cardinals, and a little woodpecker feasted at the feeder and occasionally made off with a peanut.
The next day, our pond had just about disappeared entirely.

The peanut thieves

The day after the storm Sandy and I went out to survey the new world around us.  It’s amazing how quiet and peaceful everything seems when it’s covered with a thick layer of snow.  It’s also very very bright and I forgot my sunglasses.

Throughout the storm I’d periodically brave the weather and spend an hour or two shoveling.  It almost seemed like a waste of effort, by the time I’d finish shoveling the steps, driveway, and sidewalk, a couple inches of snow would fall and it looked like I hadn’t done any work at all. But in the end it paid off.  Now that the storm was over, rather than having to shovel two feet of snow, I only had to move the six inches that had fallen since the last time I shoveled.
 
My neighbors had also been out shoveling which we appreciated as we began our walk. We went along, making our way down narrow trenches that had been dug where the sidewalk was, or at least where the digger thought the sidewalk was.  We found a few places where the trench had missed the sidewalk altogether and exposed narrow strips of grass instead.

 

 

Sandy and I headed down to Lubber Run Park again where we watched kids and their parents (well… their fathers at least while the mothers stood at a safe distance chatting amoungst themselves) take turns trying to snow board down the hill by standing on their sleds… they were not very successful.

 

A footpath had been worn into the deep snow, we walked single file with Sandy taking the lead.  As I followed along behind her she stopped and turned toward me, a mischievous grin crept across her face and she suddenly fell backwards, her arms flailing back and forth.  No… she was not experiencing some sort of snow seizure… she was making an angel!  I pointed out that Sandy making a snow angel was not quite appropriate.  Apparently she agreed because she quickly modified her design with a couple of devil horns.

 

 

When we got back home I went to our big picture window and looked out into the back yard.  Just before the storm hit, I had filled by bird feeders with seeds and peanuts.  While it was snowing I didn’t see many birds, but now that the snow had stopped, my peanuts were disappearing quickly.
Sandy thinks I’m nuts… I just stand at the window, camera in hand, patiently watching the birds.  Then I sense an opportunity and all of a sudden I take about a zillion pictures.  Most are crap, but a few of them are pretty cool.

 

Almost

Well we shot for the record snowfall but didn’t quite make it.  Apparently we got 28″ in Ballston.  Here’s a list of how much snow local areas got.

That’s close enough to the record for me.  For anyone who missed the storm… you still have a chance to own a piece of history.
How much snow did you get?

Snowmaggedon

Well… the snow came… and it came and it came and it came…  inches and then feet…

I spent a good part of the afternoon shoveling and talking with my neighbors.  One good thing about the snow, is that I probably socialize more with my neighbors than at any other time of year.  Everyone’s out shoveling and we take breaks (which become more frequent as our arms and backs become more sore) to chat.

You’d think that after spending all that time out in the cold, I’d be done with it for the day… but in the evening I wanted to go out for another walk.  So Sandy and I put on our gear, which was still wet and cold from earlier in the day, and went out trekking.
Unfortunately it had gotten pretty cold… a little too cold for Sandy and she gave up and headed back to the warmth of the house.  I decided to keep going though.
I made it down to the end of the block and suddenly I saw the lights go off.  It started with the house way down the street and quickly moved from house to house, windows and street lights going dark.  I turned and headed home.  As I trudged through the thick snow, the power made a quick attempt to come back.  Again, I was able to watch as it quickly moved from house to house, covering the whole block in less than a second, the lights came on and then immediately went black again.

But we weren’t completely in the dark… when I got home Sandy already had candles everywhere.

 We have gas heat… but without electricity the furnace doesn’t run… it was very hard to get out from our warm bed the next morning.Thank god we had hot water… we both took showers and then hit our next snag when Sandy wanted to dry her hair.  Fortunately, I had a full tank of gas in my car… we started it up and turned the heaters on full blast.  It didn’t take long at all before our makeshift hair dryer had taken care of the problem.

 

Fortunately by mid-morning we got the power back.  We spent some time shoveling and then went out on a nice walk through the blizzard.
 
 
 

 

  We hiked up to Ballston where the grocery store and the restaurants were open.  We went into Union Jacks for a bite to eat and a beer.  The hostess warned us that service was very slow because they were working with just a skeleton crew.  We found out they had put the manager and the cooks up in a hotel nearby.  The only two waitresses they had lived across the street so they weren’t able to use the weather as an excuse not to come in.

After lunch we retreated to our living room and the warmth of a fire that burned the rest of the day.

 

The end is near…

For the past few days we’ve been receiving increasingly dire warnings of a monster snowstorm coming our way.  First they spoke of a foot of snow, then 16-24 inches, and this morning that’s increased to 20-30 inches.  Last night, on the news they compared the coming storm to the blizzard of ’83, where we got 3 feet of snow and which as I recall, caused the extinction of the dinosaurs *.

The snow has already begun… brave, brave Sandy is out foraging for food at the local Giant.  I wonder if I will ever see her again…
* sorry… I meant “nearly” caused their extinction, as we all know there are still small populations alive and well on remote Caribbean islands