Thursday, February 07, 2008


I am beat. My body is worn out. Coffee isn't kicking in like I would like. I am tired.

The snow yesterday was rough. I spent a good portion of the day watching it come down. The wind was blowing hard against the building, causing the snow to swirl up like a cyclone outside the windows at the corner of the building. Because of that blowing, you really could tell how much was coming down.

When I bugged out of work, I saw the damage that was done. At least a foot. Minimum. I hopped into the Explorer, fired it up and cleared the windows. I looked at the snow in front of the truck and chuckled. That little bit won't stop me as I zipped right through it. Others wouldn't be so lucky.

In fact, a car just about hit me as I left work.

Ok, that is a bit more dramatic that what happened. But it is true. As I was leaving work, I had to stop to let a car get by. Someone had just helped push them out of the snow. As they did, he went the wrong way (into the path of exiting vehicles). I watched as his car was going more sideways that forward. As it did, he slowly approached my truck. All I could think of was the crunch I was certain to hear as he got closer. Thankfully, he stopped. I was able to drive forward and to my right to clear a path for him and avoid the collision.

That wouldn't be the only instance of watching the rear wheel vehicles struggle. A mile down the road I got stuck behind another and just a couple minutes later as I pulled up to my mom's house. A car was parked only because the guy got stuck.

My mother had at least a foot of snow to deal with. I hesitated a minute before I started. The problem was not knowing where to start. The street hadn't been plowed and the drift gave little indication of what was where. So I dug a hole to find the street and to have a place to stand. I then went to work, trying to throw the snow to the right and not the left, where the wind would blow it right back into my face.

I focused on clearing the sidewalk first and then the walk to the house. The drifts by the house were pretty bad, ranging between 1 to 2 feet. I hammered through them and then went to look at the driveway. I had most of the lower part by the road done. I looked at the drive and figured I could wait until today. But the voice inside my head told me get it done. No, not in a Larry the Cable Guy Git R done voice, but a reasonable voice saying "Don't do a half ass job" kind of voice. So I trudged forward and cleared enough for my mother to get her car out if she would so need to.

From there said a quick goodbye to mom and got back on the road. I was sweating pretty well from that workout. I was happy I had a dry cap to put on my head as I drove down the road. The stories I had read throughout the day had nice words like "closed" and "ghost town" and "empty" scattered through the articles so I was hoping for one thing. Very little traffic. I got my wish.

I decided not to take the freeway but the road that goes through the ghetto. I figured there would be less traffic and that the city's main streets would be in better shape. If there is one thing Milwaukee does right in winter is clear those main streets. In a snow like this they won't be perfect but good enough to drive.

I came to my first obstacle as I left mom's neighborhood. The section between the boulevard was filled with snow. I would see this quite a bit as I went down the road. As plows clear the main streets, they leave a good portion of the snow to the left and this fills these intersections. I looked left and right, saw no cars and gunned it. I went blasting through the pile and out on the other side, turned left and on I went.

Other cars wouldn't be as smart of lucky. What few cars were on the road were stuck in these piles or in areas where they tried to turn onto a side street, and got stuck on the pile by the side because they didn't stay in the middle of the street. People, this is a simple rule. There will usually be at least one path cut in the road by all the other cars that have been driving it. Stay on that path. If that means driving a bit slower, so be it. When you stray from that path, you are asking for trouble.

The drive home wasn't bad at all. A 25 minute trip took about 40. The freeway was empty and most side streets clean enough to navigate. I just wish some of the people who drove 20 mph had just stayed home.

Once I got home, I saw the pile of snow in front of my garage. I also noticed people digging a couple of cars out. I had to make a decision. Fire it through into the garage or park on the street until I cleaned up the driveway. I went with the former and barreled through the snow into the garage with ease. I think I pissed off those diggers in the process.

After a change of clothes, it was time to clear the snow at my house. I was shocked to find my cleaning lady had come by. I figured with the storm she would have called in saying she would be by on the weekend. Furthermore, I wish I hadn't offered her the leftover chicken stir fry I had made on Tuesday. That was damn good. Nice and spicy.

Just as I began to work on my driveway, I noticed a car stuck at the corner. I ambled on over to help out. It was a nice thing to see. A number of the neighbors that were out clearing their sidewalks also came to help. People went out of their way to offer assistance. After a little digging and rocking, her car was set free. A couple jokes about her having a cookout during the summer and serving beer and brats were made and the group broke up. It was then pretty quiet as I worked to shovel up the snow.

I then ran into my next quandary. I had more snow than my mom did. At least a foot and a half. And I had no place to put it. I was clearing the small drive and quickly had a 6 foot pile on the left. I can't put in on the right because of my tenant's vehicle next to the garage. I had to put it in front of the side of the garage where my Mustang resides in the winter. Of course I now wish I had moved the car to the left side of the garage where I could easily pile the snow. I will now have to do a snow transplant this weekend.

It took about 45 minutes to clean the drive and sidewalks. When I was done, I drug my body inside and went straight to the fridge for a beer. I slumped down and slowly drank it, letting my body get some rest.

It took another 30 minutes to clean up the snow that kept falling until at least 9 pm. I still have no clue where to put the snow as the banks got higher and higher. I stared at the street for a couple of minutes, dreading all the white stuff that would be in my driveway by the time I got home. That will be at least 3 feet to clear, if not more. Don't know where it will go exactly. Probably back into the street for the most part. That is after I clean up the snow at mom's house again.

Today will feel like washing my hair. Shovel, work, shovel, and repeat until clean.

Except this time there will be more beer involved tonight.
And another 30 minutes this morning to go at it again.

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