Now for the downside.

By now you know that I love winter and snow. I grew up here in Northern California, so the only explanation I can come up with for this aberrant behavior is that my maternal grandmother was a full-blooded Finn. Her parents immigrated to Saskatchewan, Canada from Finland in the late 1800s and she, once she was grown up, married a dapper American fellow and went to live with him in Idaho. The rest is history. Well, my family history, at least.

Finland is a cold country in the far north of the world. Snow and ice are part of the normal landscape, as are evergreen trees and frozen lakes. Think reindeer, fur parkas and mukluks.

It’s clear as a bell outside today. My immediate world has been transformed into a beautiful but alien landscape. It’s bitter cold – 15 degrees, according to the outside thermometer, and the forecast says we might reach 40 degrees for a high. But I’m inside, the fire is burning merrily in the wood stove, there’s plenty of firewood to hand, and I’m comfortable. Even my hands are giving me a break this morning.

But there are drawbacks to this cold, Finland-like weather. The county snowplows have not made it to our street yet. They’ve been extraordinarily busy – this storm dumped nearly a foot of snow eight miles down the mountain in Placerville, and even the valley had an inch or two of snow, which is rare as hen’s teeth. The plows have been kept occupied on the highway between Placerville and Lake Tahoe, and on the main thoroughfares around the county. Our little street is fairly low on their priority list.

And because they haven’t plowed, I can’t drive my car. Eighteen inches of snow is too much for a little sedan, even equipped with snow chains, assuming I could wrestle them onto the tires with my persnickety hands while on my persnickety knees in the snow.

But before I could even attempt that, I’d have to shovel the car out. At the moment, it’s up to its wheel wells in snow and totally covered over, a soft white lump along the side of the road. Once the snow around it is cleared from around it, I’d still have to scrape it off the rest of the car. All 18 inches.

 The very thought of this last task – inevitable if I truly need to go anywhere in the next day or two – makes me groan.

And to that end I’ve had to make a call this morning, cancelling my appointment down at the VA medical center in Sacramento for a bone density scan. And, because I don’t know for sure that the county snowplows will make it today, I had to cancel my first physical therapy appointment, which was for tomorrow, as well. Now I need to reschedule both.

When it started snowing the other day, I didn’t believe we’d get more than three or four inches. We’ve rarely had more than that at any time in the 12 years we’ve lived here. With the forecast for the week predicting sun today and tomorrow, I figured the snow would be melting away by the time I needed to leave for the bone scan appointment, and that it would be gone by tomorrow. No problem going to the PT appointment either.

But with as cold as it is, and given the sheer amount of snow that needs to melt by 8 a.m. tomorrow, there’s just no possibility.

Oh, well. It’s still breathtakingly beautiful outside. Everything looks covered in soft mounds of sugar-sparkled whipped cream. The sky is gorgeous. Life is good.

3 thoughts on “Now for the downside.

  1. Seems to me that you’re really seeing the bright side of things (rather than the downside). Good for you! Enjoy the snow while it’s there – but I’ll be crossing my fingers for you that the plows come soon!


  2. The last time we had even close to this much snow was last February and early March — and we never topped 8 inches, even over several days of storms and calms. That was, I believe (I’d have to do a little research) an El Nina year, Madison Guy. Prior to that, the last time was in 1997, the year we moved into this house. We thought that Camino, being just at the snowline, would get a little snow each winter. You know, enough to enjoy, but which would melt in time for Monday. ;o) We were very surprised when it started snowing in December and continued through May. But even then we never got this much accumulated snow. I’m no scientist, but I’d guess El Nino has a lot to do with our North Pole-ish weather.


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