Seattle's the kind of place where we get snow once a year or so. If it sticks, it stays around for a day or two and then it's gone and that's that. Or so I used to say (just like I used to say that we only got about one week of hot weather so you don't really need any air conditioning). The last few years we've seen a different pattern, that's for sure.
Seattle's snow started last weekend during Kate's birthday party. Gigantic, wet, clumpy flakes fell from the sky and I allowed seven squealing girls to run outside to a mostly-empty parking lot to play in it at 11:30 at night, to their great delight. Flakes were caught on tongues, snowballs made and thrown, until cold and wet I herded them all back to bed.
Getting home the next day was tricky. The big hill leading to our house was closed, snow was compacted on our street, making it very slippery and icy. It stayed like that until rains came and cleared almost all the snow away by Tuesday. Schools were opening 2 hours late, but it seemed like it was merely precautionary.
Wednesday the weather forecast was for Seattle to get dumped on, and school was canceled altogether but we saw nothing. Not a flake. In fact, the streets were clearer than they'd been in several days. I actually spent most of the day out running errands because things were so unremarkable, though everywhere around
Seattle got snow. It was like we were in a little bubble.
Before going to bed I watched the weather report where the meteorologist announced that we were going to see a "dusting" of snow sometime on Thursday afternoon and left Kate a note telling her that school would be on so she should get her long-sleeved shirts out of the dryer when she got up. HA, the joke was on me as Seattle's meteorologists are apparently about as good as Bill Murray's character in Groundhog Day. We awoke to several inches of snow and school canceled!
Chris cleared the snow from the front and back walks, using the makeshift tools we had on hand. See, we never get enough snow to worry about shoveling... so he used a garden spade and a leaf rake to get the job done, and did quite a good job at that.
Friday Chris braved the elements to go to work but with buses running on snow routes or not at all it was a fiasco and took hours to make it there and back each way. Sidewalks downtown were completely iced over and dangerous to walk on... thankfully he fell only once and didn't get hurt, but it was clear last week that trying to make it downtown in this weather is pretty crazy. Friday I also drove Kate to her dad's, where she's spending Christmas for the first time in many years. It took me an hour to dig my car out, drive the icy roads to the Zipcar, dig the Zipcar out, and get back to the house, then I had to make my way around detours and road closures to get onto the freeway. Freeways were pretty clear until I got pretty far north (where they'd seen up to 20 inches) but streets and on-ramps in Seattle (and in Burlington once I got off the freeway) were crazy. Friday was the day that two charter buses slid down and icy hill
, through a barrier, and almost crashed down onto the I-5 freeway. We figured that was the worst of it.
Saturday we made it out. The day was clear and bright but we were heeding the warnings that more snow was on the way. We ran errands, tried in vain to find a snow shovel or salt, bought a little space heater so our unheated upstairs bathroom wouldn't freeze, stocked up on food, toilet paper, the necessities... stood in crazy lines at the stores and tried in vain to get gas for the car but the station was out of gas!
We cautiously made it home as the snow started to come down again Saturday afternoon, this time in sharp, icy little crystals... no longer the fluffy, clumpy stuff but a zillion tiny flakes the size of grains of sand, blowing at angles and eventually coming in sideways, pelting the windows and the side of the house all night. It continued to snow with the occasional break through all of Sunday. Chris and I stayed under covers, ate soup and watched movies and barely cleared 500 steps according to our pedometers.
This morning things are completely covered. Bus routes across Seattle are canceled outright our running on reduced runs. We live on top of a hill and getting anywhere means going down pretty steep hills in any direction (and then trying to get back up again) but our hills are nothing compared to the hill Ray and Christine live on (which I've discovered thanks to this Google Map
is a 19% grade the third steepest hill in all of Seattle).
Poor Chris's handiwork has been completely obliterated, though.
Luckily, we're stocked. I'm always prepared for things like food, drinks (including booze and coffee). We've got batteries, we've got heat, we've got hot water (and hopefully no cracked pipes to uncover when we thaw!), the Internet is up, and we've got games and books and movies and music galore. If we're stuck inside for several more days, it'll all be ok. And if nothing else, I've got Twitter
to keep me company.