How do them Yankees get around?

A colleague (a Southerner) was kind enough to pen a little ditty for us Yankees to help us through the storm. I offer a paltry reply from a brain too tired from watching the beautiful snowflakes back:

Our southern colleagues, they did ponder:
How do them Yankees get around up yonder?

I can tell you’ll want to know,
It all depends on the depth of the snow.

(First, below an inch – that’s a cinch:
it’s too small an amount
to bother about; that doesn’t even count.)
Three to four,
now that is more
noticeable outside the door.

Five or six inches seen when on the roam –
that’s when people start getting back to their homes.

Six to twelve is fine for today –
working at home with our kids in the way.
But tomorrow our backs will swell
after shoveling it all up the hill.

Into the feet is where *this* storm’s headed,
and that’s where the less intrepid start to dread it.
At this level there are neighborly teenagers galore,
Who for a fee, will shovel up to your door!
This weekend’s to win some sledding prizes
Until next week, as it melts when the temperature rises.

But the most important moral of my story:
In our winter, snow tires are mandatory.

I know why the weather is wierd

Astute North American winter weather watchers know, as does anyone living on the Eastern Seaboard, that this winter’s weather in the US has been really weird. Not just slightly unusual, but waaaay off in terms of the snowfall expected at various points along the coast – and elsewhere.

The various early snowstorms were not really that unusual – sure, a few records may have been set the first time DC and Maryland were snowed over, but that’s to be expected now and then.

I began to be suspicious that something was up when we had several storms in a row – or rather, not-storms here in Massachusetts, but with real storms in the mid-Atlantic. Having that once is unusual, but it’s been a regularly recurring thing this year.

The thing that tipped me off something was truly out of balance was the complete non-storm earlier this month. A significant storm was forecast for Thursday the 11th. It was a picture-perfect forecast, coming the afternoon beforehand, and resulted in many local schools closing, and various snow emergencies being declared. And then… nothing happened. A few flurries. Very disappointing – well, perhaps not to some schoolchildren!

Now a total mix-up in New England weather forecasting isn’t that odd – happens every couple of days – what was truly out of balance was the parking ticket amnesty declared. Since there wasn’t any snow, but there were a lot of parking tickets given out due to the snow emergency, a lot of people were upset at having to pay unfair parking fines. And – gasp – the Mayor granted an amnesty and discounted the tickets! Unbelievable! A Boston politician giving up income that was legally theirs? Something was clearly unbalanced in the Force.

Once again this week, the Greater Boston area is looking forward to a not-storm for several days: plenty of rain and snow, but temps in the mid-thirties; hence, no real accumulation, and not much positive for the winter weather lovers (albeit the mountains may do better for the skiers if it stays cold enough up there). Instead, snow is forecast across all sorts of places in the south and midwest that rarely ever see snow.

I’ve finally figured out what’s causing it.

It’s us.

The people of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

It’s our fault. You know why?

We sent a Republican to fill Kennedy’s seat [1].

This winter’s weather is karmic payback for the imbalance in our local politics. Think about it – Boston area weather is a mess, but isn’t getting great snow (the one pretty & skiable saving grace of bad winters). On the other hand, DC and the Mid-Atlantic are getting pounded repeatedly – regularly stopping work in our Capitol. The connection’s pretty clear, I think.


[1] For those not fortunate enough to live in this Great Commonwealth, this is referring to the long-held US Senate seat of Ted Kennedy, which was recently won by the Republican Scott Brown in a special election held due to Kennedy’s death last year. And while Massachusetts has a history of electing the occasional Republican to local political offices, it has widely been seen as a staunchly Democratic state when it comes to Federal offices.

Something’s not right…

Now I know we shoveled a few days ago. And I’m pretty sure we shoveled last night. And we did everything else you’re supposed to do, too. I’d already been shopping for milk, bread, and eggs, and made sure the shovels were there, and gotten snow tires on my car. Plus parking my car the right direction to get out if there’s snow. Plus getting everything laid out for perfect french toast.

But there’s still snow on the ground – a lot of it. I really thought we shoveled. And I’m pretty sure we made the french toast: it was delicious, even though I didn’t fully dry out the bread like the recipe says. I couldn’t remember shoveling and eating french toast if I didn’t do them, right?

Right?

Oh, no. Oh no oh no, oh no.

You don’t think I’m stuck in one of those time loops, do you?

Oh, no.

A temporal causality loop or something, like the Enterprise has been in a half-dozen times or so. Yikes! and it’s almost the holidays, I’d hate to miss Christmas just because I was in loop 15,9727 of this darn snowstorm!

Oh, no.

I really am in a loop; I’ve posted the same blog posting twice in the space of a month! Hmmm… must get more lattes and increase my coding speed at work, and increase my creative juices for my blog!

It sure is pretty though. I just hope it stays nice and clean and white, before melting then freezing again. At least the snowflakes were light and fluffy and smaller than the average puppy.

Something’s not right…

Now I know we shoveled yesterday. And I’m pretty sure we shoveled this morning. And we did everything else you’re supposed to do, too. I’d already been shopping for milk, bread, and eggs, and made sure the shovels were there, and gotten snow tires on my car. Plus putting the big silver windshield cover on my wife’s 4WD in the driveway. Plus getting everything laid out for perfect french toast.

But there’s still snow on the ground – a lot of it. I really thought we shoveled. And I’m pretty sure we made the french toast: it was delicious, even though I didn’t fully dry out the bread like the recipe says. I couldn’t remember shoveling and eating french toast if I didn’t do them, right?

Right?

Oh, no. Oh no oh no, oh no.

You don’t think I’m stuck in one of those time loops, do you?

Oh, no.

A temporal causality loop or something, like the Enterprise has been in a half-dozen times or so. Yikes! and it’s almost the holidays, I’d hate to miss Christmas just because I was in loop 13,497 of this darn snowstorm!

Oh, no.

I really am in a loop; I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve said oh, no, now. OK, think. Think, think, think. I’ve got to send myself a message. Now I’m not Data, so I can’t program anything to broadcast in subspace, but… hmmm. I know! I could write something in the snow!

Wait, there’s too much snow. Guess we’d better shovel some. Hmmm. I seem to remember shoveling already.

What you need today: A recipe

The perfect french toast recipe, of course. While I’ll happily yield the high ground to anyone preferring a Julia Child one, and I’ll agree to respect anyone who stays classic with Joy Of Cooking, I’m basing mine this Saturday morning on Cook’s Illustrated version below.

Astute readers will note this great french toast recipe also features some cool time-warp technology, since the print date is January 1st, 2009.

My shopping list last night, somewhat chaotic since I brought “the kidlet” with me.

  • Dozen large eggs (brown, of course, and organic)
  • Gallon 2% milk (organic)
  • Loaf of italian (to get just stale enough by Saturday morning)
  • Vanilla lowfat yogurt (for when you’ve had enough VT or NH maple syrup)
  • Half & half
  • More Peet’s Holiday Blend whole bean coffee
  • Applesauce (that was the treat my daughter wanted)
  • Apples (in case we need sauteed apples atop)
  • Lime (in case I need a ginnantonix after shovelling)
  • Melty sliced cheese (gotta think about lunch too)

Many thanks to the UH readers for sharing their winter storm grocery lists. BostonZest also has a great Boston resident winter storm prep list too.

I’ll note for UH readers that I already have my Maker’s Mark (highly recommended) along with a bottle of Knob Creek for variety; I salute the polite blogger who left some Orange Sherbet for everyone else; and while we do have beer in the fridge, I must question the Mass Liberal’s cavalier attitude towards the French Toast Alert system. I predict you’ll be hungry when you’re done with that six-pack.

Update: Wow,

I will not run alloy wheels in winter. I will not ..

.. run alloy wheels when it’s snowing. I will not run alloy wheels during pothole season, especially in New England. I will not ignore the advice of my mechanic, my body shop, my car friend: to never run alloy wheels in the winter. I will not let vanity get the best of me; I will be content with plain black fixable steel rims in the winter.

Oh great gods of winter; of snow; of New England; of potholes; of wheels and tires and cars; I beg you to forgive me my vanity; nay, my hubris, of running my (previously four in number), very pretty and light 5 open spoke O.Z. Racing alloy 15in wheels for the past two winters.

I have heard your clarion call, er, thunk, as I pass over your signs: potholes, frost heaves, uneven pavement, gravel in the road. I have felt the soft squishy drive of a flat tire. I have suffered the shakes, shimmies, and shudders of wheels that are no longer round, nay, of wheels that are ovals. I have dreaded being late for everything as I see the bulge of a slowly leaking tire.

I hear and feel your call; now I understand. I am but human: vanity is in my nature; hubris is my kind’s unavoidable curse. I beg to be forgiven my past transgressions. I pray that my remaining three Blizzaks – wondrous tires of snow – shall be allowed to serve me again for the next winter. I acknowledge and pledge that I will install them onto wheels of steel in the future.

After I buy a new fourth tire, of course.


For Sale: one O.Z. Racing 15in rim, round. Open 5 spoke design; spokes have a smoothly rounded face and a slight taper. Silver paint finish (original). Slight curb gouge on edge.

For Sale: two O.Z. Racing 15in rims, oval. Open 5 spoke design; spokes have a smoothly rounded face and a slight taper. Silver paint finish (original). One good condition; one with slight curb rash. Not recommended for daily driver. Or any driving at all, actually.