Friday, February 22, 2013

Tragedy and Thundersnow

It's been a rough week for us in Kansas City.

First, there was an explosion at a popular restaurant on the County Club Plaza on Tuesday evening. If you are not familiar with Kansas City, the Plaza is the aesthetic heart of the city. Designed after Seville, Spain, it comes alive at Christmas when every building in the multi-block shopping and entertainment district is outlined in lights. My husband and I celebrated our anniversary at this particular restaurant a couple of years ago. Considering that so much of the Plaza has given away to national retail and dining chains, it's so sad to see a more authentic piece of the Plaza gone, and the terrible injuries and the loss of life are tragic.

And then came the snow. All week, the meteorologists were making their dire predictions. The investigators at the scene of the explosion were racing to beat the storm bearing down on the region. Considering that many local weather reporters seem to take their cues from Chicken Little and the Little Boy Who Cried Wolf, would we really get the snow they were predicting? Six inches? Eight inches? Fourteen inches?

Thursday morning :
5:30 am - Got up, looked out the window. Absolutely NOTHING.
6:25 am - Let the dog out. She comes back with thick heavy flakes on her back. The thunder begins.
7:30 am - Open garage door. About an inch has accumulated in the driveway and still falling heavily. No call from the office about closure. Do I really want to do this? Taking a PTO day is sounding like a better idea.
7:40 am - Main streets are practically abandoned. Roads haven't been bladed yet but are still quite passable.
8:00 am - About a quarter mile from the office. Visibility is now almost zero. Wipers are clogged with snow. Can't see the curbs from the road anymore.
8:10 am - Arrive at work. Managers are looking very concerned, waiting for directive to close the office. Don't even take off my coat.  Regardless of the decision, I'm not staying.
8:35 am - Dig my car out of its parking spot. Handle breaks on scraper/snow brush.  Dang it!
8:40 am - Make it out of the office park, but as soon as I arrive at the main road, I get stuck. Traffic is now terrible. Motorist Assist is on the scene but says there is nothing he can do for me and walks on. I limp to the side of the road by rocking the car forward and backwards, occasionally getting out to brush the snow away from the tires with my broken snow brush. There are four other cars stalled with me. Call managers to tell them I'm abandoning the car. One of them picks me up on the side of the road in his big truck.
11:30 am - Finally arrive home.
1:00 pm - Snow begins to taper. Time to start shoveling the driveway.
3:30 pm - Getting concerned about my car being towed. Call non-emergency line of the police department. Dispatcher says they won't tow it right away if it's not blocking traffic.
5:00 pm - Word goes out that police department is starting to tow cars stalled on major streets. Load two snow shovels into my husband's tiny car and head out to find mine.
6:30 pm - Thankfully, the car is still there. More shoveling.


Lessons learned:
1. Next time, I'll stay home from work.
2. It may be time to look into chains? Our Midwest weather swings wildly in the winter. It was 60 degrees on Monday. I've seen snowfall of eight inches when the forecasters only called for two inches.  Some years we only get a dusting of snow.  Other years, we'll have snow on the ground for weeks. Considering we can have 70 degrees one week and snowstorms the next, I don't think winter tires are feasible unless I want to be on a first name basis with the tire shop.  Has anyone used chains before?
3. Guts don't lie.  Listen to them, especially when there's snow and thunder involved.

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