Ryan and I went to REI today to spend our dividends and take advantage of the last day of the 20% off sale. We both bought coats, but Ryan bought a pair of shorts too. Hooray for optimism! After Ryan left for work I went for a walk around the neighborhood. I found myself smiling and humming when the sun was out but then the sun would go behind a cloud and I would stop, without even thinking about it. Sometimes I think I don’t realize how gloomy it can get around here until a sunny day comes along to remind how good it can feel! It snowed here this morning, but sometimes there’s sunshine too. I think Spring is definitely on its way!
Seattle welcomed Major League Soccer to town, as the Sounders hosted the hated New York Red Bulls at Qwest Field tonight in the first ever Sounders FC game. Seattle beat New York 3-0, with Fredy Montero scoring the first goal in team history in the first half, followed by another in the second half. The game was listed as a sell-out (over 32,000 in attendance), and ESPN kept raving about the fantastic crowd and exciting atmosphere. Goodbye NBA, Hello MLS.
In a reversal of roles, Kim spent much of the first half explaining the differences between penalty kicks, free kicks, and goal kicks, where the players play on the field, and why the goalie can’t touch the ball outside the big white box.
Photo by Mark Harrison, Seattle Times. Other photos here.
Two months of the year have already gone by without a post! It’s not that we haven’t been doing anything, though. We’ve been busy planning, working, healing, planning and working some more!
We recently celebrated the one-year anniversary of moving into our house. In that time it has definitely become a home for us. We still have some furniture to buy, but we’re very happy here. We love our cul-de-sac and our neighbors and our beautiful neighborhood. It just keeps getting better with the new grocery store opening up within walking distance and the new bus route that makes our commute a straight shot from home with no need to drive.
I’ve also been working on something called “Project 365” in which I take at least one photo every day. So far I haven’t missed a day! I do try to make them interesting too, although I’m not always successful.
We’ve (once again) resolved to update this more frequently, so keep a lookout!
Last night we stayed in a hotel downtown again, to spare us from the frustrating drive home. Today, we could not avoid it.
Going home, our little Civic got stuck in slush on 7th Avenue between Seneca and Spring. The engine roared, and wheels spun, going nowhere. I put the hazard lights on, backed up, and tried again; the engine roared, wheels spun, and went nowhere. Again backed up, and again. I had to finally get out in traffic and put the chains on, while the cars going by us churned and shimmied through the muddy slush.
We finally got going, but there was no place to pull over and remove the chains. On the highway, I pulled over to a suitable spot on the shoulder and got out to take the chains off — only to see that the broken chains had ripped a huge gash in the plastic wheel cover, which had almost been ripped off and was dragging on the asphalt. There was no putting it back, and no driving with it in that condition, so I ripped the remainder of the cover off as a cop (who looked like Frodo) pulled up behind us to see what our problem was. Frodo shined a flashlight into the wheel well to help me take the wheel cover off, and waved traffic away as I removed the chains. We got back in and on the highway, looking forward to getting home and eating a warm meal.
There was a glaring difference between road conditions in the City of Seattle, and elsewhere. The highways (cleaned by the Washington DOT) and the smaller roads in Snoqualmie were all clear of snow and slush, and were a cake to drive on. In contrast, the roads in downtown Seattle were covered in wet, slick, and bumpy slush, with piles up to a foot tall in the middle of the road, and muddy holes deep enough to capture a tire and not let go. It fills me with pity, and not a small deal of anger, to note the pathetic results of Seattle street-clearing, especially compared with streets everywhere else. Once out of Seattle, streets were fine and clear. Read this Times article on Seattle’s frustrating methods. I’m absolutely ready to vote for whatever mayor or councilperson vows to not let our city paralyze itself when snow falls.
We encountered a little bit of compact snow by the time we got to our cul-de-sac, but it was easily manageable and we made it home. There’s a tall pile of snow in front of our yard, left there by whatever snowplow came by yesterday, a reminder of public services properly executed.
Well, the blizzard has come and gone, and we’re still here. The storm was predicted to peak around 1 a.m. yesterday, and we were well asleep by then, but it still didn’t seem like the winds got as strong as forecasters had warned. They were still mighty strong, however.
The winds started picking up around sundown, increasing throughout the night, and our power finally went out sometime around 8 p.m. We had our flashlights handy, and excitedly watched the storm from first one window, then across the house to another. From the window in the reading room, we watched the tall evergreens out back waving back and forth like grass in the wind. From here we could also see our backyard, which was scoured nearly free of snow due to the howling winds (there’d been several inches there before). From the front door, we could see eddies of powdered snow whirling and rolling in the light from the streetlamp. From our bedroom window, we pointed our headlamps into the darkness and could only see white particles rushing by in the light beam. Tired, we settled into bed and awaited the morning.
In the morning light, the backyard had even less snow than before, and the lawn was visible everywhere, with tree branch debris scattered all around. The wind had picked up the snow and deposited it in curious spots, and in artistic curly patterns. It had been left on our retaining wall in a wave-like pattern, like a frozen sea; a tiny dune had formed in the elbow of the house near the garage; and even more snow was piled on the sides of the house, and out front, more than a foot deep in some places, burying our front yard, the driveway, and the Civic. We found snow stuck to the siding of the house, and under the eaves of the roof, and we even found a half inch of snow inside our shed that had blown in through the holes under the roof. It had blown through all of the screen doors and windows, and stuck against the inner glass. What a crazy night.
We spent today removing the snow from the car and shoveling the driveway, just to frustratingly see another inch or so fall during the afternoon. We’re planning on taking the bus in to work tomorrow, but are taking extra clothes just in case we have to repeat our Madison Renaissance experience from last week.
Well, I’d say winter is here.
We received about 1-2″ of snow here in Snoqualmie on Thursday, and Seattle proper received a little more. The roads were so slick with ice that our bus route was canceled, stranding Kimmy at work. We were among the lucky ones that even made it into work that day: Around ten pharmacists and technicians couldn’t make it in at all, which left the rest of us working harder and longer. Kim worked a double shift to cover us, and when we got off work at midnight we stayed at the Madison Renaissance in downtown on the company’s dime. We enjoyed a soft bed, a nice view of the downtown lights at night, a hot shower, and about five hours of sleep before it was time to go back.
Today the roads have been mostly sanded and cleared, and the weather clear. However, a storm is approaching: The weathermen expect strong winds coming down from the Cascades, sustained anywhere from 30 to 50 mph, with gusts 70-90 mph, along with a variable dusting of snow, and then some freezing rain. The cold winds will create blizzard conditions in the mountains, and rush down the river valleys to Seattle (we live right by one of those valleys). While Snoqualmie isn’t expecting a lot of snow due to the high winds, Seattle could see another 3-10 inches. Now, I take this forecast with a grain of salt (we were also supposed to receive a snow dump on Wednesday, which never materialized); but nonetheless, we’re getting ready.
Which such strong winds, we have to prepare for the possibility of an extended power outage. So we went to Fred Meyers to stock up on non-perishable food for the weekend. Well, we weren’t the only ones: Fred Meyers was a mess, and the check-out lines stretched from one end of the store to the other. We got out alive and are looking forward to our meals over the next week: Canned peaches, pistachios, root beer, and applesauce.
Kim just opened the front door, and saw whirls of white snow blowing from the rooftops, car-tops, and even straight off the lawns. We could see the green silhouettes of the fir trees in the distance, rocking and swaying in the roaring wind. Here we go!
It’s almost midnight, and currently 17 degrees in Snoqualmie, with a windchill of 6. I’ve never seen a windchill here in the Seattle area that low. I ran some errands earlier today in Issaquah, and took some beautiful pictures of a snowy Mt. Si from Borst Lake. The rest of the day we stayed home where it was nice and toasty.
The forecast is for more snow on Wednesday, and on the weekend before Christmas (oh, great!), and we likely won’t see 35 degrees again until Christmas Eve. As beautiful as it was outside today, living only within your house is not a fun way to live. It makes me really wish I lived in Hawai’i, where it’s in the 80s right now and I could wade into the ocean and smell the flowers on the warm breeze and lay back and look at the stars. It could be worse, though: Weather.com projects a -42 °F windchill for northern Minnesota tonight.
I was innocently surfing ESPN.com last week when my faithful old computer froze up. I tried to reboot it, but it apparently had finally had enough of my abuse, and refused to finish the boot, forever crashing repeatedly. Of course, since I don’t have the brains God gave a hazelnut, I never backed up any files on an external hard drive, so the status of my thousands of photos and other files is now in limbo. Lesson learned.