Winter is not a season, it’s an occupation.

1391808029371IMAG0276_BURST002  IMAG0285_BURST001I can totally relate to this Sinclair Lewis quote.  Winter is a full time job!  When I tell people that we moved here from California the response I often get is “Oh, I could never live there, I’d miss the seasons!”  Ha! Not me.  Winter is a very taxing, expensive and time consuming season.  It makes nearly everything harder. Driving, paying utility bills, taking care of animals, staying warm, getting things (food, water, trash, recycling, etc) to and from the house (we can’t drive to our house – too slippery on the dirt driveway up the hill) – it’s all that much more arduous in the cold and snow.

Last week (on Valentine’s Day) it started to snow.  My kids’ (rural) schools let out 2 hours early so that the buses could get everyone home safely.  The school at which I teach is urban – they finished out the entire school day.  By the time I left around 3:30 PM it was coming down hard and fast and I still needed to run by the grocery store and gas station before hitting the highway.  The trip home was slow and the closer I got to our little country town the slower it became until at about 2 miles out it came to a standstill.  It took nearly an hour to inch those 2 miles.  IMAG0679_1On the other side of town is a big hill – it’s steep going up and steep coming down and every time it snows someone slides off the side.  Once I got through town I opted for the narrow backwoods road which although curvy has much smaller hills.  It was still snowing hard and it was difficult to see where the edge of the road was so when a snowplow came blazing around a curve in front of me and I edged over to give him room I went straight into the ditch!

Luckily only my front right tire was off the road so with a little back and forth motion I was able to pull myself out and continue on my way.  Still a bit shaken I crawled along at a cautious pace with the windshield wipers flipping back and forth at a furious pace trying to keep enough of the glass clear for me to view the road. I’ll admit after the snowplow incident I was keeping to the center of the road – ditches line the road on both sides and filled with snow they look like part of the road.  The locals drive a lot faster than I do on these back roads even in bad weather and as I rounded a curve I met up with one coming from the opposite direction.  He hit his brakes and immediately started to slide sideways towards me; I had nowhere to go so I clenched my teeth and waited for the impact – and our cars cleared each with about 2 inches to spare.  If I could have pulled off and waited for my trembling to subside I would have. But there was nowhere to pull off to and the snow was just getting worse so I kept driving.  When I finally reached the safety of my relative’s driveway I was so shaky that I could hardly manage to carry the groceries up the hill to the house.  IMAG0287The house where I was met with outside chores still to be done and a utility bill that matched my monthly wage when I had a job!  Yes, winter is an occupation around here.

While we are currently enjoying some sunshine and warmer temps (it’s supposed to get up to 50 today), I’ve been warned not to put away the winter coats and scarves just yet.  Next week it’s back to single digits at night.  I could quite happily miss winter!


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6 Responses to Winter is not a season, it’s an occupation.

  1. Scott says:

    Quick question: Do you have winter tires for your car? They really do make a world of difference when driving in snow. In some areas of North American (Quebec) it is law that if you are a resident that you must have winter tires installed after a certain date in December.
    A lot of people will say too… but they’re expensive and I don’t want to spend the money… Yes but your all season radials will also last longer since they’re used less.

    A finally.. we’re carrying our most precious cargo in the cars. We want them to be as safe as possible.

    My 2 cents…

    Great blog – keep up the good fight!

  2. Another Lynn says:

    Totally agree with you about no need for four seasons. If I could move south of the border and have spring year-round, I would do it in a heartbeat. This has been a hard, hard winter.

  3. bogart says:

    Sounds difficult and scary, so glad you are OK. As I’ve mentioned before I’ve thought of you and yours often this winter — we are living in an area that has been touched by the unusual cold and we’ve had somewhat more snow than normal. But my area hasn’t been affected the ways yours has, and my family isn’t living as close to the edge as yours is (nor are we rural, or caring for animals, and I’ve done both and get how that changes things. Also, I know what it costs to keep a single-wide warm(ish)!).

    I know you’ve got several more months of cold, but I hope within about a month the worst of it will be behind you.

  4. Sheila Smith says:

    I’d say your guardian angel was working overtime.

  5. Lynn says:

    Thanks for the vivid picture of a very hard day, one of many I am sure. I hope next year is better for all of you.

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