Monday, January 31, 2011

Sorry Bozemanites...

The first thing I had to do after learning tomorrow was a snow day (after doing a little dance of joy) was call my Mother and taunt her with the fact that we get the day off for the "potential of severe weather."  My Mother is a teacher in a district that has not had a snow day since 1987.  Not kidding.  They only had a snow day because the wind chill was some obscene number like  -60 degrees or something.  We are looking at about -20 degrees tomorrow.

Not that I am going to complain about the unexpected day off, but I feel like we would have probably been okay without the snow day.  This morning's commute (normally 10 minutes) took me 30, and that was after spending nearly a half hour chipping ice off my windshield.  Let's just say that driving on a solid sheet of ice on the freeway makes me REALLY thankful for my 4WD Jeep and studded snow tires.  I wish I had studded shoes after I fell down on the sidewalk!  But I made it to work and I could probably do the same thing tomorrow.

However, I think why winter storms are a bigger deal here is that they happen somewhat infrequently.  It is easy to forget that there is the potential for ice and snow when you have 70 degree days in January, and people forget that driving on ice is a completely different skill and your confidence really goes away.  Even I am guilty of this, despite the fact that my first driving experience ever was in winter.  But we cannot forget that I also drove the trainer car into the ditch my first day of Driver's Ed as well.  Ooops.  There are also about 10x as many cars on the road here than in Bozeman, so there are just more people to hit or be hit by.

We get lulled into a false sense of security about winter when we go weeks and weeks without any snow to speak of.  Granted, it is sort of like waiting to be shoved off a cliff because when it snows here,  it REALLY snows.

Remember the December 2006 blizzard?  I do, because I was stranded at DIA.  Then took a four hour bus ride back to Denver.  Next, I took the only bus that got remotely near my house (if you count walking 30 blocks in a blizzard nearby) because I was not getting stranded at the Stapleton PnR.  By the time I got home a couple hours later, dragging my suitcase, not dressed appropriately and wearing clogs, walking from 14th and Quebec to 8th and Cherry, I was disoriented and hypothermic.  The last few blocks all I wanted to do was lay down in the snow and go to sleep.  That is how people die in snowstorms.    

Anyway, dear Montana friends, I wish you all the best at work and school tomorrow.  :)  I am going to sleep in, clean my house and watch the snow fall while I run inside on the treadmill.  And in a week, chances are I will be back to wearing Chacos.

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