Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Pros and cons of a big snowfall

We're not necessarily "paralyzed" as the news reports claim, but the D.C. area certainly does not need an additional 10 to 20 inches of snow as predicted in the next 24 hours. Below is what we awakened to a couple of days ago - lots of beautiful, fluffy, snow! There are many pros and cons involved with a heavy snowfall. I thought my tropical blogger friends might appreciate some of the realities of living in this clime (more Northern friends know what I'm talking about all too well!). First pro/con reality: no school!!! And for those of us who work in schools, no work!!! This is the hugest YAY! a big snowfall can bring. Some cancellations are not so happily received - my master gardener class has been cancelled and I'm pretty sure Starbucks is closed too. Here's a con - and just a con for me since as I get older, I'm getting crankier - sledding. Having a younger child means I actually have to get out there and sled as well. Though the sledding is fun, taking off my glove every five seconds to wipe a little one's runny nose, isn't so fun. Carrying a little one back from the hill b/c she's sooooo tired is not so fun.

Pro: some of the most gorgeous scenery. Even the old creek we take for granted looks cool and refreshing.

Another beautiful pro: icicles! Does it get more idyllic than that? Con: now look at it another way - sharp daggers waiting to fall on some one's unsuspecting head! We'd been watching that big one get longer and longer, then decided to smash them all down. We suspected that the weight of the icicles on the gutters was an expensive spring repair waiting to happen.

Con: fines are doled out if residents do not shovel their sidewalks within a reasonable amount of time. Pro: each year it snows, I look forward to getting out there and shoveling. It really is fun to be out among neighbors, working on the sidewalk, but the work gets quickly tedious, especially if (con) there is a layer of ice below the 2 feet of snow.

Con: when there is this much snow, it's difficult to figure out where to even dump the snow! Here you can see the snow piled up on the corner of the driveway. My husband's car is actually on the street behind the snow.

Con: most of the smaller streets were not plowed until late in the day (our city is usually really good with this). With a snow like this, an unplowed road means you cannot travel through. One road which leads to our house was closed due to a fallen power line. Another was closed due to a fallen tree, and the other, I can navigate with my SUV, but most sedans cannot safely navigate due to the ice and the incline of the road. A neighbor's friend in another town over lost power for about 2 days when she asked me to go rescue her and her baby. Having no power means no heat, no ability to cook. Since people had ransacked the stores, and since the street for this friend had not been plowed, meant a very uncomfortable situation. Though I thought it would be an easy feat to drive my car out, when I got out there, I realized the best bet was to drive my husband's car in the photo below. Pro: we live on a larger street, so we'd been plowed when many secondary streets had not. Con: the drawback of plowing means all the cars on the street become blocked in with a thick and tall layer of plowed icy snow. It required a 4-person 30 minute dig out before we could go pick up the friend in need.

Con: after this magnolia below has survived ice storms, Brood-X cicadas, torrential rainfalls, and my cable tie tourniquet, alas it has been split in two sections. I don't see a pro here at all. :(

Pro: I think with a big snow storm like this, as long as one accepts the reality of some of these cons like I've mentioned, it can ultimately be kind of fun. You don't see photos of my older kid because she's been pretty much gone for the past few days - at the hill, at a friend's house, at a friend's hill, here. As long as there's a a dryer running to get wet clothes ready for the next sledding excursion, a continuous supply of hot cocoa and snacks, the older ones are content. Of course my younger one below, has also been having a grand time.


  1. Wendy,
    Oh I hope you keep warm and have lots of fun sledding. :) You have gotten your share of snow...it must be epic amounts.
    I hope you have a lot of cocoa stored for days ahead.

    I like the photo of your daughter inside looking out and the icicles, and black cat!


  2. Wendy, I see both the pros and the cons in this situation, not sure if I want to be snowed in or not! It has been a long time since Toronto has been snowed in like that, Owen Sound gets tons of snow, but we have three fireplaces if the power goes off, so at least warmth!
    Too bad about the mag, that is a huge con!

  3. We've been seeing your snowfall all over the news...nice to see it up close and personal. We had big snow last year, but it only happens about once a decade around here, making it a big treat. Thanks for sharing the beauty and the fun. I'd say your pros are ahead of your cons, especially when I look at that cherubic smile in the last shot.

  4. I saw on the news all the snow you have been having. With all the snow you should take photos and enter in the Gardening Gone Wild Photo contest...winter's light.
    I would hate to have to go to the grocery store in all that snow. :/
    Looks like your lil one is having fun! Stay warm. ~Amy

  5. I understand all your pro's & con.
    The place where I live - you would hear me scream...
    Tonnes & Tonnes of them - you can make ice cream, juice & make snow angels, snow balls and snow man..(hehehe)

    Its getting very hot in my place and everyone is falling sick because of the weather.

  6. Haaaaay, all i know is i cannot imagine what you are going through because i haven't experienced snow in this lifetime, just touched a little, but that is not the real thing. I cannot say i envy your condition because i might be transported there by magic and i will not be able to withstand that cold. Eeeerie somewhat!

  7. Great photos. The magnolia tree made me sad. :o( Here in Western CO, we get the perfect amount of snow - usually we get one or two snowfalls of about 10" that sticks for around a week. The rest melts off as soon as it comes. I'm happy with that.
    I enjoy shoveling snow too. We don't have much sidewalk, and all the neighbors get out there at the same time, so it's fun. (Except for Mr. Grumbly on the corner. I usually do his so I don't have to listen to him gripe.)
    So how long before you can plant cold weather crops, like broccoli and such? I was hoping to get mine in next week, but our highs haven't been above freezing yet.

  8. I enjoyed reading both your pros and cons! They do sound fun. Maybe it is because it is really hot today and snow seems so cooling he he... And yup that shovel is the gym gear during winter for you and hubby - an exercise/hobby in replacement to gardening :-D

  9. Hello Wendy, I'm in northern VA and we're going through the same thing at the moment! I agree with everything you said. My kids are older (and so am I!) so they can wipe their own noses (!) and my son can actually help shovel!! Daughter is in college and probably is happy not to be here! It is fun as long as nothing serious occurs like injuries or power outages. One of my lovely holly trees has snapped in half, and I'm concerned about the heaviness of this snow on my azalea bushes. After the 'thaw', whenever that will be, we will all find out what damages have occurred. Stay warm;-) Jan

  10. Rosey - they keep calling it the storm of the century. It's all very melodramatic! I've run out of cocoa, and am going to share with the kids the joys of ovaltine.

    Deborah - I'm jealous of your big beautiful fireplaces. It'd be so cozy to have one.

    Amy - I will have to check out those photo contest. I love the entries I've seen for other themes.

    Ricki - thanks! I love that photo of my newly 5 year old!

    James and Andrea - the snow is a very amazing thing. Honestly I would rather be in the snow than the blazing heat on most days! It's just a matter of dressing for the occasion. :)

    Julie - our winter story usually sounds the way yours does. THe sense of community as everyone is out there is a great thing. It's still a bit early for cold weather crops here...need to consult my calendar otherwise the time usually slips by me. I have been successful with starting broccoli in the fall though, so hopefully that will work out this year as well. It's hard to imagine that right now though!

    Stephanie - you're right! Hubby did mark the shoveling as exercise on his calendar. I guess I should have mentioned that as a pro AND con. Con: the sore muscles approx 36 hours after shovelling!

    Jan - My older kid has been helping this year - but with her new facebook account, it's almost more work tearing her off the computer! I'm off to check out your blog and see if you've posted any snow pics! You're right about injuries though. I always feel a little nervous about this. My friend's friend's mom was killed by a snowplow when he was a kid. I can't imagine snow would bring too many pleasant memories after that. I guess all we can do is just to try to stay safe - not go out just to go out.

  11. Your icicles were pretty awesome too! I think it's double bad luck if there's a black cat under them ;-)

  12. That cat is always giving me a hard time!


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