Monday, January 6, 2014

How I am Spending My Time During Winter Storm Ion

This meme is indeed appropriate. (And pure genius.) I wasn't aware there was a serious winter storm headed our way when Greg and I set out to run errands on Friday, we just thought we'd pick up some things while we were out. I ended up getting a new pair of snow boots with good tread and we picked up most of our needed groceries before the stores were ransacked by the panicking public. (Fun fact: milk and bread are the two things to disappear first off store shelves in an emergency. I have no idea why.) 

I was happy to have Saturday off, when they had anticipated the first flakes to fall, and when the weather turned out to be just fine, Greg and I spent the evening seeing The Hobbit: the Desolation of Smaug in the theater. I discovered a sneaky back way to the Rave Cinema that cuts off up to ten minutes of our drive time. Yay! I like their all-stadium seating.

Originally, I was supposed to be into work early on Sunday to do inventory, but with the storm supposedly on its way Saturday night, the owners decided to reschedule until Monday, when the storm was supposed to have passed. This was really too bad because Winter Storm Ion decided to alter its schedule, as well, and came a day late. I was stuck at work regardless, though, from 1am to 5pm, during which time we had a whopping two groups of customers resulting in 3 sales. When I saw a troupe in snow shoes trudge by the store, I knew it was time to go home.

The snow had been falling steadily all day Sunday, and I estimated we had received about 5 or 6 inches so far. I'd seen a number of plows and salt trucks go by while I was at work, and the roads had been great when I came in. Apparently those trucks didn't venture past the immediate downtown area, because I barely was able to inch my way to the highway, where the roads were a little clearer. It still took me over an hour to drive what should have been 20 minutes due to limited visibility from blowing snow and a good 2 inches on the road surface itself. My car fishtailed a few times (the addition of 100 lbs of rock salt to my trunk helped stabilize me), and I could barely make it around any bends on the road. I did NOT want to go out again after that!

Greg, however, wasn't worried and we went out anyway. It again took us an hour to make what should have been a 20 minute drive to our friends' house in Farmington. On our return, we got stuck at the end of their driveway. Luckily, our friends were able to push on out. Then we got stuck again for a minute at the end of the street, but were able to rock out on our own. The drive home was again quite slow, and we couldn't make into the drive we usually take to our parking lot, which had been freshly plowed when we left, because of the 6 inches that had fallen in the previous 6 hours. Greg managed to turn the car around and go in the main entrance up the road where it also wasn't plowed, but there were tracks we could drive in. 

Waking up this morning, I just had this feeling that inventory was not getting done. The store manager texted me to tell me her car had been plowed in. I peered out our sliding glass door at my own car, a pile of white with a good three feet of plowed snow behind it. Grand. I was supposed to be in at noon, so I started the unburying process around 10:30. The guy next to me was also attempting to get his car out. After spinning his tires for a few minutes, he did make it. There were a few of us around with shovels, too. This did not bode well. 

I went inside and looked on Google maps to see if I could get an idea of road conditions. A friend on Facebook informed me that highways 275 and 14 were in bad shape, and that is the precise route the owner of the store would be taking to get to Ann Arbor. Google claimed that that junction was closed. It also said that a few other junctions and ramps were closed, as well as a street in downtown Ann Arbor that I knew to have been open Sunday night. I texted this to the manager, then went back out to continue freeing my car. 

Just as I was readying to leave my parking space, I received a phone call that inventory had been canceled and I should not go in. Hallelujah! I really did not relish fighting the drifts. Every route I had inspected on Google maps had warning signs of danger. Every local school was closed, and most businesses were also warning employees to stay away. Phew!

Inspired by a friend, I immediately made a cup of hot cocoa and sat at my computer where I spent the next several hours performing maintenance and updates, an incredibly frustrating endeavor, but at least I finally had time to do it. I have also been working on a story that I intend to submit to an anthology for publication soon. It's my first steampunk short story, believe it or not, and I've based it in Japan.

All this typing has exposed my fingers to an uncomfortable amount of cold. I think it's time I wrapped them around a hot cuppa tea. I hope everyone else is also staying cozy! Happy Snow Day!

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