Nemo Finale

Looking down our street
Looking down our street

This morning we woke up (late) to a bright, sunshiny, monochromatic world. And a house with no heat. But the bright sunshiny world and temperatures in the upper 30s made today a much better day to have the furnace on the fritz than any other day of the storm. We’re actually not sure what the issue is – the furnace spontaneously began working again about 15 minutes prior to the arrival of the furnace guy. But all this was minimally inconvenient – the sunlight streaming in kept some rooms warmer than the furnace does!

Adam stands on the drifts on the house-side of the driveway
Adam stands on the drifts on the house-side of the driveway

So where did Nemo leave us? According to the National Weather Service, our friend dropped 22 inches of dry powerdy snow on Stoneham. 65 mile an hour winds sculpted those inches in to massive drifts and clear-swept sections – an inequal distribution that was exacerbated by the labors of homeowners with shovels, the suddenly popular owners of snow-blowers and the profiteering-but-slightly-lazy shovel wielding teens.

I thought, as I luxuriated in bed this morning (the covers being even more enticing when there is no heat in the room) that today would be a nice, quiet, peaceful day. We were snowed in enough to intimidate us from making the 20 mile trip to church. But then the furnace happened. Once that was resolved, I had to go grocery shopping. That was epic. The produce section of the store looked as though locusts had descended upon it. I’m guessing that bit didn’t get restocked. Either that, or everyone else in Stoneham also found a pressing need for bananas. This was even more epic because, starting on Ash Wednesday after service, I’m going to join my husband in attempting a Slow Carb Diet. I’m rather unconvinced of my ability to stick to this. Cutting out carbs and dairy is like, um, cutting out bread and milk from my diet. So while at Stop & Shop, I attempted to find slow-carb-compliant foods so I can at least make it a single week. We shall see.

Post Nemo: Locusts attacked
Post Nemo: Locusts attacked

And then more shoveling. Hours of effort yesterday + a borrowed snow blower + a pair of neighborhood teens got the first car unburied and the second car half unburied. Another 2+ hours of snowblower + shoveling and we can use our entire driveway again. These are things you don’t think about in October when you buy a house: where are you going to put the snow for your driveway? When it’s nearly two natural feet plus massive drifts, this becomes non-trivial. Two years ago, I had to walk each shovel full across the street. Fortunately, the next 7 days have highs above freezing, so we should lose a lot of the snowmass. As it is, it’s very difficult to turn corners driving due to lost visibility with the drifts.

If I had to rate this blizzard, I would give it an A for the following reasons:
1) Life time memory: the “boys” spending hours sledding down our street, followed by pancakes at midnight. These are the times you remember in your nursing home.
2) Actual vs. predicted snow: absolutely on target. This snow storm came precisely as billed
3) Loss of life: while there were a few tragic losses, there were fewer than usually accompany weather like this. Partially this is due to the precautions (draconic as they were) taken by our elected officials to shut everything down for an extended period of time.
4) Fellowship: I spent so much wonderful time this weekend with my neighbors and friends – all a stone’s throw from the house – that it was a joy. We played, ate, shoveled, laughed, watched movies, and enjoyed our time together. This is one of life’s great blessings.
5) Inconvenience: we kept power and only lost heat after it was no longer critically needed. It was a liberating inconvenience for us.

So Nemo: would recommend and do it again!

I give persective to the wall-side drifts. A "Before" picture would have shown the tips of the wipers as the only visible parts of the cars. (Due to drifting)
I give persective to the wall-side drifts. A “Before” picture would have shown the tips of the wipers as the only visible parts of the cars. (Due to drifting)

Nemo Day 2: Nemo’s revenge

Having chronicled my escapades in snow yesterday for you, it seems unfair to keep my breath-bated audience from finding out – as Paul Harvey would say – the rest of the story! As we return to the snowy streets of Stoneham, our heroic crew woke up a little too early after last night’s sledding-and-pancakes extravaganza (well, the masculine parts. The feminine parts lollygagged in bed for another few hours.)

The site that met the eyes upon awakening was a vast expanse of snow – still falling hard at mid-morning. It’s difficult to gauge the amount on the ground since the blizzard gales have sculpted and rearranged it, but I’d guess we have at least 18 inches – possibly more – of blizzard-spawn. The brave pancake eaters and street lugers from the dark have now been converted to studious snow-blowers and shovelers. The children – talking big talk about how much they want to build snow men just like Calvin – remain in their pjs.

The next planned activity is The Princess Bride!

Breaking Nemo News: from the front lines of Stoneham MA

This fall, your brave correspondent risked life, limb and coffee to bring you hourly, real-time updates about the ravages of Hurricane Sandy in Massachusetts (as seen through my windows). Trash cans fell over. Branches swayed. It was epic.

Now that we’re ACTUALLY going to be in the middle of a storm that might even AFFECT us, I thought there was nothing for me to do but put on my galoshes (or fuzzy slippers – whichever is more convenient) and continue that fine reporting tradition. Come back all day to find out what’s happening in Stoneham during this Epic Winter Event! You can also follow this on my twitter feed, Facebook page and G+ pages… until such a time as I get too lazy to update in four locations.

#Nemo 10 am: Actual snowflakes have been spotted in Stoneham, MA. I would get a head start on shoveling, but it’s not sticking yet.

#Nemo 11 am: Trying to figure out if we should expect two feet of snow or three. Turns out the scale maxes out at 24″ – which is shown as white. SOMEONE is getting clever!

Nemo snowfall predictions
Nemo snowfall predictions

#Nemo 12 noon: The snow is starting to thicken. Unsalted surfaces have started to look whitish. School was announced closed on Wednesday – starting to think they could have made it until the 2:20 closing time. Daycare closes in half an hour: prepare for influx of children!

#Nemo 1320: Roads closed. Children home. Mass transit shut down. Snow accumulation at nearly an inch. Proactively eating chocolate to prepare for possible future starvation.

#Nemo 1400: Snow day pirate map comics while we wait for enough snow to play in.

A productive snow day!
A productive snow day!

#Nemo 1420: BREAKING NEWS! My husband just brought me warm-from-the-oven cookies! And you were wondering why people always stock up on milk before snowstorms.

#Nemo 1500: Three hour long conference call complete. Snow now covering most surfaces outside and falling at a moderate rate. Pirate-comic completed and AWESOME.

Buried maternal treasure
Buried maternal treasure

#Nemo 1600: As the blizzard begins to bliz with increasing seriousness, I am preparing the emergency survival plan for my family. As night falls in New England, I have laid careful plans for gumbo and The Princess Bride. I may be so consumed by these dire tasks that I am unable to make updates for an hour or two, so do not send the Sherpas out for me until at least 2000.

#Nemo 1820: actual blizzard has arrived. There is probably six inches of snow, hard winds, and more falling. The only moving vehicles I’ve seen in three hours are plows. So far, so awesome!

#Nemo 2130: there are currently five dads and a dog sledding down our street. Wouldn’t the kids be jealous if they were still awake!!

There was no chance of this picture coming out as seen by the human eye
There was no chance of this picture coming out as seen by the human eye

#Nemo midnight: I have a table full of men eating pancakes and discussing Superman movies – after 2 hours of sledding. The snow is taller than the top step and falling fast. The windows are opaque with blown snow and ice. The wind is howling. The children are sleeping. Life is very, very good.

Men. With pancakes.
Men. With pancakes.