It does feel ironic to use a most modern and unfocused mechanism for reacting to a late Victorian text. But it’s more fun to read in company. https://twitter.com/hashtag/StevensStoneham?s=09
A few years ago, I took a walk in my neighborhood and found this strange tree. It was growing what looked like blackberries – only a bit skinnier and thornless. I, of course, did not eat a strange plant randomly growing by the side of the road. But not too much later, I got my copy of my much-thumbed, much-beloved foraging book. Reading through my book, in the cold winter nights, and contemplating how I could possibly make up flash cards to teach myself the identifications, one of the entries flashed past my eyes with recognition. “If I hear someone say they found a blackberry tree, I know it’s a mulberry”.
Huh. A mulberry.
Like so many people, my full experience of mulberries involves a monkey and weasel, engaged in not-too-good-natured athletics. But that had led me to expect a bush. This was a tree, half crowded over with invasive vines and taller trees. But half in and half out of the shade, it drops its bounty onto the sidewalk.
I had a hunch that it was about ripe, this time of year. And so I walked down with Thane to check it out. And lo, there were mulberries. I tasted one. It was delicious. I shared one with Thane. He liked it too. We came back with a sheet and two big paper bags.
Thane and I had a lovely time gathering the berries. There was a bit of climbing involved. I tried the recommended trick of shaking onto a sheet, but it didn’t work. We had very hard rains last night – I wonder if they knocked all the ripest ones down ahead of time.
Once Thane and I got (most) of them home. They’re pretty tasty. There wasn’t really enough for a pie, or a batch of jam. But I decided the opportunity was too critical to let pass, and I decided to make *half* a batch of jam, using a “berry” recipe from one of my books. It worked. Thane now filled with a tremendous sense of accomplishment, and the new but fervent belief that his favorite berries are mulberries.
1) Bike to Work
This week was “Bike to Work Week”. My employer is big into Bike To Work week, and strongly encourages people to participate. It’s also pretty mellow on the “show up exactly at 9 and leave exactly at 5” scale (as long as your work gets done). So with the near-completion of the Stoneham Greenway, all the way through to Winchester Center, I reckoned just maybe it was time to give it a try. I’m pretty scared of biking in traffic. My sister had an extremely serious biking injury when I was in my early teens. Biking in traffic like a grownup seems terrifying. So I posted to an internal group that I was interested in participating (going from my house to Alewife and taking the T in), but asking for good route advice. I got excellent route advice, a t-shirt with a weird Illuminati-biking theme, the loan of front and back headlights, and a colleague who SHOWED UP AT MY HOUSE AT 8:15 to ride in with me and make sure I felt safe. The mind boggles that people could be so awesome, but it turns out that sometimes they are.
It took a surprising amount of mental energy. It also took about 2 hours each way, so that’s unlikely to become a regular thing. I thought a lot about what I was going to do, how I was going to do it, and what I’d do if it didn’t work. It was a really novel experience, and I was interested to see how much my mind was engaged and excited by the novelty of it. I was also surprised and pleased that I wasn’t all that physically wiped out by it (except for mebbe that last hill on the way home). I’ve been in better shape lately – we’ve been running a loop with the bikeway as well which is close to 4 miles and I set a personal record best time & personal record longest run last week.
There was this moment, as I spun through brand-new asphalt on the not-quite-yet-finished bikeway where I really really enjoyed the fact that it exists at all. The community came together and made this thing happen, which was not easy. My first post about it was five years ago. Since then there have been Town Hall Meetings, letters to the editor, phone banking, cleanup days and patient and concerted effort to make it happen. It’s astonishing to think that after so long, the efforts of the good-hearted people of Stoneham are bearing fruit, but here they are!
Speaking of bearing fruit, I’ve been more than a little obsessed with my plums this year. The point at which you’re putting a space heater out for a fruit tree, you have crossed some important line. However, I’m happy to say that they’ve made it the furthest this year in the history of this benighted plum. There are hundreds of tiny little fruits. Most are the size of a lentil, but there are one or two that are the size of really small olives.
I’m excited to learn what disaster can kill fruit at this stage! I’ll let you know.
3) Attic Renovation
I’ve been getting strong pressure from maternal sources to post an update in the attic situation. Here’s the album where you can watch the whole thing progress. We have the electric & plumbing in, as well as a lot of the framing. Almost all the demo is completed (or was, until we increased scope like the home owners we are). The inspection has been done. There’s a bit of waiting for the next step – we need to put in the new windows, but they’re on order and won’t be ready until early June. We also need to get the HVAC in and all hooked up. We opted to go for a bigger unit so we can drop some cool air in summer down to the 2nd floor and actually get it to be a comfortable temperature – sandwiched between two zones. We also had to put in new hard-wired smoke detectors for the whole house to bring it up to code, and bring in a new electric bank. Once we have HVAC & windows in, we’ll do closed cell insulation from the bottom of the walls to the tip top of the roof. We’ll need to vacate the house then for a day. But that’ll be the biggest tipping point – then we can start doing finish type work like, you know, walls & stuff.
I reckon the project will be done by early August, if I’m lucky.
4)Time with my boys
I got to go to Fenway on Thursday night for the makeup game from Patriot’s day. It was so perfect. The weather was ideal. The game was excellent (and we won). It’s an interesting moment when you learn that your child is really good company. We had good conversations, we were game-watching-compatible. On the walk back to where we parked, he didn’t like how someone had bumped up against me, and then protectively took the spot between me and other people. How quickly we go from protecting them to them feeling protective of us. He’s still not bigger than me, but that will not last long.
In the same vein, every year for Mother’s Day we go to the Arnold Arboretum for the Lilac Festival. And every year for many the boys have climbed these ponderous birch trees with tempting limbs and I’ve taken their pictures there. This year, we arrived to find a denuded slope. I never thought that the grand trees my boys climbed on would not outlast our Mother’s Day tradition. I will admit tears welled in my eyes. I’m grieved for the magnificent trees that were lost (although I’m sure the arborists did everything in their power to save them). But it was this shocking moment to discover that we are all now old enough for things that were traditions to come to final endings. It’s astonishing enough to have sufficient tenure to parenthood to have traditions in the first place. I feel very unready to have traditions end.
5) Finding my feet again
Every year for Mothers Day I write my mother a letter about how things have been in the past year. Last year I wrote a letter that talked about how overwhelmed I was, especially with huge projects like the pastor search and kicking off the attic project. I added a few things to my tally during the course of the year, the largest of which was probably getting a new job. But slowly slowly slowly, since about January, I’ve been unburying myself from the accumulation of things that needed to be done, and shortening that infinite to do list. Clearing out the attic in preparation for our project was a huge one that I suspect added a lot to my anxiety. Things have been getting crossed off. I’m starting to arrive at a point where I almost feel like I can actually rest without guilt, sometimes. Of course, there’s always more to-do list to go, and I haven’t fulfilled every promise I made for “after we hired a pastor”. But I’m closer, and that’s really reassuring.
So that’s what’s up with me. What’s up with you?
Update : it was a packed and passionate house and a we’ll run debate. The vote was a close one. At the end, I’m glad to report that fiscal responsibility prevailed and the article was voted down. Phew! We heard from the town accountant that this might have made the high school three million dollars more expensive. Yikes!!!
Tomorrow is a big day in the town of Stoneham. We’ll gather in Town Hall, as we have for nearly 300 years in various buildings, and make decisions about our community. First, a few facts and links:
- All voting citizens of Stoneham are welcome. Non-citizens may attend, but need to sit up on the stage, since most votes are voice/hand votes. The meeting is at 7 pm on Monday May 7th 2018 at Town Hall in Stoneham (tomorrow!)
- If you’re wondering what we’ll be talking about, here are all the articles
- Supplemental materials can currently be found on the Town News Page
- If childcare is a problem, the fantastic Stoneham Rec Department is offering childcare during the meeting so all parents can attend!
The biggest question on the docket for our joint decision is whether to use our rainy day funds to temporarily cut our trash fee – Article 22. Here’s the text:
We’re likely to talk about this for an hour or two (these are not short meetings) and it’s almost certainly going to be one of the first things we talk about. I estimate we’ll probably vote on it between 8:30 and 9 pm. This is a complicated issue, so I wanted to provide my view (shared by every board in Stoneham) that we should VOTE NO ON 22.
Here are my key objections:
1) Using reserves to pay for recurring expenses may negatively affect our bond rating – which may make it more expensive or impossible to build a new high school.
2) Not having a rainy day fund may lead to nasty consequences for the town if there are any unexpected costs, or drops in revenue.
3) The downsides seem long term and serious. The upsides seem temporary and small. I’m afraid this will overall increase the financial burden on Stoneham residents, when effects on our bond rating are considered.
4) I’m unclear on who has provided the funding for the serious mailing and phone banking campaign in favor of this article. Does someone have something to gain? What and who?
Here are some more notes on those high level thoughts
1) Paying for recurring expenses with savings
State guidelines advise that the town should have 3% to 5% of our operating budget in Free cash each year. That is a target between $1.98m to $3.3m in free cash each year. If we were to approve this article, we would have only $328k. (See the analysis here.)
There are some real and serious consequences to this kind of budgetary move. Our neighbors over in Lynn just learned this the hard way. This proposal effectively makes the mistake that Lynn is trying to recover from, and may lead to statements like this “The negative outlooks reflects our expectation that the city will continue to be challenged to effectively match recurring revenues with recurring expenditures”. With this proposal we’re paying for recurring expenditures NOT with revenues but with savings.
2) Not having enough savings set aside for even a mild shower, never mind a rainy day
Selectman Colarusso’s previous actions have already dropped our safety net for any issues with water in sewer from 2.24 million dollars in 2014 to as low as
$23,955.72 on April 9th – a 10th of the recommended amount (and not nearly enough to pay to fix a water main break).
Currently our housing market is strong, and our tax revenues are strong along with it. The regional economy is doing well. I know many people’s well being has not risen with those macro trends, but there is every reason to believe that at some point in the future there may be a correction in the housing market, or a challenges in the larger economy. When that day comes, our town will have already frittered away our flexibility and savings. That may mean we would have to make immediate cuts in safety, education or critical services if at any point our revenues falter at all, or if there’s any unexpected costs. As any homeowner has experienced, if you don’t have a little extra set aside to fix a roof or a small leak, it can lead to much larger and more expensive long term consequences. The same is true for towns.
3) We want to build a new high school
There is a lot of serious discussion about building a new high school in town. Our existing building is profoundly challenged to meet the needs of our students and ensure that kids coming out of our town are well educated and ready for the world. We will need to borrow the money for such a major expenditure (especially if we spend all our savings). The cost of borrowing may go up if we are considered a poor credit risk (like Lynn). If we end up paying a higher interest rate because of our fiscal irresponsibility, the overall cost to the residents of the town of Stoneham may very well be far more than gets returned in trash fees, temporarily. It’s like going on “holiday” using a credit card with a 22% interest rate.
4) This just doesn’t make sense. So why did so many people get letters and phone calls supporting it?
I do not understand why so much money was sunk into campaigning for an article that I think will hurt this town. It makes no sense. If you want to help residents pay their bills, that money would seem much more useful in creating a fund to assist residents & help directly. I’m especially confused since Selectman Colarusso’s last campaign to cut water fees led to such a painful and negative outcome with our Water and Sewer board. That entire experience seemed really negative for the people of Stoneham, with unexpectedly huge bills taking people who plan carefully by surprise. I have not heard any discussion about why the outcome would be different this time.
Every single board in town (Finance Committee, School Committee & the other four selectmen) have taken votes recommending against this article. Across the 22 members on those resident board and committees, only one voted in favor of this article: Selectman Colarusso. Given that lack of widespread local support, I find it hard to believe that Stonehamites are making political donations to support a campaign to spend our reserves. If they are, let me recommend that a fund to help folks pay for their bills would be way more effective in supporting their neighbors.
So please, come tomorrow to Town Hall. Ask your questions. Read the materials. And come vote!!
In trying to be ready for this, I made a Freedom of Information act request for data on both the Trash Fund and Water and Sewer fund. There wasn’t as much information as I hoped, and it is a bit hard to understand, but here’s what was provided to me.
You can see all the documents I’ve been using in this Google Drive folder.
The Town Accountant Dave Castellarin doesn’t have balances for the water & sewer enterprise funds. From what the Budget Analyst said to me it’s like taking a snapshot of a point in time and it wouldn’t be giving you a true balance. The Town Accountant told me that it’s something he calculates at the end of the year. I did ask them if they could write something up to explain it to you and hopefully they will get that done.
The first two attachments are the worksheets that the Town Accountant had shown the Board of Selectmen at their March 6th meeting. He also used them at the meeting the Water & Sewer Review Board held when they recommended the increase. He doesn’t have anything with projected balances for the water and sewer enterprise funds and it sounded like he wasn’t comfortable creating that. The Budget Analyst Al Rego emailed the trash balance to me this morning:
As of today, April 30th, the current balance of the trash fund is $144,861.86.
He also forwarded a spreadsheet which he said showed the impact of Article 22 to the free cash. Not sure if that was the type of impact you were looking for but it’s attached as copy of book 1.
I asked the Selectmen, Finance Board and School Committee if any presentations were done for them and the answer from all three boards was no. I have attached minutes that the School Committee gave me because they discussed it at their meeting in early April.
I will point out to you because I’m not sure if it’s been mentioned publicly that Town Meeting does not have the authority to grant a “Trash Fee Holiday”. This article would possibly pay 1.1 million for trash from free cash but it would not do away with the trash fee. The trash fee is by the vote of the Board of Selectmen. They are the only ones who can put it in place, take it away or change the amount raised.
Hopefully what I have sent will be helpful. If you have questions on what you are looking at you can try reaching out to the Town Accountant Dave Castellarin at email@example.com or Budget Analyst Al Rego firstname.lastname@example.org . The telephone number for accounting is 781.279.2690.
Let me know if you need anything else.
In my post on my choices for the upcoming 2018 election (which you can read here) I said the following:
More seriously, she [Caroline Colarusso] has bankrupted our water and sewer system to the point where all our rainy day funds are gone, and you will see a 29% increase in your next bill. That’s an average of $75 a quarter this coming year PLUS we have no money in the rainy day fund now. Caroline led the charge, sending out flyers for the Water and Sewer policy that ran through the savings we’d put aside. She wants to bankrupt our trash system in the same way. (Mark your calendars for the Town Hall Meeting Monday, May 7, where we need to show up and fight this fiscally irresponsible plan.)
Caroline asked to meet with me this weekend, taking umbrage with much of what I wrote, but in particular this section. “There’s $692k in the account! That’s not bankrupt!” She asked how I could justify that statement. Since she’s proposing we make this exact mistake again, in the upcoming trash fee discussion, I thought it was worth discussing at more length.
Question: How can you have money in an account and still be bankrupt?
Answer: When your expenses exceed the amount of money you have to pay for them.
There are three possible amounts of money we should have in our water and sewer reserve fund. Some recommend 10% of costs. Some recommend 15%. Our current stated target is 3 months worth of operating expenses. In 2014, the town had 2.24 million in the reserve fund (3 months). Today we have 692k in the reserve fund (~6%). If a 30% rate increase had not been approved for the next bill you will get, dear taxpayer, that sum would be $0, or negative. Zero percent. The difference was the initiative led by Caroline to drain our reserves for a temporary rate cut.
Perhaps you think it’s not important to have this money set aside in the reserve fund, but please note that this is the money that is used to pay for water main breaks. We have had numerous such breaks in the past years, and it would be surprising if we went for a long time without having more. If all of a sudden North Street is flooded, do you want to hear that we have no money set aside to fix it? What if it’s a sewer main, spilling literal crap into our streets?
There was not enough money in the bank this quarter to pay our bills without either using the very last drops of our reserve fund, or raising rates. If we completely wiped out our reserve fund this quarter, those big rate increases would still come next quarter. And we’d be hosting bake sales to pay for water main breaks.
I’d love to direct you to the links on the Town of Stoneham website that include all the agendas and supporting details on this. By law, those documents are required to be available. However, despite the fact I could have sworn they were available previously, they are no longer there. I had to ask Selectman Anthony Wilson to help me find the information. I’m attaching my sources to this post, and invite correction or (better yet) for correct data to be posted to the town website by the appropriate authorities.
Water and Sewer projections from 2017 (which are very close to actuals)
Water and Sewer retained earnings (reserve fund)
Slides showing how the previous rate cut impacted our reserve
Water and Sewer was clearly bankrupt because without a 30% increase, there was not enough money to pay the bills. And Caroline is advocating that we do it again, this time with our trash services. Let’s at least be smart enough to learn from our mistakes.
Stoneham Town Election: Tuesday, April 3 2018
The Annual Town Election will be held on Tuesday, April 3, 2018. The polls will be open from 7AM-8PM at the Town Hall, 35 Central Street.
This election sort of snuck up on me. It’s in April. April is spring. It is snowing and cold. Therefore, the election is not soon. That was the subconscious process. But this year has been a year when lawn signs have been buried under snow mounds, and the election is only 10 days away. I have done less preparation for my vote this year than I did last year. I did not make time to interview the candidates myself, so much of my decision making comes from watching how these folks have acted in the past and interacted at town events.
Once again, I’m excited by the vibrant political life of our little town. I’m amazed at people’s willingness to work hard and put themselves out there for what is essentially a volunteer job. I’m grateful for all the candidates for offering to undertake the hard and often thankless work of making our town the best place it can be.
With no further ado, here are my selections. As always, I’m open to new information or to having my thinking changed. You can reach out to me at email@example.com with resources, polite comments or questions. I do moderate comments on the post, and consider rudeness or incivility of supporters a black mark against a candidate.
Selectman: (Pick Two)
Raymie Parker (strong recommendation)
School Committee: (Pick Two)
Constable: (Pick Three)
I’m looking at this election as an amazing opportunity to change the tone in our government, and return to civility and reasoned decision making. The two candidates up for re-election have deeply disappointed me with how they treat other elected officials, town employees, and people with whom they disagree. We are very fortunate that we have some excellent, collaborative choices instead!
Raymie is a consistent presence in the civic life of Stoneham. She is there at every Town Meeting, prepared to talk intelligently about the issues at hand. She spends generously of her time and energy on volunteer work, with a focus on our youth sports programs. I have found her thoughtful and independent, with a deep commitment to the well-being of our town and all its residents. I’m hopeful that on the board, she’ll turn her care for youth into making sure that we have a solvent, sensible budget plan and a focus on building a new high school. This post in particular speaks to that intention. I’m very excited to vote for Raymie!
I am voting for John, with some reservations. On the plus side, he has long experience on the Board of Selectmen from prior terms, and understands what needs to be done in the job. There have been times in his past service that he has not shown the level of respect and civility I expect from public servants. I’m hoping that given another chance, that’s something he’d work to rectify.
Tom is a man with a lot of energy and passion, and when it’s directed towards bringing people together, that’s been a great asset to the town. But in the last few years, I’ve been saddened to see that Tom has sometimes directed that passion unkindly. His interactions with town employees has been that of a bully. The employees of the town of Stoneham are a huge part of the success (or not) of the town. If we have disengaged, fearful folks working on our behalf, we will never be able to do big things. I would not hire a bully to work on a team I led. And I won’t hire a bully to lead the town I live in, with my vote.
When Caroline was running for State Rep, she sent out a mailing in which the face of her opponent had been photoshopped with zits. One of the groups supporting her sent out a mailing persecuting transgender people, which she is on tape supporting. She is unwilling to even be in the same room as people she disagrees with. I watched with my own eyes as one of her friends attended a charity event she had said she’d be at (although she did not actually pay for a ticket to that event) to watch and see when Mike Day left, so she wouldn’t have to be in the same room as him. She came just long enough to take pictures to post on social media, then left. It was childish behavior. More seriously, she has bankrupted our water and sewer system to the point where all our rainy day funds are gone, and you will see a 29% increase in your next bill. That’s an average of $75 a quarter this coming year PLUS we have no money in the rainy day fund now. Caroline led the charge, sending out flyers for the Water and Sewer policy that ran through the savings we’d put aside. She wants to bankrupt our trash system in the same way. (Mark your calendars for the Town Hall Meeting Monday, May 7, where we need to show up and fight this fiscally irresponsible plan.) (See more details in my subsequent post.) Speaking of responsible, I’ve never once seen her take responsibility for the consequences of her actions. For example, she and Tom opposed* the simple act of accepting almost half a million dollars from state to improve our sidewalks (Complete Streets). (Winchester got the grant, and is now getting over $800k). But instead of owning the consequences to the town about that decisions, she creates fear, uncertainty and doubt. Moreover, her ardent supporters have been known to create fake personas (especially on Facebook) She’s been a disastrous leader for Stoneham, and I cannot support her candidacy for any role.
*Selectman Wilson stated that his motion to accept the $50,000 grant from Mass DOT that will lead to the $400,000 Complete Streets funding still stands. Selectman Seibold seconded the motion.
Selectman Boussy moved to table this until the new TA is in place. Selectwoman Colarusso seconded the motion.
Voting in favor:
Vice Chairwoman Colarusso
We’re spoiled for good choices with School Committee. We’re lucky to have dedicated, hard-working people willing to spend their free time ensuring our children are getting a great education. I had a tough time picking from the top three. That said, here are my choices.
Thomas is a relatively recent graduate of Stoneham Public Schools, and has been running an energetic and enthusiastic campaign to advocate for his alma mater. Despite being young, he’s no novice to Stoneham politics. He is serving capably and admirably on the Finance Committee now. I have had several conversations with him in other circumstances, and I really enjoy his energy, optimism and enthusiasm. If I’m thinking about who I want fighting for my kids’ education, I think Thomas is a great choice.
I don’t have any first person experience with Jaime, but she has an excellent reputation in town. She’s been the PTO president for Robin Hood Elementary School for several years, which I think points to a willingness to do hard (and thankless) work to benefit kids. It also speaks well to her organizational and coalition building skills. She seems like someone I’d be happy to vote for.
Cory Mashburn Updated
I have very little information on Cory. He might be a great choice, but it’s a crowded field. I feel like Thomas and Jaime both bring a balance of skills and experience which will be great, but can’t really spot from his public information what Cory would uniquely bring to the table. I’ve done some more research on Cory, directed there by many of his ardent and excellent supporters. He seems like a dedicated, intelligent and capable person who I think would do a fine job in the role. I sincerely hope he’ll choose to run again if he doesn’t make it this time, when I can give him my full support. He makes a focused case on social-emotional intelligence in the school curriculum. I personally am more concerned with a new high school, which wasn’t one of the things he focused most on. I think the current curriculum (as seen by my middle schooler) seems pretty darn good! I’m sure it could be better, though. I wish I could vote for three candidates!
George has run for several local offices in the past, including State Rep (R). He might be fine in the School Committee (although his platform seems to be unarticulated and he doesn’t highlight what he would be able to contribute that others wouldn’t). But I have trouble getting past his support for Caroline. (Peak irony in this quote from his letter supporting her: She spearheaded efforts to reduce the trash fee for every resident.) That makes me wonder if he’d be fiscally responsible with our kids’ education.
This is another tough one. I have no data on most of the candidates. I would decline to vote for Robert Sweeney, based on how he comported himself in opposition to the Greenway. But I have no information on the other candidates.
All opinions expressed are soley those of Brenda, and do not reflect the official opinion of any group, including my employer.
It is hard to tell, in these later days, when something is really bad or when it is simply overhyped. Or possibly, really bad but national coverage so you only got the glancing blow from it. (See also: Hurricane Sandy.)
Today’s blizzard has the makings of a Real Event. We’re used to storms up here. It snowed on Christmas Day and we thought it was scenic. Until we had to start shoveling, at least. In 2015, feet of snow fell and did not melt on an unrelenting weekly basis. Snow is no reason to panic. But today’s storm has a few attributes that make me think the hype has a chance to be justified, and we have a reason to be wary.
1) The key one is the wind. Usually our snow storms are just snow. It falls on our driveway and we shovel it. But this storm has near hurricane force winds associated with it. Sideways snow is more serious than straight snow. This makes it harder to keep a house warm, and also threatens trees. We’ll be absolutely fine as long as we keep power. This isn’t usually an issue. But things will get very serious for us very quickly if we lose power. And that’s what wind threatens to do.
2) Potential. The worst of this storm is actually offshore. Our planned 12 – 15 inches is not the best this storm can do. The heart of it could be worse. And it’s gradually been moving closer to us. Even two or three days ago this was only going to be 4 inches. It’s a tiny distance. If the weather forecasters get just a bit of a surprise, we could end up with far more snow than any of us are ready for.
3) Cold. The storm is part of a one/two punch. It’s actually “pretty warm” today (eg. in the 20s). Given our streak of last week (seven days under 20 degrees – which hasn’t happened in 100 years) twenty actually sounds pretty warm. And it is, compared to what’s coming next. There are places in the world where a winter temperature of -9 degrees is normal. Boston is not one of them. We’re right next to the ocean, which ought to moderate our temperatures. It’ll be worse inland. This is not a normal temperature and may set a new record for the day on Saturday. This is what makes the prospect of losing power so appalling.
On the plus side, pretty much everyone wisely canceled almost everything, so we’re working from home. It’s cozy. The kids are much older now, so it’s a lot easier to spend a day with them! And I’m looking forward to the traditional snow day pot luck with neighbors!
I’ll keep you posted!
10:18 am – They say we’ll be getting about two inches of snow an hour from now until 4 or 5 pm tonight. So far it’s not too heavy, but very steady. Accumulations are hard to gauge because of the wind. I hear some plows attempting to plow a nearby parking lot. Good luck – this snow won’t stay where you put it!
11:28 am – Visibility has dropped a lot. I can probably only see about 200 feet. The snow appears to be falling sideways and you can hear Hollywood-style whistling. I’m on my second pot of coffee.
1:31 pm – The neighbors have started shoveling and snowblowing. I’m skeptical regarding how useful that is in 40 mph winds. Visibility has, if anything, gotten worse. So has the wind.
3:32 pm – The dark is rising and the snow is falling.
11:21 pm – well. I think that was as much snow as we’ve ever dug out of our driveway from one storm. The snow piles are nearly as tall as 2015! The snow stopped falling around 5 pm and the wind stopped whipping. It’s hard to tell with the drifts how much fell, but I’d have to think it was at least a 12 inch baseline. And our driveway is not kind to us in the drift department. Adam probably spent 3 hours shoveling. I spent at least two. It really had to be done tonight, because the big freeze coming will make the snow harder and the work harder. But we did it. Mostly. I think.
If I can’t move my arms tomorrow, you’ll know why.