At least, that’s how the news anchors have been referring to the weather events in Seattle this week. Or “Snowpocalypse!!”. I love the names they come up with for these “major” local news events – the 9-day closure of the Alaskan Way Viaduct (a 1950s elevated highway now being replaced by a tunnel) in October was met by headlines screaming about “VIADOOM!!“. And yes, the exclamation marks are mandatory. It’s brilliant – I can’t wait to hear what they come up with for the inevitable flooding that’s going to follow the big thaw!
Anyway…so yes, we’ve had a bit of snow this week.
It started last Saturday, and snowed pretty much non-stop for 5 days. It’s been both breath-taking, and maddening for me.
Breathtaking because it’s really made us appreciate where we live now. This Dream House is even more beautiful in the snow, the neighbourhood turned into a true winter wonderland, and our huge garden really came into its own – we actually had room to build a snowman this year!
And while I am loathe to say anything negative about our lovely old Brighton home, which holds so many very precious memories, there’s no denying that our snowy January 2010 was a markedly different scene to 2012’s version:
Beauty and big gardens aside, though, it’s also been a maddening week. I’ve been meaning to post for a while about the possibly inevitable side effect of giving up work and moving across the ocean with a toddler and a whole host of pregnancy hormones in tow – the lonesome blues! Wow – no matter how inevitable, and hopefully short-term, those blues are, it’s still pretty tough to deal with. I will still write more about that one of these days, but last week, we finally had a full diary. I’d signed up to more “Mommy groups” than I could even remember the names of, and said yes to pretty much every event I was notified of. Evie and I had something in the calendar every single day – from inflatable fun at “Pump it Up” to art classes at Gymboree – and I was feeling positive about finally getting a chance to get to know some other mums, and Evie finding some fun new playmates. Having moved three times in three months, and with Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year thrown into the works, everything has felt quite on-hold until now – but this was Our Big Week! Was. Was our big week. And then Snowmageddon hit, and that was the end of that – everything in the last week got canceled, including my optician appointment. Quite the disaster, given that I ran out of contact lenses weeks ago, and Evie has now apparently decided that glasses are, like, totally not a good look for me. At least, I assume that’s what she’s trying to say when she squeals “No, Mummy!”, pulls them off my face and tosses them across the room with a look of disgust on her face. Charming.
It’s definitely been an interesting week, with some great ups, and some miserable downs. Several trees in the garden have fallen apart under the weight of the snow. We ran out of firewood, and tried not to panic as the lights continually flickered, clocks reset themselves and the cable box faltered. We were incredibly fortunate, in the end, not to be one of the quarter of a million households to lose power completely, not to be one of the families sitting in the car with the engine running just to keep warm (why, oh why, are all the power lines above ground here, in a part of the world so very proud of all their trees!? Every time the wind so much as puffs, the lights flicker!).
We may have run out of comfort food, like bread and chocolate (though I’m still convinced a chocolate shortage does actually constitute an emergency), but our amazing milkman still turned up, snowchains and all, to sort us out with Evie-essential milk and eggs. Trooper!
I may have been frustrated at having our entire week of potential mommy-meeting opportunities canceled, but with most of Hunters Glen also housebound, we finally got to see so many more of our neighbours. One even brought us gifts, which included chocolate and candles – our very own little rescue package, hurrah! We met the other new family in the cul-de-sac – another Microsoftee with two young daughters. We met the neighbour who looks like Kevin Bacon’s older brother, and whose grandchildren are almost exactly the same age as our wee family – granddaughter Grace is also a March ’10 baby, and grandbaby-to-be is due at the same time as Hank. And our fabulous next-door neighbours kindly knocked the snow off some of our trees, just because they were doing their own at the same time after a (fortunately harmless) tree-falling-on-garage incident.
What has been quite interesting has been the news coverage. I guess some things don’t change, no matter where you live. Whenever it snows in the UK, the news reporters would have you believe that the whole country has ground to a halt. Schools are closed, flights grounded, trains canceled. Supermarkets (and councils!) run out of salt; bread and milk suddenly become rare commodities; roads become impassable and pavements turn into ice-rinks. And in the wake of it all, everyone starts with the Daily Mail style whinging – why can’t we cope with the snow? Everyone else in the world manages OK each winter, where they have several feet of snow, not just a few inches. Why aren’t the councils better prepared? What is wrong with our government that they keep letting this happen?
Well, here we are in Seattle. A city surrounded by snow-capped mountains, less than an hour’s drive away from the nearest ski resorts, and a mere hop, skip and a jump from the Canadian border. And let me assure you, dear Daily Mail readers, they don’t cope any better here either – or so the LA Times would have you believe, anyway (much to the indignant fury of Seattleites everywhere!).
Yep, it’s been a funny old week, and it’s definitely made an otherwise typically miserable month a lot more interesting – while Evie built her first snowman and became an absolute pro at snowball wars. But now, dear snow, will you please bugger off and let me get that diary filled again? Momma Pepper needs to get herself some buddies!