Tag Archive for blizzard

Winter Break(-In)

Today starts winter break. Just shy of two weeks off work, during which I plan to finish up several writing tasks.

Unfortunately it hasn’t started well. The blizzard tearing through the Midwest didn’t hit our area hard, but a window broke in our garage and the snow blew in. I opened the garage door this morning to get a shovel, only to find Lenore plastered with snow.

Poor Lenore

Not cool.

So, too, was most of the back wall of the garage, a lot of our stuff, and one side of the grocery getter. It’s powdery, frozen snow, too. Clingy stuff, a real pain to clear off. Thanks, nature. I’ve never had to shovel a garage before.

Insult to injury: while shoveling the garage and the drifts that built up across the driveway and front porch, the city snowplow came by and knocked our mailbox off its post. This is three years running, and it’s the fourth or fifth time in those three years. Even after I put in a smaller mailbox, and later mounted it farther back on the post. This has to be personal.

All in all, a shit start to what should be a productive couple of weeks.

All in all, good reasons to move to a warmer climate.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Snowpocalypse 2011 in Pictures

Two snow days down and we officially have one more coming tomorrow. The official estimates for my area are saying we got 15 inches of snow, but with all the wind we’re dealing with several feet of accumulation in some areas. The power has stayed on and our Internet connection has stayed up, so we’ve been relaxing and making the best of it.

However, we started the day wondering if we were going to have bigger problems. Sometime between 3am, shortly before I went to bed, and about 9:30am, the snow had drifted up against the front door and blocked it.

Snowed In

Fat chance, fella.

We’re in a split level, and both doors and all of our living room windows were blocked. Fortunately the wind tends to cut a path across the front of the house, and although the front door was covered, the kitchen window was mostly untouched. I stuck the camera out the window for this shot.

I suited up to head outside, and about that time I heard our neighbor and his snowblower in our driveway. As you can see, he saved me a lot of backbreaking labor.

Awesome Neighbor

Sometimes neighbors are awesome.

I climbed out the kitchen window to thank him as he carved out a path for our van and across our front porch. One of these days I’ll smarten up and invest in my own snowblower, but until then it appears the Wife owes the neighbor some more fresh-baked cookies.

I checked the roof to make sure we weren’t going to have any problems, then put an old kit lens on the camera and wandered around the house while the neighbor finished up.

Batten Down the Hatches

Batten down the hatches!

We get a drift like this just about every time there’s any real snowfall, but it’s not always this high. You can see the wind still blowing across it, and it looks like a tidal wave rolling in from the corn field behind the house. That umbrella (which I probably should have taken down in the fall — d’oh!) stands over a metal picnic table, which is completely buried beneath all that snow.

The kit lens proved to be a wise decision. Ice and snow clung to the camera body and lens, but I still wanted to get around to the other side of the house and check out the drifts up against the neighbor’s fence.

Tidal Wave

Still no shelter from the wind.

Our chain link fence is under that mess, all buried except the top six inches. The neighbor’s fence is about six feet tall, give or take, and the drift on the other side of his yard reaches right up to the top. You can get a look at that here.

The Squirt’s been sick off and on these past couple of days, and we were running out of medicine. The Midget and I decided to brave the snow to pick up some more and take a look around town. The pharmacy was still closed for the day, but the grocery store had reopened.

Main Street

Main Street

By then the winds had died down and the plow crews were able to get some work done. The busier streets were in great shape, but they were still working on a lot of the others. Our street was still pretty narrow, and right after I got back home two plows came by to finish our street and finish off our mailbox. They didn’t knock it off the post, but they mangled it up pretty good. If that’s the worst that comes out of this storm, I’ll be happy.

I drove past the school to see how things looked. It was pretty obvious we’d be having another snow day.

Little Path

We're not getting buses through that.

Someone had pushed through the driveway, probably just to get in and check the boilers and other mechanical systems. The buses are still snowed in, and the elementary school and parking lot hadn’t been touched yet. With the plows still tied up on the city streets, chances are they weren’t getting to the school anytime soon.

What’s more, the county announced they didn’t anticipate having roads fully cleared until Thursday afternoon. There are a lot of open fields in our area, and the wind just blows the snow back over the roads. Until the wind dies down, not much gets down out there.

It sounds like we’re getting some nasty wind chills tomorrow, too, which I’m sure factored into the decision to close again tomorrow. I’ve got the generator ready in case the power lines start snapping, and we’ve still got plenty of food. If I charge up the iPad tonight, I might even have enough juice to write through the outage.

So bring it, weather! It’s a lot easier to deal with you when I don’t have to venture out.

I posted a few more pictures on Flickr for anyone interested. I may head out for a few more for Photo Friday, perhaps even venturing into the next towns to see what’s happening. Otherwise by Friday I imagine things will be back to normal.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Blizzards & Brimstone

After the rugrats woke me by pounding on my kidneys, I looked outside and saw snow. A few inches of snow, in fact, covering the ground and streets. No wonder they were so excited. I took them outside while I shoveled, then we had a snowball fight. I continued an unofficial Oliveri tradition by blasting the Squirt in the forehead with a snowball.

I didn’t think much about the weather after that. We see snow like this in Illinois all the time, and generally if there’s no wind we have nothing to worry about. Unfortunately the wind kicked in around nightfall. I was supposed to go see a kamiza (black belt promotion ceremony) at my karate school, but the roads outside of town were too dangerous and I had to turn around.

The way I see it, the weather owes me one. It can repay me by snowing all night (weatherman seems to think it will) so we have a snow day at work tomorrow. I’ve never seen a kamiza before, and it seems like every time they have one I’m either out of town or have something else going on. My own is still a few years off, but I’d really like to see one.

In other news, I finally got around to finishing Brimstone by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child this week. At the beginning of the book I said I wasn’t fond of their Pendergast character, but he grew on me by the end.

So, of course, they killed him.

Sort of. It looks that way, but he’s in the next book in the series, Dance of Death, so he must live somehow (thus the lack of a spoiler warning). I picked it up the other day, so I’ll find out how Agent Pendergast got out of his predicament after I finish reading The Wheelman by Duane Swierczynski.

I’ll wait until after Dance of Death to decide whether or not it’s worth chasing down the rest of the Pendergast books. There’s a lot of hints to back story in Brimstone, and I don’t imagine Dance of Death will be any different. I do hope, however, there won’t be another monologuing villain. I know such monologues — by both heroes & villains — tend to be a staple of mysteries, but man, I kept waiting for D’Agosta to start shooting or for the villain’s cape to get sucked into a jet engine (yes, folks, it’s a The Incredibles reference). Nothing breaks up tension like a couple pages of monologue.

Note to sit and worry about whether or not I’ve done the same thing in my own work…

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.