Sunday, December 21, 2008

Snow - 17 Years Ago, Anchorage, Alaska

VB writes this as the snow falls non-stop. Our two first big snows of the season. It's said we've gotten six inches to a foot of snow, with another five inches predicted for today. Regardless of how much snow falls here in Connecticut, it will never erase VB's memories of one certain winter in Alaska.

(Below): Moose - A mom and her calf tromping through the woods behind our house in Anchorage, Alaska.

Seventeen years ago, winter started, for us, the night of the Clarence Thomas hearings on capitol hill. We were living in Anchorage, Alaska at the time.

"On October 11, 1991, Hill was called to testify during the re-opened Senate confirmation hearings.[13] Hill did not provide detailed descriptions in her original statements to the FBI but later testified at the Senate hearing:[13] "He spoke about acts that he had seen in pornographic films involving such matters as women having sex with animals and films showing group sex or rape scenes....On several occasions, Thomas told me graphically of his own sexual prowess....Thomas was drinking a Coke in his office, he got up from the table at which we were working, went over to his desk to get the Coke, looked at the can and asked, 'Who has put pubic hair on my Coke?'"[33] Hill also indicated that Thomas made reference to the pornographic actor Long Dong Silver."

Yep, this guy is a Justice of the Supreme Court now.

We had an ice storm that day, in Anchorage. The electricity was eventually knocked out, but just like everyone else in the US, we were entranced by the proceedings. The Boss Man and VB huddled in the living room, fireplace ablaze, listening to the confirmation hearings on a battery operated short wave radio. Ice dripped down from the trees, shrubs, and any house wires available (most everything else was underground.) Wherever you live during winter, where it snows, you can sometimes hear the sound of snow blocks sliding down, and crashing off the roof. But ice? A bit more scary, since we had read a story about a child being killed from a direct hit, by a falling icicle a couple of years earlier.

(Below): The aftermath of the ice storm.

An ice storm is not the same as hoar frost, which the kids love to repeat over and over again, while emphasizing the word "hoar." (Below: Hoar frost.) It makes the whole world around you look, as someone commented, "like you're walking inside a Christmas card." That's right, everything looks flocked. Totally flocked, just like those Christmas trees splattered with fake snow.

From Wikipedia:
"On March 17, 2002, a record snow storm dumped 28.6 inches (72.6 cm) of snow on the Anchorage area in 24 hours, closing schools for the next two days.[1] The storm broke the city record for the most snowfall in a single day."

That may have broken the record for one day snowfall, but by Christmas 1991 everyone in the neighborhood had to have their roofs shoveled. It was normal to see people on one story flat roofed buildings, blowing snow off on a regular basis. Most homeowners didn't have to worry about it, that is, not until winter of 1991. By December, Anchorage had already had over 50 inches of snowfall. Snow had fallen, thawed a bit, iced over, under more and more snowfall, making the layers very heavy. Here are photos of a neighbor's house being shoveled.

(Below): The shoveling process. Seeing as how difficult it is to get up to and down from a roof, especially in the snow, going to the bathroom would have to be a chore. As a result, VB actually saw one guy taking a piss off the top. These aren't exactly the sort of guys you'd invite into your house, plus once inside, it would take a while to peel off all the layers, remove the boots, and then put them back on again.

(Below): As the snow gets deeper the moose tend to move to railroad tracks, and city streets. VB almost crashed into a mom with two calves as they ran out in front of her Vanagon one day. She had studded snow tires, which could stop on a dime. Snow increases the chances of bumping into (literally) a moose. Alaska law declares that, anyone who hits a moose during the winter months must immediately stop, and gut the animal. It's usually cold enough outside for the meat to preserve, gutting it cuts down on infecting the meat, and it's used as a donation to food banks (or so they say.) VB doesn't know the first thing about gutting a moose, never carried a knife with her, so she's definitely no Sarah Palin!

BTW, that fence was about eight feet (or so) high. Moose are big.

(Below): After coming out of the woods and into the city, the moose tend to devour anything and everything in sight. Some smug twits try to grow exotic expensive trees in Anchorage, only to have them served up as a winter snack for a moose. Here's a calf, foraging in our front yard.

(Below): Number One Son watching out the window, as the moose devour our shrubs.

Even though we are getting a good deal of snow, VB does not have to shovel her way out of it anymore. When we were back in Alaska, VB's Christmas present was a snow blower, and for two years there were days when she had to use it twice daily. Now she lives in a homeowners "association," which hires people to do all this for us. So VB can sit back, tend to the fire, watch National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation for the umpteenth time, and then complain when the illegal immigrants they've hired (who don't speak one damn word of English) screw up. Actually, the illegals have done a much better job of shoveling us out, than the free loading white guys they had several years ago. These new guys / gals show up at 5:00 AM, and in the evening, if need be, per the contract. They actually use shovels, on the walkways and decks for all the buildings here. Someone should buy these guys a snow blower!

Awesome Daughter and VB are going to break some Association rules. We're going to take the dogs out, off leashes, and let them run amok allover the association grounds! The dogs love snow! Screw "The Association!" They're a bunch of windbags with silly rules, which they all think are "just fine and dandy." They're just lucky we aren't the Griswolds (even though they might think we are.)

BTW, Number One Son, has become quite the replacement for The Boss Man. He went out and bought a mighty fine Christmas tree from Home Depot, unwrapped it from the plastic wire casing, leaned it up on the deck, and then left town to go to "The City" (where he got stuck for two days). Awesome Daughter and VB carried the tree in to the garage (so it doesn't accumulate 6-12 plus inches of snow, and look all flocked.) We tucked it between the Beetle and the Mini. We shall resume Christmas duties once Number One Son decides it's time, and pulls down the attic stairs for us (you can clearly see what happens to Clark in the video when he does so.) Then we can decorate the tree (and no, not with flocking.)

VB sends her sympathies to all those dealing with the latest edition of "the cable wire has been cut" coming out of Egypt. She lived through that earlier this year, and it's ugly!

National Lampoons Christmas Vacation

1 comment:

  1. Wow all that snow, never seen snow before, well actually I lie, it did snow once in Johannesburg at the beginning of Spring (Sept), but compared to your pictures it was nothing.

    Don't think I could handle all that snow shovelling.....