Holy Toledo, people. If I'd known in advance we would be getting 3 feet of snow this winter, I would've...
Well, I don't know what I would've done. Thankfully we've been living in northern climes for many years now and were all prepared for Big Snow. The kids have proper boots, snowpants, good coats, and several pairs of gloves for losing. I've been grateful many many times for my calf-length black down coat, the one that looks like I'm wearing a giant sleeping bag. I highly recommend it!
even Charles got a coat this year
Despite being technically (if not spiritually) prepared for winter, I was really looking forward to our week in Kansas for Christmas. Kansas is a few degrees further south on the globe and generally a bit warmer than up here. I thought I might even get some 50 degree sunshine, which sounded like heaven after 3 full weeks of non-stop snow.
Instead, we pulled into town to find below-zero temps and a solid foot of the white stuff.
We had a great holiday week anyway, and a quick trip home, and a quiet but fun New Year's.
that's some snow right there
Then the Polar Vortex swept into town and wouldn't leave. We had 30 hours below zero degrees. That's 2 days where the high didn't even get to zero (and that was before wind chill). They cancelled school two days in a row, it was so cold. So we're holed up in our little apartment, watching it snow, and just around the time that it started warming up (seven degrees! balmy!), the maintenance super dropped by to see if the pipes for the sprinkler system in the garage were OK.
Me: "Yeah... Why?"
Him: "We've had several garages with pipes burst, all of them end units."
I looked wildly around our end unit garage stacked with boxes of belongings, shoved the maintenance super out the door, and called Jon. He came home for a long lunch, and between the two of us we managed to move most of the stuff in storage up to our dining area. We reorganized what was left (Rubbermaid totes and some furniture), put tarps over it all, set up the space heater, and crossed our fingers.
That very night the pipes went in a unit just one building over. We slept through the commotion (hello! exhausted from moving boxes all afternoon!), but my friend next door filled me in. When the pipes go, everyone's fire alarms go off because they're all linked. So it's midnight, and she was frantically hauling the kid out of bed and leashing the dog while her hubby was running around trying to find the fire. Everyone from the building ended up standing in their driveways in the 20-below cold while the alarms blared, watching as water sprayed in torrents from the affected garage. My neighbor said it turned to ice instantly, and that the parking area turned into a big ice rink within 15 minutes. Lotta water! Three fire trucks showed up and it took almost an hour to get the alarms turned off.
So far we've been lucky (knock on wood!), our pipes have been hanging in there. We've emptied another 20 moving boxes (those people used ENTIRELY too much paper) and carted more stuff to the garbage and Goodwill. In better news, we found the truck chair and box of trains for cousin Henry, and I finally unearthed my crock pot.
Also, running boxes up and down the stairs is a great way to get warm.
When the empty boxes started taking up too much room, I decided it was time to get rid of them and proposed using Craigslist. Jon was dubious. "Maybe we can get the WM guys to make a special pickup?" he mused, thinking that it was going to take lots of effort to get rid of them. I waited until his back was turned to roll my eyes, then let my fingers do the talking. I had a taker within an hour of putting up the post. Hah! He's a true believer now.
It's supposed to get bitterly cold again next week (for reference, anything below 20 degrees counts as bitterly cold and requires the Big Coat for me -- 20-30 is only cold, and fine weather for sledding and long dog walks and so on). I've started buying chocolate chips in bulk at Whole Foods, since making cookies is a) warm and b) warm and c) entertaining for children.
I'll have to come back later between pipe-checking sessions to write more - Otto is now NINE, and Annabel insisted on having her hair cut short, and I think I might rearrange the living room again... Exciting stuff!