December 2008

Oh, the weather outside is frightful

Dan decorates treeThis December has been quite eventful! Dan and I bought a new fake Christmas tree and got it decorated on December 7th. Here's a picture of Dan putting on the finishing touches. Please notice the little bits of rain out on the deck. (You can see a larger image by clicking on the picture and using your back button to return here.)

That went great and the tree looks nicer than we expected. It doesn't smell like pine, but I found some pine-ish candles I light when there's a need. Here is old Britt sleeping under the tree. He is using the little stuffed bears on the tree skirt as a pillow. He's so sweet!

 

 

We had a busy week of work in between errands, shopping, shipping and doing chores. The weather was frightful when I was driving to Tacoma on December 9th. It was raining pretty hard, but not cold enough to be slippery and dangerous. Had some snow mixed into some heavy rain just before dark on Friday the 12th. By Sunday the 14th we had this out the window.

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We love our little Christmas snow we get in December. We have one good day of snow, and then it turns to rain and we can drive again. Because neither of us are used to living where it snows, it always feel like vacation when we get this little dusting. As long as the power stays on, we're happy and comfy inside watching the flakes in the sky and how the yard changes. So much fun!

Monday the 15th it was still a little slushy and slippery out there, so I stayed home and got things done. I had plenty of time to get Christmas things finished later in the week. Tuesday, I was off to ship off the last Christmas packages and my cards. After that I stocked up on groceries.

Wednesday was forecast to be a nasty one with widespread snow down the sea level. I was sort of worried about it, but we had groceries and water stored up if the power goes out so I wasn't overly worried. I just was wondering what was going to happen and of course imagining the worst.

What we ended up with was what Dan is calling the 'Donut Hole'. It snowed everywhere around us and the Seattle Metro area. North, south, east and west of us got a bunch, but we got a grand total of a few flurries. There were a little bit heavier flurries when I went to bed on Wednesday night. By Thursday afternoon, it looked like this!

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Dan went off to work as he had to do some contract stuff at a client's office way on the south-end of downtown Seattle. The bus was running on our street in the morning and the new rule is, "If the bus is running, Dan can make it to work." So off he went. It was pretty snowy and awful getting around downtown, but he made it safely and I spent most of the day nagging him to start worrying about how he was going to get home because the news kept reporting busses not running or having 2 hour delays and our road looked like this:

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I guess my nagging was effective as Dan left the client about 3:15 when everyone else did and went to catch the bus to head home. He sent me a text at 4:15 that he was finally on a bus and I got a call from him at 4:40 that he hadn't yet made it to the boat, which was leaving for Bainbridge. So he was on the 5:30p boat and caught the bus back home here on the island. Good thing because the snow was getting thick and even my hellebores, who are supposed to thrive in winter, were saying "Hell no!"

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The only thing standing in that bed are some volunteer sprouts from my laurels and weeds that didn't get pulled this fall. Someone needs to send me a landscaper for Christmas. :)

Dan went back to work on Friday as the bus was running and he just had a short walk to the office from the boat. I didn't want him to go to work because of the stories he told me about those big accordian busses jack-knifed and sliding down the hills in Seattle. Sounded too dangerous to be on the sidewalks, but he assured me he would be fine and would stay out of the way of any runaway public transportation.

He made it home safe and sound Friday evening and the snow was picking up steam. It snowed all weekend!

Saturday we headed out to do some errands that needed doing. The snow was only going to get worse so Dan put the new chains on the new car and we headed for Winslow. The roads were pretty well sanded, but very icy and snowy. Very little pavement showing through unless you were on the main road through town. We got to the post office and a guy said that our left-side chain was "off".

I made my way slowly along the icy walkway to the post office. It was JAMMED with people trying to mail packages. I checked my PO Box, mailed some bills and walked up to the bank to do my business deposits. I got back and Dan said that the chain wasn't off, but gone! YIKES!

We drove up to Safeway, following the way we came. We hoped to find the chain somewhere. I kept hearing jingling of chains when I'd open the window. Dan wanted to stop and look, but there was nowhere to pull over without blocking traffic so we made our way the half mile or so to Safeway and he tightened the one chain left while I started shopping.

It was a total zoo inside the grocery store. There was very little produce left. I had to pick through about 6 onions to find one good one. No green onion for my chowder. Boo hoo. But we got most everything else on the list, including our ham and other goodies for Christmas Dinner. The lines were HUGE so they had two lines going. One each from the far back corner on the left and right sides of the store. I finished shopping back by the bakery, so we got in line and I sent Dan off to find a few more things I forgot to put on the list (like split peas for soup after our ham and spaghetti noodles). I also had him look one more time for green onion as I can't imagine my soup without it. No luck.

We finally got out of the store after waiting about 20 minutes in line and headed down the street to grab some lunch at McDonalds. There was that jingling chain noise again, so Dan pulled over into the parking lot and I ran in to order our food. Turned out the left chain wasn't "gone" but was doing the same thing the right side one was doing. It was slipping off and going inside behind the tire. OOPS! :) Dan took off the chains and threw them in the trunk and positioned the car so I could get in without having to walk on ice with my hands full. (I knew there was a reason I keep him around other than for driving me in snow. He's thoughful like that too! Bonus!)

As I was getting into the car, we ran into Gary Marcy, our realtor. He asked how we were doing. I told him that we were fine, but ready to go back to California and get out of this snow. He said, "Great! I'll list your house!" :) Funny thing is that last time we saw him was during that big four day power outage two years ago. I think I told him the same thing then too. :)

Those errands took us over 3 hours!!! Got home. Got food put away. Ate lunch. And then we prepared for what might be a long night. They were predicting up to another foot of snow in our area and a possibility of up to 90mph winds peaking at about 1am on Sunday morning. That's when it gets scary around here. When the winds get up over 50mph, the trees start falling over. When the trees fall over, we lose power. When we lose power, we don't have heat or water and it is really, REALLY awful. But we got lucky and the high wind warning for our area was cancelled around 11pm on Saturday.

Sunday we woke up to find all this mess! Including finding out that my spruce tree in the backyard had one branch that had just a little too much snow and it split at the trunk and drooped to the lawn. All the other branches are bent down, but the one touching the ground is the only broken one.

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We let the dogs out for their morning potty break, expecting them to fly off the deck and splash into powder snow like they have been the last few days. But apparently it rained a little bit or something because the top 1/4 inch of that snow is a sheet of ice. Poor dogs bounded out there to just crack and crunch through the ice and plunge into the snow. Lucy would float on top for a few steps and then crash! She didn't want to go out, but she was a good girl. Britt didn't like it, but he crunched through the snow step by step until he got under the trees by the back fence where the snow wasn't as thick and he could get some footing. Poor dogs! Dan felt bad for them so he got the shovel and broke up the snow around the step to the deck and stomped out a path for them to get to and from the potty zone.

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What a mess! We spent Sunday staying inside as much as possible going outside to shovel, sweep clear and clean up.

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Look at poor Charlie the saddest Japanese maple tree. My mom bought it for my birthday a few visits ago and I'm maturing it in a pot at the bottom of what used to be our steps out front. Do you see any steps in that picture above? I don't!

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Here is Dan shovelling snow off the back deck so it doesn't freeze there and become ice forever. Please notice the lovely new sliding glass door we slaved over most of November. :) And this other picture is of a little statue we have in the backyard. It's a cat washing his face that reminded us of Frankie. Poor kitty is burried up to his nose back in the bed where he lives. I told you it was snowy!

That brings us to Monday, December 22, 2008. Dan was all ready to go to work today, but there is only one bus running on the island and it's the express from the transit center in Poulsbo that goes along the highway to the ferry terminal on the island. That didn't help Dan get to the boat, so today was a snow day. He worked in his office all day, but he didn't go to Seattle. I know he's hoping that the bus will be running on Tuesday morning. He hates when you mess up his routine.

But he did have a good time going out on Monday morning to take these pictures. I find it amazing that overnight, after it was supposed to have "tapered off", the table on our back deck went from this to this.

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We got a lot of wet and sticky snow or maybe some freezing rain overnight into Monday morning. Woke up to every plant in the yard being totally flat and covered in wet, sticky snow. Look at our giant hedge of laurels that separates our yard from the neighbors' yard. I sure hope those spring back or we've got a LOT of pruning to do in April when this all melts. I need to be sure and mark the calendar so I don't forget about the free yardwaste day at the dump. They used to be about 15 feet tall. Today they are about 8 feet tall.

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The snow is supposed to be over. Well, over for the next 20 hours or so. Tomorrow night it's supposed to start up again and it's going to be snow on Christmas Eve and Christmas, turning to rain on Saturday as we get up into the 40's! Hurray. Of course the long range forecast has us back into snow, snow and more snow by New Years Day. I'm sure I'll be crazy with cabin fever by then. :)

The thing I thought most interesting was this...

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December 14th

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December 21st
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What a difference a week makes!

 

UPDATE:

12/26/08 - It's finally warming up around here. We expect to be above freezing until Sunday night and we're getting rain. Hopefully that will rinse some of this snow out of the yard. :)

No busses running on the island other than the one that connects Poulsbo to the ferry terminal. Dan was home Monday through Wednesday even though we felt like the roads were pretty safe on Wednesday. There was some slush in spots, but no chains required. Not sure what Kitsap Transit was thinking by cancelling all the busses for the whole week!

Dan went to the store for me on Wednesday to pick up a few things. Getting out of our driveway was the most difficult part of the errand. The Corolla has a pretty low clearance and snow would get underneath and he'd get stuck. We did a lot of digging and finally got him sliding down the driveway towards the road. I stayed home and dug out as much as I could in the driveway in front of the garage. He still needed the chains to get back up our driveway so he chained up at a pull out down the street. It was pelting great big flakes while he was trying to get home. UGH!

We had a nice quiet Christmas here at home. We got some great presents and appreciate all that everyone sent to us. I had told Dan that I wanted a puppy for Christmas and he got me one. A red and white papillon. Okay, so it's a stuffed animal, but the bonus is that it won't eat me out of house and home, doesn't pee on the carpet and doesn't need to go to the groomer. Bonus!

Here is a picture of our house and proof that even the dogs had a Merry Christmas thanks to Three Dog Bakery in Seattle.

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In the afternoon, Dan helped our neighbor get his van back up the driveway and into his parking spot. More digging on the driveway to make a path down to the street if any of us needed to get out after being trapped in here for more than a week.

Today (Friday) Dan got up and found the bus was STILL not running even though the roads were clear and wet. There was a little ice earlier, but by 8am it was fine to drive. He took the car and parked it downtown and took the ferry to Seattle to go to work for the first time since last Friday. I think he feels happier when he's doing his routine. Being home all those days was getting to him. He doesn't do well with the cabin fever. I guess I'm used to it. :)

So all is well in Washington. It's started to rain and the snow is getting slushy and isn't as deep as it once was. I hope by the end of the weekend at least our driveway will be clear. You can see some spots of lawn back towards the fence so the dogs are happier. They'll be much better once all the slippery stuff is out of here. Poor Britt just stands out there and looks at me as if I put the snow there just to annoy him. He's getting pretty old and I know that my body is tired of walking on the slippery stuff. He must be too. Lucy likes it better now because she doesn't sink up to her chin anymore.

Looks like we made it through another big December storm in Washington.

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