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Remember The 2 Bushes?

No, not those 2 Bushes. These Bushes:

The Bushes in Fall

The Bushes in Fall

The 2 bushes that stand outside my living room window from my “A fungus among us…..” post. Well, here they are today:

The Bushes - Not much of an approval rating.

The Bushes - Not much of an approval rating.

Uh-huh. We had a doosey of a storm last night, dropping up to 2 feet of snow in parts of Maine (as you loyal readers know, that’s 2 – 3 inches in Mainer-speak).

Here’s the thing. Snow isn’t just snow. You see, there’s all kinds of snow. There is light, fluffy, dry snow – the kind you can’t even make snowballs out of. Then there is heavy, wet, sticky snow. Which is what we got last night. Snow this heavy turns big fluffy pine tress into scrawny telephone pole looking things by virtue of the sheer weight of the snow on the branches. Snow laden birch trees bend over in big arches, their tips almost touching the ground. And bushes, my precious bushes, get flattened like pancakes. Not to worry, as soon as this melts, they’ll pop up again and do something else photo-worthy.

Now along with this blizzard – so named in Onlyinmaineland because all of this snow fell in one overnight session and did so with 20-30 mph winds – we got another phenomenon. Let me see if I can explain. When it snows this kind of sticky snow and the wind is blowing at the same time, the snow sticks to everything, including vertical surfaces, like tree trunks.

It snowed sideways.....AGAIN

It snowed sideways.....AGAIN

Once it stopped snowing, the wind started in earnest, and the most horrible noises ensued. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what was going on and it sounded like the house was being battered by a Mack truck.

I couldn’t not go investigate, no matter how hard I tried to ignore it. So I forced myself out of my toasty warm bed, put on my snow gear and knee boots and waded out into the deep snow and howling wind to see what was going on.

With all that wind, dang if the tall birch tree next to the house that was bent over in an upside down “U” shape under the weight of snow wasn’t bitch-slapping my house!

Giant gobs of snow were flying off of the trees and slamming up against the windows. The dog was going nuts and I spent the entire night feeling like I was being attacked by Visigoths hurling cannonballs…..

Never a dull moment.

A friend of mine asked if she could put in a request for a post on a particular subject. Are you kidding me? Would I be amenable to having the dreaded burden of coming up with a topic taken off of my shoulders???? I most certainly would. I am more than happy to take requests so please feel free to suggest any topic you like. Whether or not I actually write a post on the subject you suggest will, of course, be entirely up to me. Because I am the Queen of Onlyinmainelandia, and my word is law.

So what was my friend’s topic suggestion? I copy it here:

“So do you take blog requests? In Maine, are you living in an igloo or what? When it snows 3 feet, does your electric go out and you have to rely on your wits and a good woodstove? Lets hear how the mainlanders survive like the pilgrims!”

Yes, my friend, I do live in an igloo….

 

MY IGLOO

MY IGLOO

If only it would just snow only 3 feet, there wouldn’t be any problem. The electric does go out every so often due to,,,,,”1 to 3 inches of snow,” and I do have to rely on my wits. Luckily I am a very witty person. 

I have no woodstove, but a very nice fireplace which I use to heat the house and I cook in it as well when the power goes out. Mostly I run over to my neighbor’s house and they feed me and keep me warm with their woodstove. I have very lovely neighbors. I like them a lot.

By “mainlanders” I assume you mean “Mainers.” How do they survive? A Mainer’s answer would be “How do we survive what? A little snow?” 

Just another day to a true Mainer. To illustrate, whenever there is a storm bad enough to knock out power, shelters are opened all over but they usually remain empty, perhaps a couple of nonagenarians (that’s people in their nineties, Erwin) if the power outage is long enough. Because no matter how much denial there is about the winter weather, a lot of houses have either a generator or a woodstove or both. And Mainers are neighborly. They check on each other and help each other out. Very few people have to avail themselves of their local shelter.

The snow does not bring us hardship. It brings business (skiers and winter recreation, etc.) and work (plowing, roof sweeping, road and drive sanding, shovelling jobs, etc.). BRING IT!

I like this topic suggestion thing, and may make it a regular Sunday feature. What do you think? Let me know, leave me a comment here!

OK, I promise that this isn’t going to be a “weather blog” but you gotta go with what’s out there, you know? There will be all sorts of other stuff, I promise, just not today.

This morning, before getting dressed to leave the house, I checked my usual internet weather feed….

 

Today's local weather forecast....

Today's local weather forecast....

So far so good right, “Fair,” “Sunny”….But WAIT! What do we see there up top in red? Does that say “SEVERE WEATHER ALERT?” Why yes, I believe it does. What severe weather could be in store if the powers that be are predicting “Fair” and “Sunny?” Conversely, if they know that severe weather is coming, why aren’t they predicting “Severe Weather” instead of “Fair” and “Sunny” with a side of alerts?  

I hear that a side of alerts is always good with katsup, but I digress.

Moving right along, curiosity and common sense had me immediately clicking on the appropriate hot button which yielded this bit of no-longer-surprising news:

 

SEVERE WEATHER ALERT!

SEVERE WEATHER ALERT!

I say “no-longer-surprising news” because after living here for 2 and a half years, I’ve already figured out how they manipulate their weather findings

To recap:  According to the prediction, today’s weather is going to be “Fair” and “Sunny” with winds topping out at 18mph but I should watch out for 35mph winds and snow so thick, it’s going to reduce visibility to half a mile?????  

How much snow?  

Only an inch, of course!

I’ll write an epilogue for this tonight when I’m snowed in under a foot of the stuff…….

My first year in Maine I was forced to return to California for business in early February. Since long term airport parking for 2 weeks was actually cheaper than cabbing it to the airport, I chose to leave my car at the indoor long-term lot while I was gone.

Flash forward to the day after Valentine’s Day, 2 weeks later. I returned from California to my trusty Subaru in its spot on the 3rd floor of the indoor lot (did I mention that this lot is indoors?) at the airport and this is what I found:

 

Sometimes, it snows indoors......

Sometimes, it snows indoors......

Yes, my car was covered in snow. You will note that the part of the car that is covered with snow is not the part facing the window. The snow-covered part of the car, the rear, was on the aisle side! And by the way, in case you think that the opposite side windows were right behind me letting snow in, there were 6 aisles of cars between where I was standing taking the shot and the other side of the garage behind me, the equivalent of 2 full city blocks away. The drive between the aisles had actually been plowed (yes, plowed – with a truck, not blown with a blower) leaving mounds of snow at the ends of each aisle. The bottom of the ramp tower, a spiral car ramp housed in its own tower which was completely closed off to the outside, also had a big pile of unsullied snow on the floor at the bottom.

I’m thankful that I had the presence of mind to at least take this photo. Because I’m pretty sure that although you will all turn out to be very loyal readers who will return to this site daily and leave all sorts of clever comments – daily, I know that I’m still new to some of you, and you wouldn’t have believed me. Those of you who know me and my family’s own named-after-it scale of exaggeration, definitely wouldn’t have believed me.

As an added bonus to the big pile of snow between me and the driver’s seat, my car was completely out of juice because some nimrod had left the dome light on (now who would do that?). I was able, with the last few ounces of power left in my less than trusty cell phone, to call AAA for a jump – which it took them well over an hour to deliver. Since my flight was the last arrival before the airport closed for the night and the sidewalks were rolled in, there were no Samaritans around to help (all Mainers are good Samaritans – I think it’s genetic. Had there been anyone around at all I not only would have been given a jump but a full tune up and a lube too, no doubt!).

By now I was freezing my toes off, because although I had left my parka in the car when I left on my trip, I was dressed for California winter weather (75 – 95 degrees) and not wearing any long underwear, heavy clothing or appropriate foot gear (like socks!). As you can see by the trampled (all by me) snow next to the driver’s side door, I did a lot of trekking back and forth in said snow trying to keep warm and get the blasted car – and heat – going…to no avail, leaving me still freezing cold but with the added benefit of soaking wet feet. The delightful “breeze” (as they call it here) coming through the open window was, well, less than delightful. Luckily the AAA guy showed up before I needed an ambulance so all was well and luckily I got to keep all of my toes. I wasn’t thinking too clearly by time he arrived but was compus mentus enough to ask how it is possible that cars can get covered in snow from the inside side of an indoor garage…

And the reply was, of course:  “It snowed.” Silly me.

For those of you who can’t make the connection between the name of this blog and its content, I live in Maine.  And it gets *%@& cold in the winter here. Actually, I think one of the things Maine is famous for is that it is *%@& cold in the winter. But, I have found out, no one told this to the Mainers.  Even though I’ve only lived here a short time, I have come to understand how people survive living in inhospitable places (like the North Pole, or maybe Texas):  Denial.  

Denial, denial, denial.  

When the weather is reported on television here, you will always hear the word “unseasonably” followed by the appropriate “hot,” “cold,” “humid,” “windy,” “buggy,” or “Armageddon.”  And then if you watch for it, you’ll see that unmistakable denial smile on the reporter.  What is a “denial smile” you may ask? That’s when you are lying to yourself and everyone else and your body knows it even if your brain doesn’t.  So your mouth curls up at the edges just a bit, and gives you away.  If you ever need to know if you are lying, go stand in front of the mirror and see if I’m right.  If you saw Bush’s farewell speech the other night, you’ve seen a “denial smile,” but I digress.  You’ll need to get used to that. Digress is my middle name.

When freezing cold weather is predicted, you are told it is going to be “chilly.”   When it is due to snow, now matter how much is coming, you are ALWAYS told “accumulation of up to 1 – 3 inches.”  I had 2 feet of brand new snow on my driveway a just a few short weeks ago while Yahoo Weather was still telling me that I could expect a total accumulation of about 1 inch.   And of the 1-3 inches that was predicted last night for the overnight, about 6 of those inches have already fallen.  And it’s still snowing.

On a February visit before I moved here – as there was snow on the ground and it was 15 outside – I was told by one woman that it was “unseasonably chilly and snowy.”  There were maybe 3 inches of snow.  I suspiciously eyed the 5 foot tall red flags on all the fire hydrants and immediately figured out someone was lying. It had to be either the nice smiling lady in the very well used North Face blizzard-proof parka, or the hydrant flags, which are there so that firemen can find the hydrants under 5 feet of plowed snow drifts.  They were both lying.  The plowed snow drifts will tower well over 10 feet by March….and it doesn’t really stop snowing til mid-May.  You do the math.

You don’t believe me?  Check out what was going on my first Maine spring, on April 5th, the morning after I had swept my decks clear of any and all snow….

April 5 2007Caption:  1-3 inches of snow expected overnight…..

You’ll see I even set the camera to show the date because I was pretty sure that no-one outside of Maine was going to believe that that’s what happens in April.  Did I mention that the winters are long?