Sunday, February 06, 2011

And then it was gone

Yesterday around noon it finally got above freezing and stayed above freezing enough to melt the ice and snow, or most of it.

It has just been awful here since sometime early Tuesday morning. There was a bit of snow and there was thick ice all over the roads. Usually, it will snow only very briefly here, and usually not enough to stick, and if it does stick it doesn't stay cold enough to stay around for very long. But it got very very cold, and it did not melt (except maybe in places where you put salt and such), and even what you got to melt would then freeze over again and make even more of a mess. And then Friday we were supposed to get a little more snow, and we ended up getting a lot more snow, about five or six inches of snow, and that covered the ice on the roads, which made them even more dangerous.

While all this was going on, my husband was out of town. He was supposed to work Tuesday through Saturday at a place on the other side of Abilene. So he had left to do that Monday, not knowing if all the talk of snow was really anything to be concerned about, and even if it was it probably wouldn't be the same conditions in Abilene. Having talked to several people in the company on Monday at noon, and not being told he should do otherwise, he drove out just after that. So at about nine-thirty or ten, one of his bosses called looking for him to tell him that the first two days of the job were cancelled.

Great. What are we supposed to do about that now? If you don't want him to be at a job Tuesday, you have to tell him Monday, or better yet Sunday, as he would probably leave early on Monday. Even if he had decided to drive out early Tuesday, nine-thirty is way past the time he would have had to leave, even on a normal day. If the ice had only been here, and not in Abilene, he wouldn't have been able to go, and they would have yelled at him for not leaving earlier.

Sometimes his bosses do not seem to grasp that their traveling employees actually have to travel, and that means that they are not here and should not be expected to be here and such.

So I told the boss where my husband was and the number he could be reached at and so forth. A bit later I called my husband to make sure he had gotten the message. He said that Abilene was also covered with ice, so he guessed that he wouldn't be going to work that day, but it was good to hear someone confirm that. But only the first two days of the job were cancelled, cause ice on the road usually clears up by then.

Except that it was really really cold, and the ice did not melt.

Apparently the bosses do not talk to each other, so another boss called here looking for my husband on Thursday to say that he did not have a contact number, so could I call my husband and tell him that the rest of the week was cancelled and that he should just come home.

Come home, in this?

He can't drive a few blocks to the job site, and the customers can't drive from the other side of town to see him, but it's okay to drive from one town covered in ice to another town covered in ice that is several hours away, even though all the road between are covered in ice. Sure. We'll get right on that.

I did not notice the message for several hours. My husband expected at least a message to confirm that he didn't have to work that day, but he wasn't going even if he didn't get that message. So he got the message from me, quite a bit late. Coming home was out of the question, even if he had gotten the message when he should have. But he somehow had the idea that it would be safe to drive home Friday, while I knew that it wouldn't be safe til ten am on Saturday.

My husband spent a lot of time in a cafe drinking tea and talking to other people about where they were going, and where they had come from, and when it might be safe to leave. And there was a couple who thought that it might be safe to leave Friday, and that was what they planned to do. Only they didn't get very far when they saw the remains of a wreck and decided to turn back and checked in to the same motel again.

So Saturday morning he stayed in the cafe talking to truck drivers, and he found one who said he'd just come from Fort Worth and that it was mostly safe to drive that way. So my husband called me just before ten (when I suggested it might be safe to leave) and I told him not to be in any hurry, but it did at least look very sunny even if it was still just below freezing here that it should warm up soon.

So I thought I would start to look for him about two, though I didn't really expect him quite then, as I thought that most of the way he would have to drive slower than usual. But he got home even sooner than that.

His six week diet is nearly up, so he suggested going out for Mexican food.

But first, I had a bath and washed my hair.

I hadn't had a real bath since Tuesday, and I'm not sure how much before that since I'd washed my hair. Monday, everything had been fine. Tuesday, there was snow and the roads were covered with ice and it was cold, but you were fine if you stayed inside. But it stayed really cold, and Wednesday morning there were those rolling blackouts. And it was cold inside, and the space heater was nearly useless. I mostly stayed in bed Wednesday, and I just couldn't deal with the idea of getting totally undressed, much less get undressed and get into water. I decided the bath could wait. Thursday, it still seemed cold to me in the house, though either it was not quite as cold as Wednesday, or else I had just gotten used to it, but I still spent most of the day in bed. Friday was better still (inside, cause it was a mess outside), but I kept imagining that the blackouts would come back just as soon as I would decide to have a bath, so maybe it could still wait a bit more. Friday I got out of bed and got some work done, and work means that my hair needs to be washed, even if it didn't already need to be washed. Saturday morning I decided to get just a bit more work done, and the bath might as well wait til it was officially above freezing.

That was probably the best bath I have ever had in this house.

But I was really hungry, or I probably would have just stayed in the bath for a while.

All the ice on the streets were melting. There were puddles of water everywhere, and mounds of slush in the parking lots, but there didn't appear to be anything unsafe anywhere. After eating our late lunch and going to a couple of stores, we came home a couple hours later to see that most of the snow in our front yard had melted away. In the backyard and across the street there was still some snow, maybe in places that had mostly been in the shade, but it was all going to melt away, and on my side of the street you just wouldn't have known that there had been more than six inches of snow Friday.

It was just a miserable few days that almost became a week. And there are people who decide to live this way for months at a time. And I don't get it. I know that they've gotten used to it, but I don't get why after the invention of the air-conditioner that there wasn't vast migrations south and the northern states still have all those people in them, much less that there's a whole country of people who live north of them.

After finally getting through all of that, today at about noon it will start raining and/or snowing again, and that will last on and off til about four in the morning. But it won't stick, and it won't get much below freezing for long, so unless people are actually on the roads when it is happening (which they will be, because today is that damned game), they should be okay. So I will be sure to get all of my business done before noon.

And then we will get more on Wednesday. But again the temperatures are not going to stay below freezing around the clock, so I imagine that it will all be gone long before Saturday, and I have nothing to worry about this weekend.


Anyway, I have my fingers crossed.

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