Saturday, April 19, 2008

Surprise package

Going nowhere fast.
From the kitchen window over the bottom end of Dodd Narrows.
From the front room Window over the front yard.

Today was scheduled to be a busy day. Wife had filled up the van with kit to take to a charity event up in Nanaimo this morning. Everything was proceeding so smoothly, so we hunkered down and cuddled up for the night until just before our scheduled early morning.

At about five forty I heard the phone bleep, which is always a bad sign, as it means the power is off. Five minutes later it bleeped again and Wife vouchsafed; "I think the powers gone."
I gave my customary neanderthal grunt, eloquent but sub lingual; swinging my legs out of bed on automatic pilot. Noted that all the friendly little lights from the cable modem and phone were off before stumbling into the kitchen of our tidy little domicile. Was rather surprised at the amount of light coming from outside at this time of the morning. Took another look. "Bugger me." Was my first expostulation.
"What's up?" Called Wife from the bedroom.
"It's snowing. I can't see Mudge Island."
"You're kidding."
"Straight up." There looked to be six inches of the bloody stuff, and more coming down all the time. Peered out of the rear window to see our Ford Van covered in a good seven or eight inches of white stuff. "Think we ought to get an early start." I said, lighting our propane cooker by hand and putting the kettle on to boil. Wife turned out, and we both dressed quickly, layering up for the cold.

Dog bounced around excitedly. He loves snow like a two year old with new wellies loves puddles. "Come on dog, out the way." Wife scowled at him as he begged to be let out. I piled food into his dog bowl and stepped back while his manners took their usual holiday in the presence of food.

Outside, Dog and I made a beeline for our usual walk through the woods until we got about fifty yards in. All of a sudden there was a loud crack ten feet away, and a tree fell down. Literally. Thump. Not ten feet away from me. A whole six inch thick tree just gave up the ghost under the sheer weight of snow. Then another, and another. Dog and I beat a hasty retreat into open ground to the background of several more ominous cracks and thumps.

Heading back to the house I eyed the small hill that leads up to the main road from our small house. Six inches of untrammelled snow did not bode well for the days travail. By the time Dog and I returned home, wife had extra kit ready for the journey.

BC snow is generally wet snow. Not dry like they have out on the prairies. I was rather unrealistically hoping that this would let our laden Van struggle to the top of the slope. This was not to be. We just about got to the road before losing traction completely and could go no further. Wife scowled at me as if I was being deliberately obstructive. "Try it if you like. We're not going anywhere." I told her. Managed to get the van off the road and onto the drive so that anyone who was better equipped could get past, but gave up all hope of getting our vanful of toys to the kiddies we were supposed to be helping out at the charity do.

All morning as the snow slowed and finally stopped, I could literally hear the steam coming out of Wife's ears. She had a lot of emotional capital laid up with this particular event, and when she gets a bee in her bonnet like this, all I can say about my huggable darling wife is that she can be a real pain to live with. Saw neighbours pickup sally forth around nine and sail sedately up the road as if it was a normal day. An hour and a half later he returned at the same pace as if nothing had happened. I reflected to myself that we needed to be likewise equipped for next year. Regrettably this did not help Wife's mood. I definitely got the impression that she was going to deliver those toys, and damn the metaphorical torpedoes. A phone call to friends confirmed that there was 'about ten inches or so' of snow in town. All mobile calls to here fellow charity event organisers were met with the annoying soullessness of voicemail, which was not helpful.

Around eleven the sun came out, and I took the liberty of a small look outside. There was a lot of melting going on. Water dripping everywhere in the sunlight and rivulets running down the tyre tracks in the drive. Walked down to the road to check things out and noted how clear the tyre tracks left by neighbours snow tyre equipped pickup truck were. Walked up the road to the top of the hill and saw that further towards the main road the Snow had been cleared. Sauntered back to the house and bid wife to get ready to move again. "Might as well, no phone, no heating." She said resignedly, and followed me out to the van.

This time we managed the steep little hill with only a couple of little skips and jumps as our tyres ploughed through the melting snow, which was still a good six inches deep. Once at the top of the hill there was relatively little snow to cause me acute driving anxiety, and we got onto the main drag towards town. In one two kilometre stretch there were nine places where trees had fallen, blocking the road and disrupting the power lines. Neighbours and BC Hydro had already been busy with chainsaws and pickups, so the road was more or less clear. Oncoming traffic would spray us with massive tsunamis of slush every once in a while, but after a couple of bits of faulty navigation by wife we arrived at the charity venue just after twelve.

Caretaker popped his head out of the door and informed Wife that all events had been cancelled because there was no electricity. Wife returned to van, and tried to phone her principal who had given her the job of bringing the toys. No reply. After five minutes watching kids and adults tobogganing we elected to take a trip out. Wife had a hairdressing appointment later that afternoon north of town, so we headed out to the Woodgrove Mall. Snowploughs and bobcats were busy shovelling the last spaces clear of snow as we came in. It was almost surreal. Brilliant sunshine and half a foot of snow. Salvador Dali would have said it was impossible.

To commiserate for not succeeding with our mission of the day we lunched on junk food for the first time since Christmas and treated ourselves to some sounds. Wife went off for hairdo, and I went back to the van to crash out. It had been a long day, and quite draining emotionally. I just slumped across the front seats and was dead to the world for an hour. Wife returned, much mollified with her pampering at the hands of the hairdresser, informing me that despite the inclement weather, no one had missed their appointments. Says a lot for the determination of Canadian womenfolk.

Driving home we looked at the damage done by the snow, and I was moved to consider that I would dearly love to take some of the anthropogenic global warming alarmists by the scruff of their neck, stuff their faces into the freezing whiteness and tell them; "This is the worst snow in over thirty seven fucking years bozo! It is the nineteenth of April and it's fucking snowing! This is happening all over the world! It is not getting warmer! Are you blind, stupid, or what?"

Hey, I don't really care what they say so long as it doesn't mean more sodding pointless 'green' taxes. It is of no matter. I am now full of tea and nicely chilled. Bright sunlight can do that for you.

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