When the first snow of the year hits, common sense flies out the window, it seems.
There are three types of drivers when an inch of snow over ice hits the roads: the creepers, who go 15 MPH even when the road in front of them is clear; the macho 4WD-ers who think that 4WD means not having to worry about ice at all; and folks like me.
I slow down, I take it easy, I try not to get too uptight when I get stuck behind a creeper or have a 4WD-er fishtailing ahead of me. It takes a while to regain one's snow-driving nonchalance, but it's there. Like riding a bicycle, the ability to drive in snow is always tucked away in the folds of the cerebellum, ready to be dragged out into service once again. Having learned to drive in the winter in Chicago, and had lots of practice in northern New Mexico and in our years here, snow driving is ingrained in me. Even with anti-lock brakes, the tap-tap-tap braking and the "turn into the skid" instincts take over.
Our real snow was stolen from us; rumor has it that the folks in the mountains to the southeast got hammered today, the lucky bastards. Mr. OmegaMom, off to the Big City to the East, strove mightily to return home today, only to get stuck in the small town of Gifts, worn to the bone from driving in bands of stormy weather. Two jack-knifed semis had blocked the interstate just west of that town, so he gave up and got a hotel room.
Behind the (measly) snow was the Arctic Express. It was warmer in the ice skating rink this evening than it was outside. It's currently 5F on our front porch, and we have winds; the weather service is predicting windchills of -15F or lower. On nights like this, you feel the cold air radiating inward every time you pass one of the windows (yes, yes, I know--in reality, it's the other way around, but dayum, it doesn't feel like the heat is seeping outward, it feels like chill fingers poking at your toes and stealing the warmth from your arms). Nights like this also make one very aware of the areas where the lousy heating system doesn't work well...one of those areas being our bedroom. It would be romantic to think there was some mysterious ghost that causes it to be cold, but, alas, it's poorly designed ductwork and poorly insulated windows with leaky caulking that is to blame.
So winter has arrived. Time for the Omegas to haul some wood in for the wood stove, clear the Dotter's "house" away from in front of the stove, get the metal pail ready for ashes.
Baby, it's coooold outside!