Sunday, January 22, 2017

Winter White

The pond near our house is nearly frozen over.
January 21, 2017

Three storms passed through California and into Arizona this weekend. The first left us with only a few inches of snow during the night on Thursday, although our district cancelled school for Friday. I'm not sure it was enough to be worth wasting a snow day for, although they were concerned about icy roads.

The second hit us here in the White Mountains on Friday night and lasted until Saturday evening. In the end, it dropped more than eighteen inches of snow, and even more for those at higher elevations. During the storm, visibility was often severely limited due to heavy, blowing snow, and the roads were slick with slush. Everywhere I drove, there were vehicles stuck in snow banks, having either slid into them or foolishly attempted to drive into the parking lots of businesses that hadn't been plowed yet.

Not too far south of us, just past where my son-in-law Jake works at WorldMark Pinetop Resort (probably close to 1,000 feet higher elevation than my house), the highway was closed due to the heavy, slick snow, preventing skiers and snowboarders from making the drive to Sunrise Ski Resort on Fort Apache Reservation. One of Jake's guests who attempted the drive told him how she saw nearly a dozen rolled-over vehicles on the side of the road.

Icicles hang from my side view mirror at Jake's place of employment.

Obviously, yesterday was the kind of day to stay inside, warm and toasty, to enjoy some hot cocoa, a good book, and watching the snow fall on the other side of the window. My day was not quite so picturesque, though. As always, I had to drive Mark to work before 6:00 a.m. At that time, the snow plows had just started on the shopping center's parking lot, so I was able to pull in, but Mark had to hike about half a block across the parking lot to Denny's.

Two hours later, I left the house again to pick up Dylan and Jake, who couldn't get either of their cars out of the deep snow. Two hours after dropping them off at their jobs--Dylan's three miles north to Walmart and Jake's uphill about eight miles south to the resort--Mark called to tell me he was already done for the day. Apparently not very many people wanted a Grand Slam breakfast badly enough to risk the roads. 

Then, a little more than three hours after bringing Mark home, we headed back to the resort to pick up Jake, and then the three of us drove back down the mountainside to Walmart and spent an hour shopping while we waited for Dylan to get off work. After we dropped the guys off at their apartment, finally, we were able to kick off our boots and spend the rest of the day at home.

Driving back into our neighborhood.

I don't really mind driving in this weather when it's necessary, although it can be nerve-wracking and stressful. You never know what other drivers may do; there's always someone driving far too fast or following too closely for the circumstances. Thankfully, my new Traverse has proven itself more than able to handle the deep snow and ice. It gets great traction and I never had a single moment in which I was nervous about getting stuck or sliding off the road, not even on our own unplowed dirt road. The car pushed right through, without a hint of futilely spinning tires.

Looking south down our road. The green trash can on the right is ours.

No, my most harrowing moment came when I walked into my own house. After dropping the guys off at their jobs, I drove back home, kicked the snow off my boots before mounting the steps to the porch, and then scraped the packed ice off the soles before walking in the front door. My efforts proved to be fruitless. The instant my left boot hit the smooth kitchen floor, it slid out from under me, and when I tried to balance on my right boot, it slid in the opposite direction. I went down hard on my left knee and landed with my right knee twisted away from me.

I sat there and cried for a few minutes, afraid to move. It had been a year and six days since the surgery on my right knee. And my left knee has something floating around in it that was causing clicking, pain, and swelling a few months ago. It finally started to improve just a month ago, so it looked like maybe surgery wouldn't be necessary. Now I was terrified of the damage I might have done to either or both knees.

So I scooted into the living room where I could pull myself up using the couch. I was relieved to find that the pain wasn't too bad and I could walk okay. As the day wore on and I had to keep wading out to my car through the deep snow, I began to feel the effects more. The area of my pelvis ached from having been jerked in two directions, and both knees were sore. The right knee recovered quickly, which was awesome. The left began clicking again, accompanied by a sharp pain right below where I'd landed, but it was bearable. 

The good news is that neither knee ever swelled and today the pain is better. Just a light-blue bruise and a slight pain when I bend the left knee to remind me to be more careful, but hardly even a limp. So it's all good!

Looking toward my backyard and outbuildings from the driveway.

Looking toward my house from the road.

Today, it's chilly out (in the 20s) but the sun is shining.
January 22, 2017

Now there is just one more storm coming our way. It is supposed to hit us either tonight or tomorrow morning, mostly rain to start with. Rain can help melt down some of the snow, but it also turns to ice when the sun goes down, so not really a good thing. Then throughout Monday they're saying another six to ten inches of snow. Hmmm... I wonder if we'll be in school any time before Wednesday!

The sun makes the snow glitter like a greeting card.
I wish I could capture it on film somehow!

Meanwhile, the sunshine is welcome. I love the snow, but I also love the fact that we get sunshine and warmth between storms, unlike many other states who live with deep snow, slick ice, and bitter cold throughout most of the winter. We have the best of both worlds.

The critters start coming back out, like this little squirrel in our yard.

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