Always tweaking something!

Clarity

Day 1936

Don’t get me wrong – we’re little more accustomed to the dreaded “wintry mix” up here than the majority of the country.  But cold is still cold.  Sure, we consider 50 degree days borderline shirt sleeve weather, especially in the spring, but really?  It’s just what you’re used to.

Sunday, Zach & I headed out hunting.  Oh-dark thirty, we’re tromping through the woods, trying to not scare off every 4-legged critter in a 2 mile radius (especially the deer).  We’re settled into our stands, it’s about 25 degrees.  As the sun comes up, so does the wind.  You could feel it sucking the heat out of you.  Finally, at 8:30 (after 2.5 hours) Zach texted me and said he was getting down to walk around a bit.  We usually traded off, walking big half mile wide circles through the woods trying to stir the deer up a bit.  But this time, as Zach neared my stand, I told him it wouldn’t take a whole lot to convince me to head home and grab a cuppa and park it in front of the fireplace for a while.

We were home with coffee in hand by 9:15.

We learned later that the wind chill that morning was in the 15 degree neighborhood.  NOT good weather for hanging out in a tree stand.

In the “It takes a kinds of folks” department, we do have one an individual here at work that refuses to succumb to the weather.  At all.  He’s an icon in our building.

His work attire?  Putty colored cargo shorts, a nice polo shirt (XXL), New Balance sneakers.  He wears that in June, in October, in January.  It’s ALL any of us has seen him wear – including outside.  I’ve walked in from the parking lot with him in February.  I’m wearing a bulky 3-in-one parka, a Carhart knit cap, nice thick gloves, my hunting boots and my parka is even zipped & buttoned.  It was 8 freakin degrees with a breeze.  Mike?  Shorts & polo shirt with sneakers.  I don’t know if he’s numb from the neck down or from the neck up.  Got to be one of them.

I have an 8.3 mile drive to work.  The first 1.7 ish miles is on surface road, 4 lane, 40mph speed limit, lotsa traffic lights (8 I think).  The next 5 miles is expressway – typical urban 3 lane, 55mph, but you have to do at leat 60 to avoid being run over (By me.  I have trouble going less than 65).  The last 1.5 is miles is on another 6 lane surface road with more lights per linear mile than there is in the entire state of Wyoming. (I’m jealous actually).

This morning, our first REAL winter morning of the season was a cruel refresher course in winter driving technique.  As I was getting on the expressway, I noticed a car to my left that had a little trouble negotiating the off ramp and wound up stuffing his car in the weeds & snow off the shoulder of the ramp.  I checked him out, then returned to negotiating my OWN on ramp.  As I looked up, all I saw was the entire passenger side of the car that was in front of me.  Then I saw his drivers side.  Then his passenger side came back into view just as his entire car jetted off the ramp to the right. (The inside part of the curve.  Must have been a banking thing).  200 feet past him?  Two MORE cars, freshly imbedded into the weeds.  I’m thinking they were watching car #1 lose it on the off ramp and lost control themselves.  One of them collected one of those big honkin’ road sign posts along the way too.  So that was 4 cars losing it all within about 500 feet of each other.  Yeah buddy, we northern drivers sure know how to deal with a little snow, huh?  For the record, we might have gotten 3 – 4 inches over night.  The timing just sucked because the plows didn’t have quite enough time to get everything plowed & salted.  Another hour and it would have been no problem.

Saw a few more cars that had chosen rather unusual parking places on the way in – all on highway transition areas.  A few months of nice weather here and we a forget all out winter driving skills.  The most important one?  Too much gas pedal will turn the brake pedal into your enemy.  Another biggie?  Skidding wheels can’t steer.  Thank heavens for anti-lock brakes.

Later now.  To the commenters – thanks.  I’m not sure if it’s tenacity, stubbornness, patience or fear of change, but it’s what I want, until I don’t want to try any more.  But thanks for the props all the same.

Bowling tonight.  Zach was gong to sub.  He left his work an hour before bowling was to start.  1.5 hours later, he STILL hadn’t completed the 5 mile trip to get Jill.  It was an hour after that the two of them finally made it home.  Needless to say we were in contact enough to understand that Zach just wasn’t going to make it.  At the time, the entire southern half of our county was getting buried by a band of lake snow that had been blown 60 – 70 miles east from lake Erie.  The section of the county I work in got pounded a little earlier, but the snow crews were able to get it pretty well cleared up by the evening rush.

As far as the actual bowling?  Pretty good.  191, 235, 192.  Upped the ol’ average another 2 pins.  Team wise, being 1 man down might have hurt us a bit.  We took 4 of 8 points on the night, had fun with the other team, busting chops all night long.  The games were all very close with the winner not decided until the last frame.  That makes it more fun too – close competition with a bunch of guys that understand it’s a game.  The winner isn’t getting a million dollars.  This is for fun, fer cryin’ out loud.  This league gets it.

Latest gripe?  My electric start snow blower won’t start.  Even the starter motor won’t crank.  So tonight, after bowling, after determining that I wasn’t going to get the snow blower running, I got to shovel 6 – 8 inches of Lake Erie’s snow off my dang driveway.  That snow blower is getting some attention this weekend.  This shoveling shit is for the youngsters!

Bed beckons, I better get.

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