Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Weathering the Terrible Seattle Snowstorm of 2012

Picture courtesy of one of my coworkers' facebook albums.

So last night, I'm sitting in my office putting the finishing touches on one of my homework assignments, when one of my friends who also happens to be there late appears at my door.  She tells me that she was getting ready to go and spend time with her boyfriend and wait through the oncoming snow storm at home.  She went on about how there was supposed to be up to 14 inches of accumulation between midnight and the next midnight, and how I should probably get home so that I don't get snowed in.  Now, because I was in my office late and completely absorbed by what I was doing, I was completely taken by surprise by this announcement of inclement weather.  It also didn't help much that when I looked out of my window, the skies (of SEATTLE!!!) were essentially clear, and not a single flake had fallen yet from the sky.  I gave her a quizzical look and a sarcastic "ok, yeah.  I'll see you tomorrow then."  So she left, I kept working, and at some point later on in the night I left to go to my own home.

Now there was already some snow on the ground, but this had been from the weekend.  It couldn't have been more than 3 inches that had accumulated, but even this much holds the ability to SHUT SEATTLE DOWN!!!11!1one!!1uno!  However, by this point in the night it had more or less been moved out of the street, and no new snow was falling onto the ground.  It was dumb cold though.  Anyway, I hopped on the next bus home and walked home from my stop.  I got home at around 10:30 pm and hung out with my girlfriend, periodically looking outside to see where this fabled blizzard was.

When we woke up this morning, we saw that the "snowstorm" had indeed come.  A whole 4-8 inches! WOW!  Yeah, they cancelled all classes for the day due to what really amounts to no more than a heavy dusting.  I stayed home because I had no real burning desire to head down to my office only to do the same stuff I ended up doing here today, and slept in a wee bit later (like 9am) than I had originally intended (like 5:30 am).

I decided to be a beacon of virtue in the world and help out my apartment manager, Alan, shovel the walkway in our residential complex out to the street.  I figured it'd be a nice thing to do, especially considering that he's fairly advanced in age and walks with an oxygen pack, and he had done me a huge solid last week.  So, we coordinated by phone, rallied our forces, collected some shovels from the basement and got out there.  It couldn't have taken more than 10 minutes to shovel the walkway out to the stairs, clean the stairs, clear the courtyard, and shovel all the way out to the street. This brilliant idea then entered my mind: "hey, Nick, check it out.  You have this shovel in your hand, and an entire to day to do literally whatever the hell you want.  Why don't you try your hand at shoveling some walk ways for money!  You could charge like $10-20 and make a hefty sum by lunch!" I asked Alan for his shovel and his blessing, which he gave freely.  I then set off on what would be a very short and disappointing venture into independent employment (a sign of things to come?).

I decided to turn down the nearest street and just go door-to-door.  You know, the old fashioned way.  First house I stop at, I ring the doorbell twice and wait, standing proudly with my shovel: my gateway to outrageous fortune.  A young dude answers the door and I give him my shpiel about shoveling his walkway, sidewalk, and driveway for $10.  As I'm giving my sales pitch, I look out at the walkway and start to feel pretty silly.  His walkway couldn't have been more than 30 feet long, and remember the accumulation throughout Seattle is only about 4-6 inches.  In addition to that, when I'm done giving my pitch, he informs me that he already swept (SWEPT!  I'm carrying a damn shovel and he did the same job with a BROOM!) his pathways off earlier and will probably just go out and do it again later.  I nod, accept the brief defeat, wish him a good day, and go across the street to try at the next house.  For every subsequent house, the story is either similar, or is some other valid reason as to why my services were not needed.  Either they were young, not lazy, and could do it themselves, or they were older and had one of the young kids in the neighborhood do it for free.

After about 15 minutes of consistent rejection, it occurred to me that my time was probably better spent in my apartment, catching up on work that I'm currently a week (or more) late on.  So, I dragged my sorry self back home and told Alan to give me a heads up if the snow builds up again and needed swift conquering.

I then proceeded to be...mildly productive.  Knocked out a little bit of homework, graded some quizzes, entered those grades and homework grades into the grade book, sent out some emails for class, and listened to a bunch of podcasts on Risk.  And then I decided to start a blog.

Ah, winter...

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