How Are We Going To Get Out Of Here?


Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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56 Responses

  1. Avatar Richard Hershberger says:

    With apologies in advance for second guessing you, if you have a long driveway why didn’t you position the car(s) at the road end, facing outwards? That way you only have to figure out how to get to them (which can involve wading through snow in the pinch), with only a modest amount of digging required to get them on the road? For that matter, why not invest in a snow blower?

    I have only a very modest driveway in front of my townhouse. I backed both cars in, bumper to bumper. I had both cars out by Sunday afternoon and got into work on Monday. I benefit from living within the limits of my smallish city. Even though I am on a cul de sac, at the bottom of the list of ploughing priorities, the city got there by midday Sunday, and over the next couple of days returned to widen the traffic lane and eventually to totally clear the road. People who live a quarter mile away in the county jurisdiction didn’t get ploughed until Thursday.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman says:

      The short answer is “We should have!” Though it gets more complicated from there.

      We’re hesitant to park our car down the driveway due to the incline. But we have, in the past, parked one of the cars on the yard beside it. We stopped doing that when Clancy broke her kneecap and didn’t really get into the habit of doing so again. To the extent that we did think about that, we also thought that we had a couple of days for Jules to show up and surely he’d make it in that time. We’re still kicking ourselves for that.

      However, in this case, it would have made only a limited difference and wouldn’t have solved the Tuesday Morning Problem (wherein she had to be able to get out by that point). We still would have had to dig ourselves a walking path, and would have had to dig the portion of Ford Road leading up to our house and the remaining part of our driveway, and wouldn’t have been able to get it done in time. And we still would have needed to be able to get the other car out (It would probably have shaved a day or two off of the car rental, though.

      The Fosters have volunteered to allow us to use their driveway in the future, which we will probably do.Report

  2. Avatar Glyph says:

    I’ve been wondering what to do with this picture, and now I know.Report

  3. Avatar Jaybird says:

    The Colorado Storm was a pain in the butt. We got a snow day, of sorts, on Tuesday (a snow day at this point in my life means “you don’t get paid but, hey, you don’t have to come in”). On Wednesday, I tried to leave my house and got stuck in the snow in the street. Wednesday night, I picked up Maribou from work and said “we can’t get too close to the house, we’ll get stuck in the street” and we immediately got stuck in the street again.

    So now I’m parking about a block away and hoping that the city plows eventually get the side streets.

    It’s supposed to hit 50 today. Maybe tomorrow too.

    It’s not going to melt anywhere near enough stuff in the street. This means that the street then turns into a sheet of ice… but maybe I’ll be able to park in my driveway again.Report

    • Avatar Michael Cain says:

      So now I’m parking about a block away and hoping that the city plows eventually get the side streets.

      In my suburb, the statutory requirement is that the city plow residential side streets only if there’s more than 15 inches of snow. I shoveled 16 inches off my driveway from this last storm. Official snowfall amount according to the city? Eight inches. I think they have a covered area out behind city hall where they take the measurement :^)Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        This irritates the heck out of me.

        If the government does not take care of roads, it’s seriously undermining the main argument to throw in the face of the libertarian-inclined.Report

        • Avatar Kolohe says:

          You know where they also don’t plow snow? SOMALIA!Report

        • Avatar Richard Hershberger says:

          Roads aren’t really the main argument. This is just the low-hanging fruit. I always enjoy the reactions. The most typical is a broad roll of the eyes, to disdainfully suggest “oh please, that one again?” followed by a change of subject, as if the argument were so silly as to merit no reply. This reaction is perfectly justified in some arguments. I will do the same for, for example, climate change deniers. But if pressed, you gotta have something more. The roads argument? I have never heard that something more. But in the big picture, if we were all hitching up our buggies and driving on dirt paths into town from our spread on the Ponderosa, there would still be good reasons to want government.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird says:

            Would one of those good reasons be stuff like “plowing the roads”?Report

            • Avatar dexter says:

              @jaybird, Instead of immediately thinking government bad because they can’t get your road plowed you spend a couple of minutes thinking about an article in USA Today from 2010 talking about the budget cuts put into place by the right wing people that run your city and how they would slow down snow removal.
              Also, usually Colorado Springs gets about 4.5 inches of snow in Feb. and your last snow was about 22 inches. So if your city council had spent more time listening to the vast majority of scientists instead of talking heads for the energy companies someone might have made adjustments for the extra precipitation that was expected.
              If you need it done right away you need to get a private company to do it. I heard Jules is available.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                So instead of criticizing the government, I should look more closely at the government and criticize it instead?Report

              • Or consider how much happier you’d be if your roads were plowed by Comcast.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                I have the option of not paying for, say, HBO when I haven’t been getting it for months at a time.Report

              • Avatar dexter says:

                @jaybird, Yeah buddy. That is exactly what I am saying. And after you study it for awhile you might want to tell your neighbors what you think should be done. An example of which might be how you would like it if the government spent more on snow removal. Or since you don’t like government you could ask them to refund the amount of your taxes that go to snow removal and you could use that money to hire Jules.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                One of the wacky things about Colorado Springs for the last year or so is the *HUGE* number of complaints about the things that the government, you’d think, ought to be doing but, for whatever reason, isn’t doing.

                Like potholes. Holy crap, the government around here sucked when it came to fixing pot holes. Now it’s doing a half-assed job when it comes to plowing the roads (though, I suppose, the lack of blades on the streets is not putting additional wear and tear on them).

                If we agree that there are things that the government ought to be doing, and the government is not doing a good job on them… what can we do?

                Apparently, the only people who are allowed to complain about the government doing a crappy job are the people who think it should be doing more than it already is, I guess?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Didn’t Co Springs vote “no” on a bunch of tax measures that woulda funded pot hole repair, plowing and street lights? It’s one thing to complain about public services that were adequately funded, but a whole nother to complain about the lack of services people voted to not fund, no?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                As I recall, the vote passed, 2-1.

                But the point stands. Colorado Springs *IS* pretty conservative.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Maybe Springserers changed their minds?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Here’s an article from 2004 that disagrees.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Citation game not working out for ya, Jaybird?Report

              • Avatar dexter says:

                @jaybird, First, anybody at any time can gripe about our government all they want.
                What needs to be done is find out why the roads are full of pot holes and the snow stays on the road longer than you like. Is it because, while everything is running as efficiently and cheaply as things can be, the problem is the people aren’t paying enough taxes to do the things you want the government to do.
                Or is the problem bad management or graft? Does the head honcho hire his brother in law Brownie to do a half assed job at twice what the next city pays?
                Once more to seal the deal: anybody at any time can gripe all the want about whatever they want for as long as they want.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Eventually, you’d think we’d say something like “maybe more money, more oversight isn’t going to fix this.”

                In the meantime, let’s give it more money with more oversight.Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                You don’t know half-assed like Pittsburgh knows halfassed snow removal.
                Half-assed snow removal is using bulldozers and other “adhoc” ploughing devices that are guaranteed to ruin the roads.

                … we did get a new mayor, so I should look on the bright side.Report

        • Avatar Michael Cain says:

          To be honest, though, they do a really good job on the streets that are designated “snow routes”. Plowed well, sand and deicer at the traffic-light intersections and steep bits, etc. For me, the day after a storm, the question is whether I can make it the three blocks to the snow route. After that, getting around is not a problem (unless the final destination is not on a snow route). This past week, getting out wasn’t a serious problem. The people with the big four-wheel-drive pickups do enough that there’s a track my little Honda can follow without problems.

          If I have to choose between the city keeping the snow routes really clear, or letting them deteriorate in order to make a pass or two down my street, I’ll take the current strategy. And whine about it from time to time :^)Report

          • Avatar Jaybird says:

            Well, I’m just glad that wunderground says that it’s going to be 50 degrees all week. Maybe I’ll be able to drive on my street by Tuesday.Report

            • Avatar Kim says:

              You should be glad. Last time we got 3 feet of snow, the snow didn’t melt for over a month. And during that month, we got minor snow practically every day.

              [This much snow caused fieldmice to start crawling into houses for warmth/air. Also, hordes of 100+ rats running across roads in daylight.]Report

            • Avatar Michael Cain says:

              16 inches of snow last week, 16 miles on the road bike this morning. Warm enough that I didn’t bother with leggings. Had to get off and walk once, for about 150 yards, where the trail was covered in about 2 inches of packed snow that was just soft enough in places to really grab a wheel. That stretch made me feel old for two reasons. One, 40 years ago I would have just sailed through it, half out of control all the way but always recovering in the nick of time. Two, the young woman who passed me right at the beginning of it wiped out spectacularly half-way through and just sort of bounced back to her feet. If I fall like that these days, getting up is a much slower process, checking all the joints and such before I put my full weight on them.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Yeah, I’m parking in my driveway again. The street alternates between dry blacktop and hardpacked ice. It should be all gone by Friday (excepting, of course, the places where the light does not touch).Report

          • Avatar Kim says:

            I don’t understand how cities do not have “mandatory snow removal within X amount of time” (maybe you aren’t in the city?). Pittsburgh gives itself 48 hours, I think, even in the worst snow we’ve seen this year, and 36 hours otherwise, to have every single route ploughed (with the possible exception of a few “this is the steepest road in the country” type roads, and deadends to boot).Report

  4. Avatar Michael Cain says:

    Except for the rental house down at the end of the street, I am pretty much the last holdout on my block without a snow blower. Of course, it’s a rare winter where we don’t have at least one storm in the 12-16 inch (30-40 cm) range. I have noticed that the blowers are getting bigger over the years — almost everyone has at least a two-stage machine, and the guy across the street who is 80-something has a monster three-stage. Further up the hill, the guy with the 60-foot-long steep driveway told me that mentally he just included the cost of a big snow blower in the price when they bought the house.Report

    • Avatar Richard Hershberger says:

      A couple of guys on my street have snow blowers, but here in central Maryland you only really really wish you had one about every five years or so. Our last big storm was in 2010. There have been others since then where people use a snow blower if they have one, but which don’t inspire a subsequent purchase of one if they don’t.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman says:

      We looked into it. The biggest issue is, of course, the slope. The people who lived here before us apparently had one but he fell using it and after that started hiring Jules. Walking on snowy-icy concrete is dicy enough as it is, and gets worse while lugging a 90lb device.

      If we were staying here permanently, we’d possibly look at doing something about that dreaded incline (even if it meant walking up an extra set of stairs).Report

      • Avatar Michael Cain says:

        In the spirit of Tim the Tool Man… Bigger self-propelled blower. Track drive. Something that weighs in at over 200 pounds, you’re never going to carry or drag it. Slip-on snow spikes.

        Me, I think hiring Jules is absolutely the right thing, and just accepting that once every few years there will be a problem.Report

      • Avatar Lyle says:

        A bit flippant of a response but have you considered crampons, like mountain climbers use. Or if you check amazon you find ice traction cleats, that essentailly strap on to your boots.Report

        • Avatar Vikram Bath says:

          I don’t know why that’s flippant. They work. Even on mountains!

          Given where Will lives, I don’t think a snowblower is worthwhile. If a snow like this happens every few decades, hopefully he’ll manage.

          IMHO, the best way to handle such snowfall is to try to do only several inches at a time. But depending on how quickly it falls, this might mean shoveling every few hours or waking up in the middle of the night.Report

  5. Avatar Burt Likko says:

    Please figure out a way to get all that snow from your driveways and yards in the eastern states, and onto our mountains here in California!Report

    • Avatar Michael Cain says:

      At least with respect to those of us posting from Colorado, you should want to leave the current 120% of median snow-water equivalent in the mountains that feed the Colorado River right where it is. ‘Cause at the rate y’all have been sucking down Lake Mead, you really need the feds to be in a position to have a surplus to release from Lake Powell this year.Report

      • Avatar Burt Likko says:

        No. Joke.

        I’d be quite pleased to see some of that east coast snow on the Rockies, too, for precisely this reason. I’m rather a fan of the Colorado River and to look at pictures of how low Lake Mead has fallen makes me a sa-a-a-a-a-a-a-ad panda.Report

        • Avatar Damon says:

          Burt, all the snow on the east coast is moved from the roads to “melt areas”, at least in the big metro areas, like stadiums. No technical reason it couldn’t be transported to Calli. Of course, you ‘d get road salt and sand in the mix as well and the cost would be, so “gynormous”, but I’m sure Californians can spare a few more dollars. Should only coast a few hundred million to equip the cargo planes with chillers and a dumping mechanism. Then the fuel and the cost of collection/transport. Let’s say 1billion for the year. Sounds good? Send me a purchase order. I’ll make it happen.Report

  6. Avatar aaron david says:

    Mmmm, what fun.

    I couple years before I was born, my father started grad school in a little town I think you have heard of, Pullman? Well, my parents are California kids, and drove, at the time (late sixties) a mustang convertable. The first year they were there, it got 14 feet of snow and -40 degrees.

    It can always be worse.Report

  7. Avatar Morat20 says:

    Having stocked up for hurricanes (or, more normally, happened to need a loaf of bread or chips or something when other people are frantically preparing for a hurricane as though it was two or three categories higher than it is), that last loaf of bread is probably something like “Low-carb, gluten-free bagels”.

    It’s in the bread aisle, and could technically substitute for bread, but is some weird specialty product.

    Last hurricane I needed a loaf of bread and all that was left were blueberry bagels. No idea why. I ended up buying them, because hey, I had cream cheese at home. And some frozen waffles.Report

  8. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    The tweet really pissed me off. The market is not always right and there are some times when a high number of choices leads to suboptimal results.Report