Sunday, December 21, 2008

Holy SNOW, Batman

So, I'll admit that a foot of snow in 24 hours and then 8 or 10 inches in the next 24 hours (apparently the weatherfolks are sure it wasn't 9 inches...reminds me of David Sedaris' story 6-to-8 Blackmen) .
STILL...the plowing in Spokane is SHAMEFUL! I'm not blaming the drivers. They are apparently following policy and would likely be fired if they took matters into their own hands.

I drove down to Plummer today (El Kid is with his mom for the holiday week so I'm in Plummer) and about 10 to 15 miles south of Spokane, the amount of snow drops to a total closer to about 15 inches or so. BUT, the plowing in Washington remains CRAP. I go over the state line and there is an ACTUAL LINE on the road where one goes from the Washington method of allowing a lot of snow to build up on the road and be packed down onto the road. (The depth on the side street next to our apartment is about a foot...that's PACKED a foot deep. The ruts are amazing and dangerous). The country highway I was on had several inches of packed snow on it. No sand. No gravel. No traction. One car in the ditch (my question was "why just one?").
At the Idaho line, amazingly, the road is pretty well scraped. There are some chunks of packed snow on the road, but you can see pavement and there is SAND and GRAVEL on the snow/ice/pavement. In Washington, the "plowing" (down to the packed snow) covered only one lane each way. No shoulder and no second lane even when I know there is on on the pavement. In Idaho, except for the ramp going from one highway to the next, the WHOLE ROAD is plowed.
It's not perfect and given the fear of salt in the greater Northwest, it isn't as good as I remember the midwest, but it's not bad. I drove 35 to 45 miles per hour the whole way and was OK.

But why is Idaho better plowed? There are fewer tax payers total. Fewer tax payers per mile of road. Fewer pieces of equipment (they are maintaining the local roads with a road grader as the plows are on the main highway) and fewer equipment drivers per piece of equipment.
So what gives?
What do Washingtonians have against the plow?

Anyway, it is what it is. And what it is, is crap road maintenance. Hopefully I can keep the commuting to a minimum.

Being trapped in Spokane was not pleasant. I don't like city life. I appreciate the store across the street. But I'd rather be on the rez. This week I plan to be here until Friday afternoon spending a blissful quiet week in the trailer baking and cooking when I'm not at the office catching up on missed work.

And can I say that while in Spokane they routinely plow a burm across the side streets (they don't plow side streets), here in Plummer, they avoided even plowing in my driveway and they know full well I'm rarely there. They did dump a HUGE load of snow in the yard, but didn't burm the drive. That is manners. As a result, it only took me an hour or less to dig out a parkign spot and a path to the trailer. In Spokane, I dug the 2 feet of snow (we only have a foot or so in Plummer, maybe less) away from the car, only to be faced with a burm at the end of the street. Thank god that guy was wandering around with a snow blower yesterday. I paid him to snow blow a clear area around my car and the neighbor's car. He wasn't asking for cash, but he was clearly spending a bit on gas to run that blower for hours and hours. He even snow-blew the alley so a few more people could get out. Really nice guy.

Anyway, trying to let the road crap go....breathe....

So, I brought Hammy to the rez in his little travel kennel. It's a bit wee. He was not comfortable but I thought, "if I go in the ditch, I can't leave Hammy in the car to freeze and he won't stay in a pocket. " And I was not going to carry his large rubber tub home (open roof for air) around in the snow. He'd freeze that way too. So, I brought him in the little kennel which I could stuff in my coat if we got stranded. Now he's living temporarily in the recycling bin (re-purposed ...may I say "recycled"... for his convenience). I put a piece of cardboard in the bottom so his hamster tinkle wouldn't go out on the carpet, but, being the big boned hamster that he is, he quickly levered it up and was apparently trying to put in a lower level. I had to put him back on top of the card board and wedge it down tighter. I gave him a few toilet paper tubes to amuse him. It's kind of sad. His head pops out the far end before his butt has disappeared at the other. It's like a fat kid at McDonald's Playland...wanting to have fun, but just getting stuck in the equipment. I'll have to find him a bigger tube to play in. He's got an old food box (pasta or something) for a house. He seems happy enough.

And now, I'm off to watch movies BY MYSELF. Cook BY MYSELF. And have a nice evening BY MYSELF.

Happy Holiday of your choice and I hope everyone travels safe.

1 comment:

Fly Right said...

Yes, 'tis lovely this time of year--we've gotten it too and it sucks! Plus it's really really cold. Ugh! I found a piece of the underneath of my car at the bottom of the driveway (pulled off on the berm made by the plow). Took her in and showed the mechanics--they said they can get me a new one in about a week, but that most people just go without. I guess it was packed with snow up in there (since the guard was gone). People here drive stupid all the time, but this weather puts them in stupid overdrive. And many of them are uninsured, unlicensed, and illegal. That makes me nervous.