Is the Office Open?

Dogwood
Snow sticking to a small Dogwood

That’s the grown-up equivalent of “are we there yet?

Last Friday, we had a snow storm in Connecticut. Actually, we had a forecast of 3-5” (for my overseas readers, “ stands for inches which would be 7.62 – 12.7 cm) of snow. That’s really not much snow for a New England state. I’m not sure I should use the S-word (storm). I don’t want to pull the old-guy card, but when I was a kid, they wouldn’t even had closed school for the possibility of 3-5” of snow, ending at 1:00 pm. My dad would have said:

It will be over before you come home and you’ll have plenty of time to shovel the driveway before dinner.”

As for work, I grew up working for companies that would say: “we’ll close the office if the Governor closes the State.”

In 1982, we got a freak snow storm in early April. It started snowing hard in the afternoon. The managing partner of our office got on the intercom… (Before cell phones and text messages, we used to have speakers in the ceiling and people could say something to the whole office. Yes, I know, quaint). He got on the intercom and said:

While we are letting employees leave early today, the smart thing to do would be to work late and wait out the storm.”

Six hours and 14” (35.56 cm) of snow later, he ended up springing for a bunch of hotel rooms and rumor had it that he replaced a few pairs of high heeled shoes. I threw caution to the wind and left right after his announcement. I was driving a Triumph Spitfire at the time, with four whole inches of ground clearance. I barely made it into the parking lot of my apartment building.

Although it’s a funny story in our house, (my wife worked for that same accounting firm), the decision to close the office, open the office late, let people work from home, crawl out of our holes and see our shadows or not, is never easy.

For reasons I won’t bore you with, the decision whether or not to close the office on Friday, was mine to make. I decided to ignore the weather and leave the “the office will be open during normal business hours today” message behind the voicemail/website/iPhone App versions of “Office Status.” I recorded that message, and I’m reasonably sure that it’s the sound that I make that frustrates more people than anything.

There once was a time when a melodious: “it’s a brand new day” frustrated my daughter enough to outweigh the combined frustration of 30 people who don’t want to drive in the snow, but those days are long gone. She now works for a company that closes when the Governor closes the State.

Weather-2-5-16
Our weather forecast.

Personally, I like snow, and 3-5” is a great amount. It’s enough to justify firing up my snow blower, but is not enough to force me to run it at a low speed. When I think back on shoveling snow as a child, I feel guilty about owning this machine. My father didn’t buy snow shovels. He and my brother and I used coal shovels to move the snow around. Those things were heavier when empty than a snow shovel is filled with snow. By contrast, my snow blower is outfitted with a storm cab to keep the discharged snow from blowing back on me, track drive that goes through anything, a headlight in case I’m out early and a cup holder for my coffee.

My daughter drove to work on Friday. She has a short commute, but in Connecticut, any distance in the snow can be treacherous because…hmm, let’s see, how should I say this…Oh, right, people are idiots! Since we haven’t had much snow, most people in the state forgot how to drive in it. Some still want to go 65 mph, even though the traffic in front of them is going 20. Some want to go 15 mph even though the road ahead is merely wet. Some have cleared their entire car of snow, while others carved out tiny portholes in the snow on their windshield. Some quake with fear at the mere thought of driving in snow and others can’t wait to get out there. My daughter might be in that last group. That might be my fault.

When she was young, I owned a Dodge 4-wheel-drive pickup. It was large and red and it had large tires with aggressive tread. I could easily drive that truck through 12” of snow without worry. If we were lucky enough to get a lot of snow overnight on a weekend, we would get up early and go for a ride: “before the plows ruin it” as we were known to say. We would drive to a town park with a steep narrow driveway leading down to an unplowed parking lot in which we could do donuts (spin the truck wildly in circles – that’s for Sharukh, who lives in India). The park had a back way out through the woods which was perfect.

On Friday, we ended up with about 8” of snow, and we closed the office early to let people struggle with the ride home that was also threatened by snow.

If you haven’t see a snow plow at work, the video below shows a small one.

82 thoughts on “Is the Office Open?

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  1. Reading this in Singapore, where it will never snow (unless hell freezes over or some such) it all seems a tad unreal. I’ve watched it snow in Japan, but never seen it snow more than an inch. I do have a mind to change that soon.

    Your father sounds a fair bit like mine, who still believes that doing chores builds character like no other activity.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. “…builds character” was his favorite expression. I should have enough to last a lifetime. This was s small storm. We have had 24-36″ fall over the period of a day and a half. IT’s pretty, but it’s a lot of work to deal with.

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  2. In Cleveland 3 to 5 inches never closed school either. My aunt and uncle lived on the East side and they had many more snow days due to more snow.
    As a teacher in a “county” school (read country) we would have more snow days due to danger of kids by roads and poor drivers. No seat belts on buses and other perils would bring joy to my heart. I have a friend who who uses s n o w as some of her passwords due to hopes for no school. :) My grandchildren have only had one snow day due to brittle freezing cold. I think they are “due” for one! :)
    The blizzard of ’78 was my worst storm but was safe and sound on BGSU campus. The liquor, pizza and sub stores were all in walking distance. . .

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love your line, “people are idiots!” Truer words never spoken!! I’d rather drive through NYC than travel here in Florida during the rain – the idiots pull more stunts than I can list. There used to be bumper-stickers around that read, “Pray for me – I drive on I-95 !!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. It’s so strange. You would think people in FL would be experts at driving in rain by now. The worst drivers we have are the ones with SUVs who don’t seem to realize that 4-wheel-drive only helps you go, it doesn’t help you to stop.

      Liked by 3 people

  4. I’ve seen pics from bloggers of significant snowfall in their parts and find myself cringing with embarrassment at how panicked we get here with paltry amounts. We’re just not set up for it at all so when we do, occasionally, get enough to cause major disruption it’s so exciting. A few years ago, travelling was like a scene from some armageddon movie, with cars abandoned everywhere and folk walking along major roads. Some kids and teachers had to camp overnight in schools. There’s always reluctance on the part of authorities to close the schools. One year myself and other colleagues had to trudge through a housing estate delivering kids to their homes – pre mobile phones – and I ended up walking about four miles through the snow to get home afterwards – I didn’t have a car at the time but I beat most of the drivers home. :)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Having worked for schools, I’ve had a few snow days. However, I’ve also worked for companies that only close during state of emergency. For the most part, I’ve worked at places where they expected employees to drive carefully and make it in alive, so tardiness in snow wasn’t a big deal. I don’t think snow is a suitable reason to close up most Indianapolis businesses. Delays make more sense. For 3-5 inches? Nah. Not here.
    As for the kids, well, when they’re bus dependent and it’s ungodly cold, snow or no snow, I do think there’s a fine line between teaching work ethic and crazy. lol Of course, those of us with the unreliable bus drivers are a bit biased…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We try delays over closing, but sometimes, you just need to have people in the office. I leave early on those days. I’m certain I got that concept from my dad. The buses got to be an issue last year because we had so much snow that it was hard to see the kids over the snow banks, and February was the coldest month ever recorded in CT.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. The winters of my youth were often memorable but it never stopped the kids. We measured the snow fall in feet not inches and damn we had fun! Ah the Canadian North! I don’t think I could handle that now.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. It continually boggles my mind how people can “forget” how to drive in snow. If you’ve never done it before, sure – but everyone else should know better. Luckily when it snows a lot I have a job where I can work from home. :)

    Liked by 1 person

  8. OMG… you know how I hate snow, Dan. Yet I’m so desperate for “a change” that I’m giving serious consideration to a job in Detroit…
    A similar storm (to yours) expected here this evening. Maybe they’ll remember to treat the roads this time. For the 3 inches that came a few days a head of the blizzard, they didn’t bother, and it was chaos.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They tend to over-treat here, which, I guess, is a good thing. It’s expensive, especially when the storms come on weekends and holidays. Detroit is interesting for a lot of reasons. Good luck with that decision.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. We’ve been very lucky here so far this winter with only a few dumpings of more than 15 cms.
    The poor driving thing is pretty universal I think. That first storm every years leads to total chaos on the roads; accidents, cars in the ditch, stalls, etc…it’s like everyone forgets we live in Canada and in winter it snows here!
    I’ve never worked for a company that closes on account of snow. Schools close if it’s bad enough but closing a company just doesn’t happen here.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Our company never really closed up into the 90s and early part of this century, but as more and more people can work from home, we started following others in that trend. We have 3-5″ coming today and they will probably close mid-day.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I love your passion for snow. You *almost* make me wistful for a real winter since we still don’t have any snow (happy-dance!).

    The idiot-factor seems to be a human condition that’s triggered by sub-optimal events. People who got their driver’s license out of a crackerjack box, decide that icy, snowy roads can still be navigated even though they are hopelessly inept at ideal conditions.

    I liked your snow pictures, especially the fence with all the holes filled in with snow. Fresh snow is really pretty … if only it would be a good guest and leave before its welcome is overstayed.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. We’ve had a couple of years where I was ready for winter to end before it was, but I do really enjoy the four seasons. Our dog simply can’t get enough time in the snow. We have to drag her in because I think she would stay out until she froze solid.

      You’re right, we have idiot drivers in all kinds of weather.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Locking the idiots off the road? I’ve seen those where my brother lives in Iowa. I wasn’t sure what they were until he explained them during one visit. I wish we had them here. Better would be gates that police could lock to keep the real morons in their driveways.

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  11. Dan, Dan, Dan. I wish I could just fly there now and just enjoy the freezing climate. The images are so tempting. Of course, I understand that too much of snow can disrupt routine life and it becomes horrible to reach home early and so on, but I would still enjoy it. By the way, the cold has catch up here as well, but I believe my winter is summer for you guys and your winter is a Deep-Freezer experience for me which I haven’t experienced yet.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If you can convert your “cold” to Fahrenheit an still have two digits (or the first one isn’t a ‘1’, then you don’t have cold. If the farenheit number is negative, then you really have yourself some cold. -7.2 c = 19f -1f would be -18.3c.

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          1. That’s exactly what I was saying. Plus, it gets 60F at night time say around 2am or so, throughout the day it is around 65-67F and that’s what we here call winter. My sister stays higher up in the mountains so she enjoys a bit colder climate.

            Liked by 1 person

  12. Love all the pictures!! Crazy that people will drive with just a porthole of vision??? Who does that?

    Living in Georgia now, I don’t see snow that often. So when the remote possibility comes, I get all geek excited. I grew up in Ohio and Michigan, so I remember the snow and hazards of driving in it fortunately. On a rare snow/ice day, I took my teenage son out to drive in it as we had to go check on the horse anyway. In just 10 miles, we saw 5 cars in ditches. I was like, really people? It was only 2 inches of snow, and well, a layer of ice under that from sleet the night before. Still people. Just go slower than 60 and you won’t have this issue! Geeeeeezzzz. Either way, it was fun teaching him how to drive in the winter weather. He is moving to Ohio after he graduates. I guess he will get more practice soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I took our daughter out in the snow, to large parking lots before they were cleared, just to teach her what to expect. I’ve seen people on the highway with cars covered in snow. Windshield sort of clear but a small section of the back window and snow all over the side windows. Worse are the people who head out with frost covering every inch of glass and just waiting for the defrosters to work. Some get on the highway with virtually no vision beyond that little spot above the dashboard.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I remember that April 1982 snow storm. My first child was born right when it started – it was raining as we rushed to the hospital (my most memorable words: “Shut up and drive!”). A few hours later, the nurses were coming in complaining of the drive to work. I couldn’t understand – was the rain that bad? But then my husband told me that while I was busy having all that fun (beautiful, perfect baby girl!), it had snowed about 18″ and was still snowing. Hubby managed to get home in his Dodge Challenger (he’s an incredible driver in snow), but then borrowed my mother’s Mercury Marquis station wagon to come back in because the roads hadn’t been plowed properly.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Driving that Dodge in the snow would be a literal challenge. So much power in the rear, but not much weight. I’ve had 4-WD since 1990 because sometimes, I do have to go to work in the snow, but I try to go early to beat the idiots. At least you had a good reason to be on the road.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Dan, we are about to loose our snow-less condition. It has been a mostly snow-less winter in Ohio. We have had a few snowfalls to this point. Right now the forecast is calling for snow the next five days. I am surprised that it has gone around us this long into the season.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This was a very wet snow so it sticks to everything. Some people are just stupid. CT passed a law that cars and trucks have to have snow removed from their roof. That’s a hazard because it flies off at high speeds if the don’t.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Your Friday storm was probably our Tuesday storm. While you got more than expected, we got a little less than the predicted Snowpocalypse of 12″ or more. It was more like 8 or 9″, but still enough to close school for the day. It didn’t start really snowing until noon, but by 3:00 pm it was time to leave work and head home. Good thing, too, I almost didn’t get into the parking spot at home.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I loved your stories. :-) We have a whiteout going on up here right now. But, there is one thing our New England states know how to do and that is plow snow. The main roads will be clear down to the asphalt in no time. And, if a person hasn’t seen gigantic snow plows riding side by side down an interstate up here, they have really missed something. Have a safe trip home. :-)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Judy. When New York had the Olympics in 1980(?) they had s contest to nominate the exhibition sport (the host country picks it). I sent in “two lane high speed plowing” because I knew we would take the gold.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Intercom!!!! I couldn’t help, I laughed out loud reading your description. I had forgotten about intercoms.
    I must say, lucky you. I wish we would have real snow. A good enough storm, to make everything slow down and makes me want to dart out with my camera. We haven’t had a real snow storm so far this winter. I wish for one… Just not on February 18th, when I will be flying south to Florida.
    :-)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We got one good one and more today. A little more tomorrow and maybe more each day after that. It’s supposed to be low single digits on Saturday that’s the part of winter I could skip. I’m glad you enjoyed this.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Haven’t seen snow like that since a while, but your post and photos brought back memorable New England snowstorms. I like snow too, especially when I’m home or in the yard. Driving can be challenging but I learned how to back there and if we are careful it can be done. But I liked the school delays and the occasional snow day. Enjoy the beauty!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. 3″-5″ is just right for me, too. Years ago I lived in Steamboat Springs, Colorado for a few years. We always worried when we saw rental cars or cars with Texas plates. You knew they had their feet on the brake pedals and all the way to the floor. (This was in the day when you were supposed to pump the brakes.) I never worried too much about my driving, but I worried quite a bit about those around me. SUV drivers seem think their vehicles can stop like normal, no matter than the conditions, which is simply not true. And big truck drivers just drive fast!

    janet

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re so right Janet. I worry much more about the other drivers than I do about the conditions. I always try to leave early. We decided to close the office early, to let our employees beat the rush home in that mess.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. You’re right on with the idiot remark. I grew up in Michigan and learned to drive in the snow. So when living in Seattle, where schools and offices were closed for even 2″ of snow (who needs snowplows in Seattle, right?), I felt confident about going out and doing a few things in spite of the “treacherous” conditions. BUT, I forgot about the idiots who didn’t know how to drive in snow. Holy crap! As I was going to head over an overpass, a car in front of me hit the concrete wall on one side, overcorrected to slide over and hit the one on the opposite side, and then wove back into a semblance of the lane to continue on. I turned around and went home. Idiots indeed.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know that feeling Deborah. I live in Seattle for three years. I couldn’t understand how people who routinely drove into the mountain passes to go skiing didn’t know how to drive when the snow was on the local streets. The very few times we had snow in the city, I stayed home.

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  21. Before Thanksgiving of 2008, I lived on the upper peninsula of Michigan. Like where you live, snow is always a part of winter (okay, autumn and spring too). I didn’t mind the snow even for driving. With most roads it was packed snow. What freaked me out was that first storm of the season because there’s be ice on the roads. Another freak out was in the spring when the snow began to melt, ice on the roads again. Of course, upper Michigan doesn’t even have a lot of large towns (no cities up there). Most towns are hoover between the size of your own personal neighborhood and the larger neighborhood that includes the closest shopping centers.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I stay off the roads in ice. We get a lot of freezing rain here, and there’s just no reason good enough to put me out there. I tried going to work last year when it was predicted, hoping I could get to work before it started falling. I slid into a support column on a nearby building. Not a lot of damage, but certainly not something I ever want to do again. I’ve never been to the upper peninsula, but I hear that it’s very pretty.

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  22. We actually had snow here in my hometown last winter. It didn’t settle but snow is snow, right? My kids, who live on other parts of the island, demanded photos by way of evidence. Even so they didn’t believe me until it made the national news! I do remember the great pleasure of snow days from my year in Minnesota. I loved them!

    Liked by 1 person

  23. “People are idiots”. Truer words were never spoken, Dan! I’m grateful that my studio is right in my house, so tbh, I go out once a week for groceries, and that suits me just fine. I do, however, have a driveway that’s a quarter of a mile long, and so even though I don’t have to go out much, I still need to be able to GET out in case of an emergency. Which means plowing/shoveling nearly as often as if I DID have to drive to work every day. Sometimes it’s a daily occurrence.

    But even up here where 4 feet of snow is just called “February”, people still can’t seem to get it through their heads that road conditions in winter are not the same as in summer. Everyone wants to drive much too fast and it’s just a miracle that there aren’t more accidents in the area. I do often chuckle though when I hear about practically an entire state shutting down, buildings AND transportation, for what’s considered pretty routine here. The only time I ever got a snow day at school was when it was so cold the buses wouldn’t start. And even then, the school remained open to take the kids of parents who still had to go to work. I guess it’s better safe than sorry, but it is a BIT hard to swallow sometimes when I see how people react to winter farther south!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, the schools closed on Monday for what would amount to 2-5″ of snow spread over the entire day. You probably wouldn’t even notice that amount. I feel better knowing that there are idiots up your way too. I’d hate to think we had a lock on that market.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Peter. My wife liked that pattern on the gate, she’s the one who directed that photo. It’s going to be very cold here this weekend, but Maddie will still be out for some fun.

      Like

  24. Dan, I live in a small town that had ninety inches of snow from November through January, none of which melted because of our frigid temperatures. And nothing closed. No snow days for children. No sleep-ins for adult workers. No excuses. It seems simpler this way.

    Liked by 1 person

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