Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Frozen: Ice on the Bayou

I didn't really think that four inches (no really, we measured) of ice would fall on the Bayou. But alas, the good Lord above has always been really good at keeping us on our toes.Thank goodness I had already crawled under my house and wrapped exposed pipes during the "Polar Vortex" of early January.  (Yes, you read that right.  I was under the house.  Me, not Matt, not my dad, me.)

I should seriously earn a merit badge for my Oilfield Wife vest for that one, but, in all honesty, doing that kept me from having to deal with frozen or busted pipes, so I got over it real quick-like!  (I also used this as damage control for having to spend boo-coodles of hard-earned-offshore-cash on a sick cat that no one likes but me, but that's another story.)

So any-who, we knew this storm was coming.  But did we really believe it would snow in the greater Mobile area? No, we didn't. And in some aspects, we were completely right.  There was NO SNOW.  I would have gladly taken snow.  Bring on the SNOW!

But instead, we got ICE. What's the difference, you ask? Well, since you are probably a friend of mine,  you're probably also from the South and don't think there's a big difference, but let me just fill you in...

Snow doesn't hurt when it hits your face. Snow doesn't become one solid sheet of slippery-death-trap. Snow is pretty and fluffy and FUN!  Ice is not.  (OK, so it may be pretty, but it is definitely not fluffy or fun.)

And when you live in a Southern state, and I don't mean Google's definition where Maryland actually qualifies as a Southern state (because technically Maryland is below the Mason Dixon line, but so is Delaware, and they're NOT southern, OK?), but rather the states where its typically 90 degrees on a "cool" day, sweet-tea consumed from Mason jars is not a "redneck" thing, and pearl earrings are worn with t-shirts, shorts, and flip-flops. So, now that we've cleared that up, lets continue....where was I?

Oh, right, when you live in a Southern state, you don't see weather like this. Your meteorologist does not normally use phrases like "wind chill" and "black ice."  Your heaviest coat is camouflage and only used for deer hunting "up North" which is usually somewhere around Meridian, MS (>>read: that's still not very far north, people.)  You are more than prepared, at all times, for a hurricane, which includes a lot of boarding-up of windows, gassing up generators, and grilling hot-dogs and drinking beer with friends and neighbors, while waiting for the power company to make their way to your neighborhood. I mean, we hardly cancel schools for less than a category 3! But when the first ice pellet hits the ground, and the temperature dips below 32 degrees, we more or less lose our minds.

We don't know how to drive on icy roads.  And, more importantly, we do not own the equipment to prep roads for ice, we just don't have the need for all that junk.  We do, however, have the ability to clear 300 year-old oak trees from a road within a few hours after the last rain band of a hurricane moves out, but then again, that's the norm down in these parts.

I know several people who were asked to come into work anyway, and ended up with wrecked or abandoned cars on the Bay Bridge.  My college roommate spent the night in her office in Birmingham. It was like nothing we had ever had to deal with.  So why would we have been prepared for it?

Kind of like those folks in New Jersey and New York when Sandy hit.  They didn't have reason to believe it was going to be devastating, not that our little ice storm compares to the destruction of Sandy, it doesn't.  BUT, you didn't see us Southerners making fun of them after that storm, now did ya? (I'm pointing a finger at Matt Lauer with this one. I hope the TODAY show does that "Where in the World is Matt Lauer?" segment again, and they actually lose him, or better yet, drop him off in Crawford, MS, when he has to take a poop.  Ask my husband about that next time you see him.)

You also didn't see us blaming the government or poor response from FEMA or whoever else for our misfortune.  Nope, you saw us in our four-wheel drives, pulling cars out of ditches, and checking on neighbors.  You saw us making "icemen" and sledding down the hill in our laundry baskets, and building fires and passing out dog crates so neighborhoods could corral their stray cats and dogs and keep them warm.  You saw us walking 7 hours in the ice to spend the night with our kids who were stuck at school.

That's what we do down here.  We take care of business.  Sometimes it may not make the most sense to Yankees, but that's just fine with us.  We didn't ask for their opinion anyway.

I really didn't mean for this blog to turn into a rant, but it's my blog, and if I can't rant here, I can't rant anywhere!

As for Matt and myself, there are many things that worked out for us during this ice storm, for which we are incredibly grateful.

One: Matt was stuck in Mexico for three days, finally arriving in Mobile, just about 24 hours before the ice started falling. Praise the Lord.

Two: We were proactive and made a grocery store trip on Monday night. (I suggested, as a joke, that we should buy food for the "Snowpocalypse" and Matt said that was actually a good idea. Its a good thing we did, because for three days, nothing was open, and you know I don't keep groceries in the house!)

Three: My boss is awesome and told everyone in the office to work from home, and under no circumstances were we to drive in if conditions were dangerous. (He actually got stuck in Chicago for a few days because of all the ice in Atlanta.)

Four: We found out that our fireplace/chimney really does work, and we didn't burn our house down.

Five: We spent an incredible amount of quality time together.  After a 5 week hitch, we certainly needed it.

I'll leave you with a few pictures of our Ice-cation. (I'm trying terribly hard to come up for a catchy name for what happened last week.  Feel free to leave your suggestion in the comments below.  A co-worker of mine suggested Icenado, and that's pretty much my favorite so far.)

Below are a few pictures of our ice-covered yard, and a video of Matt and Gumbo playing in the ice.  (Fortunately, you won't get a picture of my not-so-graceful fall while carrying firewood. It was comical, to say the least.)

This was Tuesday afternoon, around 5 o'clock.

Tuesday Afternoon.

Tuesday Afternoon.

Tuesday Afternoon Icicles.

Wednesday Morning.

Wednesday Morning.

Major Icicles on Wednesday Morning. 
Gumbo decided the best place for him was in his favorite blanket.

Chopper is NOT impressed. 

But he was curious about the camera!

I probably should have cropped out the blur that is my leg/foot,
but I didn't, so you could see how I was still wearing Matt's camo coveralls, inside the house.
It was THAT cold.  

Sending You Warm and Happy Thoughts From the Bayou!

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