LOCAL VIEW —I thought I saw a thaw—

In the winter, with warmth comes clouds, and with the clouds came a brief spell of snow this morning. It was just enough to make a mess, and totally confuse things for everyone, as the superintendent of schools, (who I think has a deep fear of lawsuits), announced a two hour delay in the opening of school, for a pathetic inch and a half of snow.

Personally, I think the superintendent should be fined for each delay. It might make him more cognizant of the total chaos he is causing the local economy.  When both parents work, to abruptly have to figure out what to do with the children for two hours causes a sort of panic. Someone needs to step in to save the day, and that someone tends to be the guy running the Childcare facility, namely me.

I am grumpy enough about having to add “snow removal” to my schedule, even if it is only brooming off the front walk and scattering some salt, and running to and fro pushing the snow off the part of the parking lot where parents actually disembark with their kids (to keep them from tracking amazing amounts of snow inside). To also have to deal with a bunch of parental pleading is not what I need, as the superintendent himself sits back and sips a coffee in some plush office.

It occurred to me this morning that we could save a lot of tax dollars if we rented his office to some business that actually contributes to the economy, and actually pays taxes, and moved the superintendent himself from that plush office to my goat barn. After all, it has an electrical outlet. I could supply a table and chair.

Besides the parents working real jobs, desperate to find care for their children, there are of course the parents who teach at the school, who come lollygagging in with their children two hours late without telling us they will be late. They have no idea of the staffing problems we are facing with extra children, or of various state laws that demand we have a set number of adults for a set number of children. If they’d have the consideration to call us and inform us they’d be late, then we might…….

Oh, what’s the use!  It is scheduling chaos, and that is all there is to it. And to have this chaos caused by a fall of snow we’d hardly notice, back when I was a kid, does make me even more grumpy than I usually am.

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The irony was that the two hour delay allowed milder air to come north, and raise temperatures from 25° to 34° (-4° to +1° Celsius). This turned the roads from snow-covered, (and if you don’t know how to drive on snow-covered roads you shouldn’t live in New Hampshire), to slush-covered, which turns roads into a sort of treacherous grease, especially when the tar beneath has been chilled by sub-zero cold.

To top it all off, I had a dentist appointment scheduled twenty miles away, at a time things have usually settled down, but now was the time the delayed bus would be arriving, (driven by a bus driver in a bad mood, because drivers usually need a second job in the middle of the day to make ends meet, but the superintendent doesn’t think of the cut drivers are going to take in their mid-day pay, with each two-hour-delay.)

The dentist was going to do a root canal. Come to think of it, anticipation of this procedure might have added a little extra to my grumpiness.

To cut a long story short, kids wound up where kids were suppose to be, I slithered twenty miles, and settled down in the comfortable chair of a dentist who has the redeeming quality of never stinting on the Novocaine.  Around lunchtime I left, planning to skip lunch, because if I had eaten there would have been absolutely no way of knowing whether I was chewing my meal or the left side of my face.

To sit a long time in a chair with my mouth open might not seem like an activity that uses a lot of energy, but I always wind up feeling like I’ve been exercising. I’m stiff and sore. At the same time I feel like I’ve been producing a lot of adrenaline and not using it. I feel sort of like zoning-out listlessly for around a week, but have learned it is better to do some exercise, and get my blood stirring. So I trudged outdoors to stock up the depleted porch with firewood.

Some of our wood was delivered with the logs too fat, so I swung a maul and split the bigger logs to two or three smaller ones. Gradually I began to feel human again.

It was misty, with the temperature stalled barely above freezing, and then starting down again, sinking below freezing around nightfall.  We were in a sort of dry-slot between snow to our north and rain to our south.

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I doubt we will get much snow as the next cold high pressure pushes down over us. That snow to our north looks in a big hurry to slide away up to the northeast. By morning we might have a dusting, atop slush that will all be frozen as hard as iron.

If you look at the weather map you can see the southern-branch moisture and energy is still dawdling down in Florida. When the energy stays spread out like that we fail to get a big storm.

To our northwest you can see the next big arctic high coming. At the very top of the map you can see a cold front way up in Canada, which indicates yet another high pressure will follow.

Between each of the high pressures is low pressure holding the chance of a becoming the “Big One.”  Each slot of low pressure will have a northern-branch and southern-branch feature. Sometimes they will fail to “phase”, as was the case with the current two low-pressures, but the current pattern reminds me of the patterns of my youth, and back then the really big storms waited until February, or even March. That is what I feel in my bones we will see again, this year.

When that happens it does get milder between the arctic high pressures, but the storms tend to make snow even when rain seems likely. The pressure is falling so rapidly, and precipitation also falls so rapidly that, due to some process I don’t fully understand, “cold air gets dragged to the surface.”  It can be a degree or two above freezing, yet the snow dumps down at rates up to three inches an hour.

Our Childcare has never been closed by a storm, but on one occasion only a single small girl showed up. I think we could see that happen again, this winter.

In the mean time we are passing through the more easy time of the winter, when snow-removal only involves a broom. If the superintendent can freak out over this weather, I expect there will be no school at all, this February.

Even though these are the easy times, I can’t help but notice our landscape has changed from brown to white, and I have to brush the snow from the logs out at the woodpile, now. However that is much better than needing to dig down to find the logs. A brief thaw is better than no thaw at all, and two inches of snow better than two feet.

However even better is to retreat to the year 1971, and work on my novel.


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