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I just got an email from City Hall: “We’ve declared a snow emergency.”

Usually the words “snow emergency” seem out of proportion for our typical three- or four-inch snowfalls. But today, “snow emergency” sounds more like a comical understatement.

What’s happening outside my window is not a snow emergency. It’s Snowmaggedon. It’s what would happen if the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse all showed up, and they all brought snow. (Except that in Minnesota they’d be the Four Norsemen of the Apocalypse, of course.)

Since last night we’ve gotten 14 inches, and it’s still coming down — hard. Add to that a few 25-mile-per-hour gusts and a couple of clueless motorists (hey, buddy: your 4-wheel drive won’t work if your wheels aren’t touching the ground!), and you’ve pretty much got a snowy-white version of hell.

“Aw, c’mon, it can’t be that bad,” I can hear you saying. Well, here … let me illustrate.

What you’ll need for this experiment:
1 meat cooler, set to “freeze your %#$@ off”
1 tub of ice-cold water
1 industrial-strength fan
300 34-gauge hypodermic needles

Ready? First, cue up the actual sound of winter’s fury, recorded in my front yard: Winter wind

Then, walk into the meat locker, step into the tubful of ice-cold water, turn on the fan full-blast, and poke every exposed area of your body repeatedly with those needles. (To simulate tiny, razor-sharp, wind-propelled ice crystals, in case you’re wondering.)

Want extra credit? Find an itchy wool scarf that repeatedly comes untied and whaps you across the eyes, scratching your corneas like an angry cat. Still not impressed? Move to Minnesota. You’re our kind of folk.

I’m sorry to have missed out on my planned activities: Coffee with a friend at 8, brunch with several former Star Tribune colleagues at 10, lunch with my Florida sister and her son, and a surprise birthday party in the evening for my brother-in-law. Sigh.

But on the plus side, I got a welcome day at home with Esteban. I also enjoyed an impromptu visit from my friend Norine and her dog Mica (note Norine’s appropriate dress — very sexy, by Minnesota standards).

I got to help push a stranded motorist down the street (again, note the appropriate dress).

And I got to wonder over and over and over again whether the snow would ever stop. No prospect of that, I’m afraid. Keep shoveling, honey!

Also, on the bright side: At least I’m safe and warm at home. My poor friend Pam has been at work since yesterday morning — and I’m not sure she’ll be able to make it home tonight. Imagine choosing to sleep on a couch so you’d be sure not to miss your next shift! I hope someone takes note of her extraordinary diligence.

And finally, at least my furry friend Tucker seems to be enjoying himself.

Update, posted 8:34 p.m.:
According to the Star Tribune, this is the biggest single winter storm since the Great Halloween Blizzard of 1991. In fact, the conditions are so treacherous that the 20th-anniversary celebration of Will Steger’s International Trans-Antarctica Expedition had to be canceled. (Talk about ironic.) Next up: Several days of sub-zero temperatures. Yay!

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