Monday, 1 February 2010

It's Snowing!

Friday Night

It's snowing!

In North Carolina.

Of course for the last few days it's been the talk of the state. Some parts of the state were told to expect an ice storm and earlier today it looked like we would have one.

Ice storms are not good news because it's highly probable that branches and trees break with the weight of the ice, causing power cuts (or outages) as they say here.

I'm leaving on Tuesday (weather permitting) and so this evening I cooked everything I'd bought to feed us until I go but I had to wait for all the meat to defrost. If we end up with no power until I leave, the raw food would just go to waste as George does not cook anymore. If er keep the power the stuff can just be warmed up.

After I'd been cooking for four-and-a-half hours, my inner child wanted to go outside to see the snow. So I went for a little walk with an umbrella at 10:30 p.m.

The snow is coming down thickly but the flakes aren't as fat as I've seen before in this state. When I got back to the house I noticed that my footprints first had been covered. I passed some lads having fun in the road. They'd written something on the road, the initials of theur favourite team it seems.

That gave me an idea, so further down the road I wrote 'The light of God never fails!" I like writing that. I remember writing it in the sand on a beach many years ago. (And now I've written it in my blog. lol)

The snow looked really magical coming down in the light of the street light. I enjoyed standing and watching it for a long while.

So I missed the British snow but had the joy of seeing American snow in North Carolina.

Saturday Morning

Everything is covered in white this morning, although the snow that was on the branches last night has disappeared and there are icicles hanging form the porch roof.

It's sleeting but not like it does in Britain. British sleet comes down fast and all at the same angle - bent into shape by the wind. It hurts and it's a miserable experience to be out in the sleet. This sleet is coming down slowly at all angles like tiny snowflakes, Very gently soaking you even under your umbrella, but it doesn't hurt.

My first thought this morning, when I remembered it was Saturday, was that the children will be thrilled with it snowing when they have time off school to enjoy it. But the I remembered that in this state they get a day off school even on weekdays when it snows! These are called 'snow days'.

This is because the state don't have many snow ploughs because it may only snow for a few days each year and it's not worth the expense. (Just like British homes don't have air conditioning because most years it's only needed for a few days, if at all.) Those ancient school buses aren't deemed safe to negotiate the roads they need to travel down to collect the children.

This means that a certain number of days each school year are designated 'snow days'. One year when I was here teaching in an elementary school we overrun the snow days and we even used up the designated teacher non-contact days and had to continue teaching a few days into the summer holidays to make up the designated days of education. This was not popular at all, especially as many of those 'snow days' consisted of huddling in blankets and feeling dirty from not washing, due to no power from an ice storm.

My Principle gave the staff the option of coming into school on Saturdays or clocking up the required hours for non contact time after school. I stayed many hours after the children had gone home each day anyway so I was glad to have this time officially recognised. During the aftermath of the ice storm, when the school was closed due to having no power, he had told all staff to come into school if we wanted, but I was scared to drive on roads covered in iced-over snow.

When I moved up to Montana and spent the winter there, I used the same car with the same all weather (I found out) tyres every day on roads covered in iced-over snow, and realised I'd just caught the North Carolina apprehension which was unfounded.

The forecast is 10 degrees F tonight so George is keeping all the blinds closed today to keep in the warmth (although the temperature isn't particularly cold now).

They seem to like living in a dark house because I'm the one who opens all the blinds in the morning. He only opened one out of 5 in the living room when I first got here.

I have a thing about light, and if it's daylight outside I like to have as much of it coming into my living space as I can. I even open the doors if it's warm enough. The room I sleep in here had blinds and curtains closed when I arrived and it took me a while to clear some space so I could get to the windows to let daylight in. Then I had the challenge of opening the windows that had not been opened for about 30 years but managed that with some help. Now I have the window open all the time. So not only do I have the curtains open but the window open too but don't tell George.

I may close it tonight but I'm reluctant to because the oil fumes come through the vent each time a new surge of hot air arrives. George says it's normal, but I buy natural products so I don't ingest petro- chemicals through my stomach (via dish washing liquid that sticks to plates to make them sparkle), or through my skin (via washing products and skin creams) so I don't want them entering my lungs with the air I'm breathing.

I may go out for a walk later to find a place open that has internet but in the meantime I'm enjoying watching a dad pull his son in a sled up and down the road.

Saturday Evening

Well, I went to the library and two coffee shops, a 90 minute walk in all, and none were open. I suppose they were not essential services so decided to stay off the road. During the night there were 600 incidents on the roads. The people of NC are just not used to driving on icy roads.

It was interesting to walk because underneath the snow there was a layer of ice from the sleet.