Thursday, February 13, 2014

The South is Being All Weird

When we lived in Indiana we were used to snow and ice at winter. It is a common occurrence. It snows EVERY winter. The freezing rain was a new experience for me and when the ice storm came in early 2011 I was very surprised by its impact. The kids ended up being off school for pretty much a whole week and it took us over an hour to free our car from its ice cocoon in the parking lot. We did actually hammer at the ice for a while as it was so solid. (These top 2 pictures show how thick the ice was on our car. The next 2 show ice on our front step and snow that was actually a big solid lump of ice).

I took the trash out to the dumpster one day and fell on my backside no
less than 7 times. I went to see how bad it was at the local Lions Club and had to call my husband to come help me get back as I couldn't get back up a slope that was so slight a baby could have maneuvered over it with ease on a regular day. However on the days immediately following the ice storm this was not possible for me.

Anyway, we moved to South Carolina in 2012 and were now by the beach and saw palm trees every day. When we asked people about winter they always said, "Oh it's not too bad", "Pretty mild", "Doesn't really snow here by the coast". Ah good we thought. We brought our snow shovel and have mainly used it for clearing the kids bedrooms. It is wonderful with shifting all the Lego on the floor to one corner so kids can easily pick it all up without  moaning too much. We also brought the
ice scraper for the car and left it in the trunk. It was there, in case we
needed it. I did recall seeing a news story about a time Atlanta got a little dusting of snow and it brought the city to a halt and I remember thinking 'those Southerners are wimps!'.

Well, guess what we have had! Over the last couple weeks there have been 2 instances of freezing rain and snow here in South Carolina that made it all the way to the coast.
Guess what happened. The State pretty much ground to a halt. Do I still think Southerners are wimps? No I do not. I now know that they are simply unprepared and unfamiliar with this sort of weather. There are a couple snow plows/gritters out here but there are only about 6 to cover 9 counties. I think in Carmel in Indiana they have about that for just the one town never mind the county. But the expense of buying multiple machinery to deal with snow and ice makes sense there because it is a regular occurrence. Winter happens every year and every year they get snow and ice. Due to it happening every
year the citizens of those places up North get used to driving in it and don't freak
out about it all. They just get on with it. It is also much easier to buy warm clothes that are for those kinds of temperatures. Yes you can buy jackets and sweaters and gloves here but they are for dealing with mild temperatures. Not constant days below freezing. The first winter here it was relatively mild. We even went to the beach over Christmas and New Years and only a sweater and a pair of gloves was needed to keep warm.

First the school went on a delay because it was "too cold" to have kids waiting at the bus stops at 6:50am, plus the school buses are very old and would need extra time to start in the cold temperatures. (It was about 20F/-6C but felt like 8F/-13C). I actually took both my kids to the beach and took their picture during the 2 hour delay. K said she felt like the boogers in her nose were freezing it shut. She sure has a way with words my daughter!

Next came the first instance of freezing rain and this resulted in the school being shut for 2 days. The Ravenel Bridge, among others, was closed. The Ravenel Bridge connects Mount Pleasant to Charleston and it one of the quickest ways to get down town. It was shut for about 40 hours. When it did finally open it was quickly shut again because ice chunks were falling off it and smashing into the windshields of cars on the bridge.

Now we are on our second instance of freezing rain and once again the schools are shut, we are on day 2, and the Ravenel Bridge has been shut since yesterday. Ben worked from home yesterday but decided to go into the office this morning. Luckily for him he left just before 7am and the traffic was not too bad on the I-526 heading from Mount Pleasant but as it is currently the only way to get to Charleston from here it is now very busy and has been that way since around 8:30am. I have no idea how long it will take him to get home at the end of the day. I am waiting on the call from Charleston County School District telling me what will be happening with school tomorrow. On Monday we got the call at 9:22pm saying school was shut on Tuesday. On Wednesday they made the call early and it came at 12:57pm. I am thinking school will be back on tomorrow and it will all be back to normal. The kids have their Valentines Day parties tomorrow and I have to take in 2 dozen donuts to K's 3rd grade class. (Yes I still have donut money left from the Dunkin Donuts gift cards I won). It is supposed to start a warm up from tomorrow and there is no rain expected for the remainder of today but it depends on how all the roads are I guess. By this time next week the temps should be around the 70F/22C mark and sunny. That's more like the South I know!

And to end on a silly note, we got a DVD from Netflix yesterday. Guess what made me giggle.


14 year olds & Green Cards

Did you know that you need to get a new green card when you turn 14? Do you know the reason why? No really, I'd like to know why. ...