Stranded 40 Feet from Home

My car, stuck at the foot of our stupid driveway.

Cold day. Cold irony.

This week the teeming cloud hordes of Old Man Winter barreled across the American skies and bludgeoned entire states and regions into total pandemonium. Blizzards dumped heavy swaths all around as if half the United States were now honorary Minnesotas. Schools and other community activities that had opened their doors to welcome COVID-19 and its carriers reneged and locked their doors. Power grids failed. Water pipes seized up. Numerous utility companies faced wrathful accountability for their shortsightedness, for skimping on precautionary upgrades, and for being smug greed-heads. Homes became inhospitable and even dangerous, forcing families to seek shelter, charity, and survival elsewhere. The turmoil dragged on for hours and days even after the snowfall ceasefire. Millions of internet users distracted themselves by logging onto their devices by candlelight, their batteries down to 15% or less, and channeling their unchecked rage into scathing verbal attacks on the Zodiac Killer. This week was like 2020 all over again, much like all the 2021 weeks that preceded it, but, like, somehow in its own way even 2020-ier.

Me? I got my car stuck at the end of our driveway.

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Our 1000th Rainy Day of 2017

Severe Thunderstorm Warning!

Local forecasters interrupted Friday night’s episode of Beat Shazam. We weren’t even paying attention to Academy Award Winner Jamie Foxx’s new job, but we were annoyed anyway.

A brief poem about our local weather so far this year:

Rain, rain, go away!

Come again some other day!

No, not that day.

No, not that day too.

No, not that one either. Or that one. Or that one.

Stop, rain. Just stop.

OKAY, RAIN, KNOCK IT OFF.

…sigh. Blub. Gurgle. Blub.

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Snowfall Burnout

Snowpocalypse 2014, Indiana

Next person caught singing “Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!” gets mugged.

Snowpocalypse 2014 continues to overstay its welcome…

Early Scenes from Snowpocalypse 2014, Indianapolis Division

Snowpocalypse 2014, Indianapolis, Indiana

Yep, snow’s here. The above photo was taken just four hours into it, so you can still glimpse asphalt peeking through the tire tracks. Two hours later and safely at home, I’m guessing the coverage is thicker by now.

I expected worse, to be honest, but the great and powerful snowstorm of January 2014, which should be trending shortly on Twitter as #snowpocalypse2014 unless anyone has a clever idea, launched six hours behind schedule in our vicinity. “Better late than never!” said no one I’m ever speaking to again.

This way for more snowy pics from this morning…

After the Blizzard, Sliced Bread Will Be the New World’s Currency

grocery bread aisle blizzard conditions doomsday prepOur local weather forecasts are calling for massive snowfall this Sunday. Depending on who you believe and how much you exaggerate when you pass the word along, by Monday evening we should expect anywhere from six inches to fifteen feet. Midwest meteorology is an inexact science in that respect.

One result you can count on with demonstrable exactitude: if a TV weatherman so much as whispers the word “snow” as if it’s Today’s Secret Word, viewers will drop everything they’re doing, shove aside their loved ones, drive to the nearest grocery, and buy all the bread they can carry. Without knowing whether the coming storm will produce a mild drizzle or The Day After Tomorrow, the better-safe-than-sorry motto of the doomsday-prepping majority dictates that everyone err on the side of caution and hoarding.

Why bread? Great question…

PBJ, Doritos, and Milk by Candlelight

candlelightI’m not sure if it’s reached national headlines, but this afternoon a severe storm front swept through the Midwest, took at least five lives in Illinois, and destroyed numerous structures between here and there, according to the most recent Indianapolis Star update as of this writing. (See this link for footage from Lebanon — a town halfway between our house and my son’s apartment — of a tornado that swept through the area. Among other damages, it later flipped a semi and took out a Starbucks.) Our prayers are with those currently in the midst of unthinkable tragedy as a result of the day’s upheaval.

We Hoosiers are no strangers to destructive weather. Our TV meteorologists panic more often than most of us do. It’s absolutely horrifying whenever worst-case scenarios do occur. We’ve been coached all our lives on what to do in that event; more often than not, though, all we suffer is unusual inconvenience — a broken shingle here, a leveled bush there, some broken siding on rare occasion.

Tonight, those treacherous storms ruined our dinner.

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Blustery Indiana Hailstorm Smashes Fauna, Causes Widespread Blackouts, Interrupts Quality Time

Temperatures in Indianapolis had been dropping this week, so we knew a change in the weather was in store, but we hardly expected anything like tonight.

We were in the middle of entertaining a guest, about forty minutes into Louis Leterrier’s Clash of the Titans when we realized that the explosive sounds of mega-scorpion warfare on TV were suddenly being drowned out by what sounded like massive artillery fire from outside, bombarding our house from every direction. Violating one of my personal rules, I paused in the middle of an action scene, then pulled the drapes to scope out the fuss.

Lo and behold: central Indiana was under siege by killer hail from above.

Indiana hailstorm 9/21/2012

Indiana hailstorm 9/21/2012

For readers lacking a frame of reference, let it be known for the record that our modest deck doesn’t normally look like someone’s laying the foundation for Christmas Town.

We’ve had hail before. The average hailstorm ’round our part of Indianapolis lasts twenty to thirty seconds, at best — not nearly long enough to jangle our nerves. This time was not the same. I rarely describe meteorological events as “frightening”, even when tornado sirens are blaring in my ear and the clouds have turned the color of murder. Tonight, the intensity level assailing our humble abode was officially frightening. For several minutes that dragged like dangerous hours, the onslaught just wouldn’t stop. This new, sturdier, 21st-century hailstorm raged and roared to the point where my son actually evacuated the living room to get away from the potentially hazardous window glass. We Hoosiers have been taught and lectured about important safety tips like that for years. I can’t blame him for obeying them, or for thinking his father was insane for being mesmerized by this unheralded, unsafe display of nature’s brutality.

I might’ve been a little more grounded and less collected if I’d looked out our front door first. This is what the storm did to our neighbors’ very large tree across the street:

Indiana hailstorm 9/21/2012

Granted, this could have been a stray lightning bolt accompanying the hailfire, rather than the hailfire itself. Somehow that doesn’t brighten my impression of the event.

So far our house seems unscathed, except for two sides that are now plastered with our neighbors’ former leaves. It remains to be seen how our roof fared. Our evergreen bushes out front are wider than they were this morning, as if a rhino rolled around on them to scratch his back. Our power blacked out in the middle of the storm, and remained kaput for over two hours before service resumed. As I understand it, we’re among the lucky ones in that regard — local news is reporting that thousands more people remain without power at the moment, and Lord only knows how many hail-related horror stories will be aired or posted by morning. I pray there were no casualties in all this, and that the damage is much less than I fear.

Admittedly, the hailstorm certainly put those fake, showy mega-scorpions into proper, minuscule perspective.

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