The weather we've experienced over the last week has gotten nearly everyone's attention, here. Having had three consecutive anomalous mild, icy winters - bare "winter" at all, by our standards - the return to a normal weather pattern has caught newbies off-guard.
There is quite a difference between ice and snow pellets at 31°, and 8" of snow at -20. The avalanche danger is elevated. No, that's not a mountain joke.
And Anchorage has had a couple of deaths which are being attributed to exposure. It happens. Usually the elderly or infirm, and sometimes doing something as innocuous as going to the mailbox. One slips and falls, hits his or her head, and that's where they spend the rest of their life.
It doesn't take very long.
Today's it currently 10° above, and the weatherman predicts another few inches of snow. We'll have falling temps later, they say, and slide below zero again tonight.
One must be prepared. Snow boots, ice cleats, layered clothing ... hats, gloves, scarves. We don't "put up" with the weather; we protect ourselves from it.
Yes, it's a pain to put on snow boots and a parka to walk to the mailbox, but it sure beats the alternative.
Our daughters, bless 'em, will be clearing the driveway once it gets light. I've got a couple of recently-arrived boxes to open: new speakers for the computer, and a stool for the workbench in the garage. That latter one will aid in putting on and removing said snow boots, too.
Now that the weather has warmed back up to normal temps, the two smaller SUVs will come out of the garage, as well. My wife's has no block heater, and she greatly appreciated getting into a warm vehicle when it was so far below zero.
And there's something else: both my wife and younger daughter drive late-model Ford Escapes. We've discovered a serious flaw: because of the new design, the tailgate and rear window get completely packed with icy snow. In fact, the rear wiper becomes so encrusted with ice that it won't even make contact with the glass.
I've had to hold the blade away from the window with my hand, and firmly tap the assembly with a hammer just to get the ice off.
My previous-generation Explorer doesn't have this problem, and it's made me rethink my plan to get a newer one. As a result, I suspect my next chariot will be a pickup. Or a TARDIS.
Okay, probably a truck. :)