So, when I left off on January 2nd as we dropped out truck off at the body shop for the repair of some minor accident damage and got ready to return to work life was pretty much returning to a normal pace after the Christmas holiday: it didn’t last long. The road to normalcy has since then had a few rough spots and slick spots.
The first road hazard was a bump in the road when body shop work on the truck wasn’t quite up to par when I picked it up Tuesday night: (1) The rear bumper was to have been painted gloss black to match the truck, but instead had just a clear coat over a black primer finish. (2) A couple of bolt caps apparently weren’t properly fastened to the bumper covers and disappeared on the drive home. (3) The license plate lights weren’t properly installed and one of the two lights was lighting up. (4) The trailer bobtail connector mount had been bent from 90° to about 45° and didn’t get fixed. (5) one of the auxiliary back-up lights that was damaged had been loosened and instead of either being removed or re-secured and was just dangling. So, it had to go back into the shop on Wednesday night for a second try. The timing of the second repair visit ended up being pretty awful as the job slipped from one day to two and didn’t get finished before an ice and snow storm hit North Georgia on Friday afternoon, leaving us without our truck for the cruddy, slippery roads.
So, yes, we’ve now had our 1st winter storm of the year, just six days into the New Year. The forecasters didn’t quite get it right and, as has been their habit since the really awful blizzard of 2014 nicknamed “snowmageddon” they’ve over-hyped the risks and caused schools and businesses to shut down when they didn’t need to. Friday was a “lightly attended” day at work as the schools were closing two-hours early around the Atlanta metro area and the Governor of Georgia released a State of Emergency Executive Order at noon that would last until midnight Sunday, sending most people to the grocery stores to stock up on bread and milk (no kidding, they really do… and chicken, chicken flies off the shelves too) and then to their homes to ride out the storm.
In terms of the storm, we had the usual recipe for disaster where there were several very cold nights ahead of the storm, but the system arrived while the temps were above freezing which meant we had a steady rain all day Friday that slowly turned into freezing rain as the temps plummeted below freezing and all of that was capped with a light dusting of snow, at least around our house. Some of the areas to the north of us received several inches of snow and didn’t get the big doze of freezing rain before the snow that we did.
It’s the freezing rain + freezing teams + covering of snow that spells trouble here in Dixie since few communities budget for snow removal or ice control and simply let nature deal with ice-covered roads. Unfortunately, these storm systems typically are followed by several days of freezing temperatures that ensure the hilly, shade covered roads stay covered with ice until the temperatures do rise. Now, if someone lives in a fairly new, community or where the trees aren’t thick enough to block sunlight even at high-noon, then life returns to normal on the first sunny day. Not so for us, as our community has a very steep, 1/4 mile long, 8% grade that never gets sunlight which keeps us from getting out to our secondary road, Old Stilesboro, which is hilly, twisty and also heavily shaded by trees. What this meant for us was being housebound from Friday afternoon until around 3:00pm on Monday when temperatures finally moved past freezing and into the 40’s with lots of sunshine and a good breeze. Well, that and the county finally came through and dropped a mix of small gravel and salt on the iced-over sections of Old Stilesboro Road.
Now, being house-bound wasn’t all that bad. I’d stopped at the grocery store and braved the milk and break hoarders to pick up some Tuna & Mahi-Mahi steaks, a flank steak and shoulder steaks, a few things I’d need top make pizza and I new I had what I’d need for hot wings and fries. Well, and some additional soft drinks, I need lots of soft drinks to get by… it’s a nasty, nasty habit but Diet Coke is apparently pretty addictive and I”m hooked big time. With those provisions at hand, we enjoyed steak and spicy chicken burritos for dinner on Friday night, steak burritos for lunch on Sunday (Debbie really liked those), blacked Tuna over rice with salsa for dinner on Saturday, chicken salad burritos for lunch on Sunday, hot wings and fries for dinner on Sunday, more chicken or steak burritos for lunch on Monday — noting that neither of us could make it into work — and then home made pizza on Monday night. It was a good weekend for football with two pro games on Saturday and Sunday and the NCAA National Championship on Monday night so between that, some work, paying bills, doing laundry, cooking and otherwise resting, it was actually a pretty nice stay-cation.
I was up and busy at work by 6:30am in my home office on Monday and pretty much stayed there until taking a short break for lunch and then another break at 3:00pm to see if the roads were clear enough for us to make a trip over to the body shop to pick up the truck. The truck actually came out exactly as it should have the first time, looking great. Interestingly enough, I’ve used this body shop once before in the past with our 2nd Suburban and the same thing happened: crappy job the first time, then nearly perfect after the rework. I sometimes wonder if there’s not a business model out there that says most clients will be OK with an OK repair job that nets the shop a few extra bucks such that having to rework a job now and again makes it worthwhile. Cest la vie, it’s back and it looks great so I’m happy. Once I was back at home it was back into the office to finish out my work day.
We’re now watching the National Championship and since the teams are so closely matched it “feels” like a boring game. Thankfully, we’re soccer fans so we get the whole idea behind a tightly contested game “feeling a bit slow” when in fact it’s just a really good game. Check that, a really great game. Amazing 4th quarter, as often happens with the bowl games and National Championship. In fact, we had friends down at the game one of whom is a Clemson Alumni and enthusiastic fan: great fun keeping up with them.
Tomorrow, it’s back to work and with any luck the roads will not refreeze tonight, or what’s left to refreeze will be inconsequential. I’ll go out first and will let Debbie know how it goes!
Personally, I have had a gut feeling that we’ll have a couple of these storms this year, and perhaps a truly big snow event… along the lines of the big snow fall we had back in 1993. If that happens, I’ll revisit this comment in this blog entry.