Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Tired of Winter

Before heading up to our workout room in the wee hours this morning, I peered through the blinds and noticed snow accumulating on the driveway and walks yet again. I sighed. By the time I was leaving for work about an inch of the white stuff had accumulated.

Let me state for the official record that I am tired of winter. Yeah, I know. I have often told others complaining about winter that their choice of where they live sure is odd, given that northern Utah tends to regularly experience real winters. That "greatest snow on earth" slogan isn't all marketing fluff.

We had a few snowstorms in November this season. But that snow had pretty much melted away by the time mid December rolled around. And then—cold. Cold and haze due to incessant inversion. Our kids kept wishing for a white Christmas. Alas, no new snowfall graced our area in time for the blessed yuletide.

But snow fell the day after Christmas, giving us a brief respite from the inversion and unseasonably frigid temperatures. (The mean temperature this winter has been quite a bit colder than is "normal.") We haven't seen much of our lawn since December 26. We have had fairly long spells of inversion where the snow didn't melt much, interspersed with occasional snowstorms that required more rounds of snow removal.

The snow removal took its toll on me this year. I can tell that I am aging. After breaking up resilient sheets of two-inch thick ice that painted all surfaces following an unusual ice storm, my left hip began hurting. The pain increased over the next several days until it was excruciating. (I even took ibuprofen, which I rarely do.)

I have great respect for what a good chiropractor can do with respect to muscular-skeletal problems. But I frankly hate the standard chiropractic business model that sucks you into 20 visits when one or two would suffice. At least, if the chiropractor was any good at his trade. Besides, I have learned enough about how my own joints work to make certain adjustments on my own.

Having effected the adjustment that relieved the pressure on the affected nerve, I needed to give the nerve time to heal. But the regular storm pattern over recent weeks has made that difficult, as I have had to repeatedly do snow removal. Finally, however, my back and hip are approaching normalcy, no thanks to the shoveling and snow blowing. Still, I have had to stay away from the ski slopes.

Despite all of the snow removal and driving in slippery conditions (and paying for an auto repair thanks to those conditions), water managers tell us that we have below average water in the mountains and that we are likely headed into a second consecutive drought year. Now, that just doesn't seem fair to me. We have snow and ice with little sunshine for weeks on end, we keep doing snow removal, and yet we're in a drought. (They tell us that the long inversion periods kept storms away and that when storms did come they dumped their moisture in the valleys before floating unladen over the mountains, so that there isn't much snow up there.)

The media seems to take great delight in rubbing our faces in the fact that we're headed into a drought. There is a whole class of professional hand-wringers that spend a great portion of each year whining about northern Utah's water conditions. There's often too little water. Sometimes there's too much. Or it's melting too fast. Etc. There's always something to keep the worrywart/whining class busy.

Saturday night a wheel and related mechanical parts were damaged on one of our cars when one of the drivers in our household hit a patch of solid ice and slid into a curb going about 10 mph. You'd be surprised how much it costs to repair something like that. Not enough to make an insurance claim, but an unexpected hit to the family budget anyway.

The storm had passed and the skies were clear when Sunday morning dawned. For the first time during this winter that I could remember we gazed out on deep blue sky and dazzling morning sunlight reflecting off the fresh snow. We usually have many days like this during an average winter, but the inversion haze kept it from happening much this season. As I looked out at the mountains and across the valley, my consternation of the previous evening melted away. I remembered some of the things that I love about northern Utah winters.

The snow clouds of early this morning vanished by mid morning and glorious sunlight again graced our valley, making the mountains look beautiful. I'm still tired of this winter. It has kind of worn me down. But there are things that I adore about northern Utah winters. We won't be moving anytime soon.

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