The Great Snowmaggedon of 2013

Thursday the weather forecasters finally got it right.  We have been in a severe drought since last June, so there hasn’t been much for them to talk about.  It has been so bad that the mere suggestion of the possibility of precipitation has brought a flurry (no pun intended) of continuous weather reports.  Our weather forecasters were downright giddy throughout the day having successfully predicting the Great Snowmageddon of 2013.  It was touted as the biggest single day snowfall in decades.

They started predicting that the storm would arrive at midnight on Wednesday dropping one to two inches an hour.  We got up at 2:30 am and looked outside, no snow, what a disappointment.  We figured the weathermen got it wrong, again.  We would probably just get a dusting.  Well the snowflakes didn’t start to fall until about 7:00 am on Thursday long after we had been up and at work.  It snowed with a vengeance for about 5 hours coming down fast and furious. 

People were getting their cars stuck in the middle of the roads or sliding off the roads into ditches and just leaving their cars where they got stuck, causing huge traffic jams and wrecks.  It was as if a lot of people that have lived here for years had forgotten how to drive in the snow.  People over-estimated their ability and under-estimated the conditions.  It made for spectacular news coverage.  Nothing like a massive blizzard to give the media something to talk about.  The media had reporters out on the roadways taking pictures of snarled traffic throughout the city, interviewing stranded travelers and pretty much making nuisances of themselves, as usual.

We ended up with about nine inches of snow and in the process making tow trucks, body shops and car dealers very happy.  Business is booming for them.

Oh and Orso thinks the snow is pretty awesome!


There Are no Witnesses in the Dark

In the early predawn mornings when it’s still very dark, no one is awake to see what goes on during my walks with the two terrorists, aka Orso and Charlie.   Only the deer and raccoons are around to witness their antics.  I’m talking about them jerking me around, getting the leashes tangled up and charging at the nocturnal animals keeping my chiropractor in business.

It’s bad enough going on a walk in the dark and twisting an ankle stepping off the road into the ditch, which I have done on more than one occasion, causing me to wonder if I’m going to be able to walk home when I’m a mile away from the house.  No one else is around to see my gracelessness or help me if I get hurt.  It’s just the dogs and me.  I’ve even fallen over a giant boulder in the middle of the road.  I’m that graceful.  At least in the dark no one else is there to laugh at me.

Not today though.  After I got home from work this evening, I took the dogs on their afternoon walk which is when everyone is coming home from work.  The walk down to the dam was uneventful, a very pleasant stroll for the three of us.  The dogs were behaving themselves and enjoyed the romp at the dam.  On the return trip home we ran into a friend and his two dogs, which I used as a training session for Orso, working on his sudden aggression lunging at other dogs.  So far so good, Charlie was a champ and behaved perfectly and after a rough start Orso got into the moment and behaved very calmly walking back and forth in front of my friend and his dogs.  We almost looked like a Cesar Milan episode.

After the successful walk-by the dogs and I continued on our way home.  We had just rounded the second curve in the road when Charlie circled around behind me to pee on a bush causing me to try and whip the leash over my head and twist my arm around when Orso stepped back toward me.  I tripped over Orso and fell hard twisting my ankle and knee.  Right there in broad daylight for everyone to see.  As I sat there in the road feeling foolish, Orso came over to check on me and let me know he loves me even though I am the most graceless woman in the world.

There’s something to be said for walking in the dark.

Who or What is Out There?

I’m beginning to think that the simple act of walking the dogs at 4:30 in the morning is anything but solitary.  It seems every morning we run into some wandering critter.  I’m used to watching out for raccoons, opossums and deer.  On a few occasions, the dogs have heard or smelled something; I don’t know what, but something.  I never saw anything, but there have been a couple of times that the hair on the back of my neck has stood on end and my heartbeat started racing, but nothing concrete.  Just a feeling of trepidation or uneasiness.  Call it intuition, but I didn’t stick around to find out if I was just being silly.

The walk started off normally, Charlie walking back and forth, crossing behind me then getting the leash all tangled up in search of the exact right tree or bush to pee on, making me crazy.  I think he does this on purpose knowing how much I hate it and how much he hates being on the leash.  Charlie would much prefer to range loose chasing after whatever is out there.  Oh and his really favorite thing to do is to roll in something stinky and nasty, causing me to have to bathe him before I can get ready for work.  Those are the reasons the dogs now walk on a leash.  Sorry I digress.

The morning was cold with clear skies and a light breeze. The stars were twinkling and there was no moon, so it was pretty dark with shadows cast from the porch light glow of a few houses behind me.  I felt something, a presence, so I looked first at the dogs to check their behavior, but they acted as though nothing was out of place.  Then I scanned the darkness around us and listened intently for some sound that didn’t fit.  At first I didn’t see or hear anything unusual, but on a second sweep I noticed a shadowy shape up on the top of the hill.  It looked like a person just standing up on the hill not moving, just standing very still. 

I felt very naked in the predawn darkness, not knowing who or what it was.  I didn’t even know if the shape was facing toward me or away.  Was he looking at me or some other direction?  I reached back into my memory and tried to remember if the shape had always been there and I have just not noticed it before, but I couldn’t remember ever seeing it before.  I didn’t want to call out to the shape, one if it was a person and it was looking away, I didn’t want to call attention to us and two if it was looking at us, I didn’t want to antagonize it.  I stood frozen in one spot trying to get a better look at the form.  I still couldn’t get a better look and I had no intention of getting closer.  I looked down at the dogs but they were oblivious.  Maybe they hadn’t smelled him or maybe he didn’t smell.  I realized that I had been holding my breath and slowly let it out.

I decided that the smartest decision, maybe not the bravest choice, but definitely the safest option was to make ourselves scarce.  I quickly turned the dogs around and walked very briskly back the way we came.  I kept looking back over my shoulder all the way home making sure that we weren’t being followed.

I was totally unnerved by the time we made it back home, expecting any minute to have the bogeyman jump out of the underbrush and scare the bejesus out of me.  Then when nothing happened, I berated myself for being such a sissy. 

Tomorrow I’ll be paying more attention to my surroundings on the walk and check to see if the shape is still there or if it is someplace else.

It’s a Jungle Out There

Our predawn walk today was almost like a trip to the zoo.  Lions and tigers and bears oh my.  Well not quite lions and tigers and bears, but plenty of other wild animals crossed our path this morning.  I almost felt like Marlin Perkins. 

No sooner than we started off up the hill from the house did we run across a small herd of deer mingling in the neighbor’s yard.  Orso lunged forward with an extremely loud woof, startling the deer causing them to bolt and run up over the hill beyond us.  After I put my shoulder back in the socket we resumed our walk.  I had my fingers crossed inside my mittens that we were now going to be animal free.  Not so.  You would think that I would be used to being wrong all the time.

As we topped the hill and started down there was a very large opossum sauntering across the road without a care in the world.  Stupid opossum.  Both dogs charged down the hill toward the opossum with a five foot one and a half inch boat anchor in tow, me.  It took about fifteen steps before I could regain control and halt the charge, because now the opossum has seen the charging dogs and decided to play possum and faint.  Really stupid animal.  Just what I need, an unconscious wild animal, two dogs ready to eat the unconscious wild animal and with my luck the wild animal would wake up and decide to fight back.  With much tugging and pulling and a few choice words spoken softly so as not to rouse the sleeping opossum and the neighbors, I finally pulled them past the critter and moved on. 

We ran across no more animals on the way to the dam so I was becoming hopeful we would not see anything else.  Well almost right this time, but not quite.  At the dam, to the left of us was the lake and to the right is a park area complete with a shelter house, picnic table and grill.  Below the dam is a nice greenway that we take the dogs to and let them run and work off pent up energy.  Well this morning at the base of one of the two large Sycamore trees was a large raccoon hugging the base of the tree frozen and making no movement just watching us very alertly.  Luckily for me the wind was blowing across us from the left to the right, masking the raccoon’s scent.  The dogs had no idea that fifteen feet from us this raccoon was waiting and watching, ready to scurry up the tree if the need should arise.  As we walked past, I turned back and saw the raccoon walk across the road to the lake and disappear in the dark. 

Maybe I need to make a standing appointment with my chiropractor.