The Snow Plow Woes
Last year was unusually mild which makes people even crabbier this year. We broke a record in November for our snowfall but the way people carry on, you'd think that the end of the world is near. With budget cuts facing every city, we have been placed on two level of emergencies. Stage 1 is after 4 inches of snow, the main arterials are plowed. Stage 2 means side streets are plowed after 6 inches of snowfall. But because the snow came pretty much all at once, the levels of emergency were pretty much thrown out the window.
Now it's more like "We'll get there when we get there."
And even when they get there, people complain. Oh, it's a pain alright when you've just finished digging out your front sidewalk on a main road when the snow plow comes and buries it with deep frozen snow boulders that will only have to wait until spring to disappear. If you really want to tick off a Spokanite, plow past their driveway or alley entrance and leave a berm so big that they are trapped, either in or out of their home. That seems to be what most of the fuss is about. The 'Letters to the Editor' section in the paper are filled with complaints about the city and their snow removal practices. The old-timers, my husband included, remember a time when snow blades were raised to accommodate the driveways. Mr. Kden thinks he can just make a call to the city and they are going to bend over backwards to give him special attention. How embarrassing.
Parents are upset because the school district is not having snow days. They complain about the bus routes and that they don't want their babies standing outside to catch the bus. I admit, we are quite spoiled about having our daughter live right across the street from her high school. But even when weather was bad during her stint in Jr. High, I drove her. I'd go warm up the car and a neighbor girl would always show up for a ride. She said once that her dad said "Better them than us giving you a ride, it saves us gas money." I started leaving 5 minutes early from then on.
We live in the Inland Northwest people, just grab a shovel and get busy. No one is being picked on or immune to the problem, it affects everyone. Sure, sometimes you just can't get out and hopefully you have an understanding boss. I really don't mind shoveling, unless it's really wet and heavy. It's kind of relaxing, the rhythm of it all; scoop, lift, throw. It's great exercise and Nellie can run around the yard and blow off some steam too. I lost 2 pounds in 2 days from my last shoveling stint. Even our daughter volunteered to help, even though she's looking like she doesn't enjoy it.
I must say one thing that does bug me. Everyone in our block and the block behind us uses the alley to access their garages. Our end is on a hill so its imperative that the end is cleaned and maintained so I can get up the hill. We are usually the first ones out and although it takes awhile for others to join in, it is kept pretty cleaned out. With the exception of two guys that live directly behind us (and the same father that sent his kid over for a ride). I don't think they get out at all during the winter or even own a shovel. They're healthy capable men but rarely will they shovel a sidewalk. They sent my husband 5 bucks a few years ago for all of his hard work on keeping the alley clean. Uh, thanks I guess.
Sure, winters can be rough around here. But they are necessary to keep out mountains full so we have water the next summer. It won't last, you will live through it. And next summer we'll be complaining about how hot it is. But at least we won't be able to blame the city although I'm sure some will try.