Monday, February 7, 2011

Soft Fluffy White Stuff Rage!!!!

I really need to continue with the theme of yesterday's (2/6/11) post, because frankly, I've had it up to my full 5' 5" height with the amount of God's dandruff that has been dumped on the state of Connecticut for the past month and a half.

I. Hate. Snow.

I hate the way it falls. I hate the way it doesn't stick. I hate the way it accumulates. Most importantly though, I absolutely hate with every single middle-aged bone in my 5' 5" body how it turns supposedly intelligent appointed officials into gibbering idiots whenever more than three inches drops on us with a giant THUD.

Due to forty years of poor city planning, combined with a policy of being reactive, the capitol city of Hartford CT had declared a state of emergency because it has been unable for the past three weeks to intelligently clear the roads in that decaying city.

You would think that because of the amount of businesses, which includes the single largest employer in the state headquartered in the city, they would properly plow the streets so that traffic would flow smoothly, right?


Boy are you ever wrong.

Let me tell you something, when a city turns a four lane road into one and a half lanes due to inept plowing, what does that turn your commute into?

That's right, it turns your commute into 100% pure unadulterated H-E-DOUBLE TOOTHPICKS!

To quote Fire Marshal Bill, "Let me show you something!"

On the average, my normal 20 minute commute (morning or evening, it don't matter) is now about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Think I'm joking?

Example #1: during the last snowstorm that we got tagged with (on 2/2/11), this is what my morning drive was like. I drove into West Hartford from Newington until I got to the Parkville section of Hartford, before making a right turn and driving towards my ultimate destination of semi-downtown Hartford. Now I know the route I just described makes absolutely no sense to any of my readers outside of Connecticut, so here's the next best way of describing it.

Think about what your normal morning destination is. Think about how you normally get there from where you live (say east to west). Now, drive to your normal morning destination, only this time, instead of arriving from the usual direction, arrive from the other side (east to east).

That was my morning commute.

Example #2: I live south of where I work. For the most part, my evening commute has consisted of me driving northeast, I repeat, driving northeast and going home through Wethersfield. I did have one evening commute that wound up like I was taking two steps forward before taking three steps backwards and a half step sideways.

Example #3: This one is a biggie because this could only be described by that popular military phrase "clusterf#*k". This one happened to me this past Friday morning (2/4) as I was driving back from my friendly neighborhood mechanic where I had gotten my car fixed. Now, the drive from there to where I worked was relatively uneventful...until I got to about 3/4 of a mile away from my office. Then all hell broke loose.

I saw the traffic jam at the light up ahead, so I slowed down and pulled a U-turn. I drove back in the opposite direction for about a fifth of a mile before taking a right at traffic light. I proceeded to spend the next several minutes driving in a zig-zag fashion as I went up various side streets trying to dodge traffic. I made fantastic progress until I again I got to about 3/4 of a mile from my office, then traffic screeched to a halt.

I thought to myself, "Okay G, since you can't get there from the southern side of the city, let's try it from the central part of the city". So I cut down a side road and I made a right turn at the light. Seconds after making the turn, I saw a fire truck about a mile down the road. So I made a left and continue zig-zagging my way through the side streets.

I should point out that by this time I was some two miles away from my intended destination. Anyways, I battled through a few more super narrow unplowed streets and got to the main drag. The second I made that right turn, traffic was a major "clusterf##k" as you had cars parked on both sides of an unplowed road and two lanes of traffic trying to squeeze into one and a half lanes. So I found another unplowed side street and made a right turn down that. When I got to the stop sign, I banged another right until I got to the traffic light, then I took another right, then another left.

At this point, I was roughly parallel on the map with the assisted living center called Avery Heights, which is located about two and a half miles from where I live in Newington. What's this all mean? This means I was now about three and a half miles from my intended destination. Twenty minutes later, I finally got to my office.

What should have been a simple fifteen minute drive from one part of Hartford to the other turned into a 45 minute drive from hell in which I had driven a total of five extra miles out of my way in order to get to work.


For those of you who aren't from New England or New York, how's the weather out your way?


  1. Oh a typical damp grey but relatively mild day in the UK. Boring, but not dramatic.

    But...when we had snow, you would have thought the world had ended. This country does not cope well with snow. ButI have my Wrangler Jeep, so I smugly go where no man dares to go, without a care in the world. :D

  2. Well that sucks. Weather here is...rainy.

    A few years ago after a blizzard, the mayor of Portland actually admitted that they hadn't cleared streets because they ran out of money.

  3. *whispering* It's all good over here. Another six inches on the weekend and more to come. But our roads are pretty well ploughed so it's okay getting around. Sorry it isn't for you...

  4. Somehow I'm feeling so much better about my life now. :)

    We typically have benign winters in Georgia and it is like that now. Cold, but not bad. That's why we freak out when we have snow.

  5. I'm glad to live now in a place where we almost never deal with anything like this. Down here, even a good rain will screw up traffic for miles. Somebody will do something stupid. That's assured.

  6. Joe: I will take a damp grey day over snow anytime.

    We get the same hyperbole over here, where the mere thought of a snowstorm causes people to run out and buy 15 gallons of milk and 12 loaves of bread.

    But I will admint, I do enjoy driving in the snow. Even with the car I got (Oldsmobile Alero) and for most of the season crappy tires, I still was able to make it to work relatively on time and unscathed.

    R: Hartford declared a state of emergency last week because they did run out of money, so they put in a claim at our local Dept of Emergency Management. A lot of towns are running out of money. You just got to learn how to be creative in your bookkeeping so that you can keep your constituentcy happy.

    Talon: We're forecast to get another 2 to 4 inches tomorrow, but we should be missing a major storm that is now swinging out to sea.

    We did have mild temps today though.

    Lynn: I remember once working for a company that was based in Kentucky (they had a few stores in CT). One week they got socked with snow, couldn't plow because they had none, so I was forced to take a cash advance on my paycheck.

    I'd take a winter with temps in the 50's for the season over this slop any day of the week.

    Charles: Yeah, rain has a tendency to do that sometimes here. However, by far and away, snow is the #1 miscreant here.

    Rain is kind of cool. Makes you get creative with your thinking.

  7. Wow, that super-sucks. Not to rub road salt in the wound, but your tale of woe makes me appreciate the well-oiled machinery of snow clearing in Toronto. Snow plow parades hit the roads in organized convoys as soon as the accumulation is past a certain depth, and it doesn't take long before all the main streets are done. There are no lost lanes - that's unthinkable! Even the sidewalks get plowed by little Bobcat machines, at least along areas where home and business owners aren't responsible for doing so. Side streets get plowed last. The only time we couldn't handle the snow was in January of 1999 when there was such a dump the city called in the army to help clear it all, and by the end the snowbanks were 8 feet high.

  8. SR: I'm very impressed, and a little jealous. I wish more of our local towns and cities were like that. Seems like the only ones who might be in the same neighborhood is the state DOT. They do a pretty decent job of the highways, and during this current winter season, its the only roads I feel comfortable in driving on.

  9. Ugh... sorry for the horrible commute, G! I have to say I've been pretty impressed with Chicago so far -- they cleared the streets quite quickly after the blizzard last week. Street parking is still occasionally an issue, because of the drifts, but fortunately I don't need to park on the street very often. The biggest problem I've run into is the huge puddles of dirty slush that seem to accumulate at every intersection -- I need a better pair of boots for walking around. :)

    Hang in there -- spring is coming (eventually... :)).

  10. Lisa: Granted, some cities do a very good job with plowing, especially the ones who get socked with a lot of snow on a yearly basis. But there is no excuse for what Hartford does.

    The city is trying its darnedest to attract businesses and people, but if you're a business owner whose thinking about relocating to the city, the crappy job that Hartford is doing would make you think thrice about relocating to the city.

  11. Get ready, G. More snow tonight :)

  12. after SnowmaggedonEleven here in sw michigan, things are fine...

    i feel your pain, as usually our outtrastructure and infrastucture is Cf*d by any large snowstorm...

    fortunately the fear mongers and meteridiotologists projected the next ice age and everyone closed everything so our clearing crews did not have to plow around a bunch of idiots...

    normally it is a douchbaggery of epic porportions!

  13. Joanne: So I've heard, about 2-4. Right now, all I care about is not getting socked with snow on Thursday. I've rescheduled a dental appt three times already because of all the snowstorms that we've gotten hit with. Plus, I'm hoping that a friend of mine will join up with me and the wife for dinner on Sunday, and it hinges on no snow/little snow on Thursday.

    Bruce: Unreal. So far, we've had our esteemed governot issue a couple of truck bans on the interstates due to this wonderful winter season.

  14. Creative bookkeeping! Didn't they do that at Enron? :)

  15. r: Enron, Merrill Lynch, Waterbury CT, LA Kings, Conrad Black, Bernie Maddoff, it's all the same.

    Do what you gotta do to keep the payola flowing from pocket A to pocket B without pockets C, D and E knowing about it.

  16. I have only one issue with snow and that is the feel of it crunching under my feet. To me it is what fingernails on a chalk board are to others.

  17. Bearman: Interesting take on it. For me, I actually like crunch snow.

    I'm unstable when I walk to begin with, so any additional help that I can find while walking in the snow is greatly appreciated.

    Even if it soaks my boots to the bone.

  18. The weather here sucks, G. We're getting 12 to 14 inches tonight. But, it's the wind that makes it a killer. 40 mph winds.

  19. Mama Z: Yeah, I can see where that sucks. We got socked with that almost a month ago. Shut down the entire state and gave me an extra day off from work.

    We're still recovering from that one snowstorm and right now, we got well over two dozen buildings that have either partially or completely collapsed.

    Here's to praying that you don't lose power tonight.

  20. Sorry your commute is shot to hell. Our snow hasn't been too bad this week, just the ice has.

    I have a 7 mile drive to work, n most days that takes at least 35 minutes due to many sets of newly installed traffic lights at a new shopping center across from where I work.

    Sounds like you should park a mile away n walk, would be quicker! At least you didn't get axed for being late-

    The roof collapse thing is crazy scary! Over 150 MA bldgs have had collapses! Better believe I talked to the big boss to make sure the work roof was getting shoveled n the water drains cleared- still have leaks all over the factory tho-

    Now here comes an artic air blast-
    Stay warm G!

  21. Snaggle: It really has been an adventure, both driving to and from, and to be quite honest, I'm getting rather sick of it.

    The warm temperatures of the past few days, while melting some of the snow, also exposed how truly messed up the roads have become because of the snow.

    Gonna try to stay warm today and you too as well.

  22. Here in Ohio, we've had a terrible winter. Wave after wave of bitter cold and snow. Of course, the drunken philandering mayor of my city doesn't bother organizing any kind of coherent road-clearing scheme. And my new job requires me to help keep the sidewalks and parking lots of a 40 acre apartment complex clear. It's horrible. I hate Ohio, I hate its weather. Every year I hate it more. The only reason I stick around this hellhole is to be near my mother... when she passes I'm outta here.

  23. Gumby: So its safe to assume that you don't like Ohio? :D

    Yeah, driving can be an adventure when the roads aren't cleared properly.

    Right now, I'm sure the capitol is gearing up for a major round of car repair bills from car owners who had the unfortunate experience of driving on the now deeply infested pothole encrusted roads and damaging their cars in the process.

    Damn streets made me change my evening commute drive yet again. I really hate the fact that my twenty minute commute has now morphed into about 45-60 minute commute.


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