Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Archive for the ‘Snowstorm Update’ Category

Wisconsin’s Winter Weather Nightmare

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Folks, the weather here is brutal. I do not say this lightly.

Currently, it’s -13 F with a wind chill factor of -45 F. These are the worst conditions I’ve seen in thirty-plus years in any part of the Midwest — and considering I used to live in Nebraska, where it often gets colder than Wisconsin during the winter, that’s saying something.

Consider, please, that right now it’s warmer in Idaho than it is in Wisconsin. And that almost never happens.

This weather is not conducive toward much, I’m afraid. I’m trying to work, but am worried the power will go out. If it does, everyone in the outage area will be in deep trouble, as unlike our ancestors, we do not have wood-fired stoves or even pot-bellied stoves . . . we only have electric and gas stoves, which are much more dependent on external infrastructure than I like to contemplate under the circumstances.

Years ago, when I moved to Colorado with my ex-husband due to his military service, I was delighted to find that most Colorado apartments include fireplaces as a matter of course. That meant in a power outage, we’d not be in danger of cold. And even without a power outage, firelight is both calming and comforting, so it was definitely an excellent thing to have.

In Wisconsin, it’s very rare to find fireplaces included in apartments or homes unless you’re talking about someone very, very wealthy (which I’m not). But I’m betting many people — not just me — are wishing they had a fireplace right now, because the temperatures outside are so bad that everyone’s being advised to stay indoors unless absolutely necessary.

Now, what does this mean in practical terms? It means that I’m sitting inside a house that’s struggling to keep the temperature up high enough to sustain human life, along with nearly every other home and apartment in the Midwest. And the resulting power drain has to be straining the electric company’s ability to cope.

This is why the following sentence keeps coming to mind:


Written by Barb Caffrey

January 6, 2014 at 7:01 pm

Dug out, but . . . (today’s status report)

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Folks, Mom’s driveway is now mostly dug out.  I say “mostly” because while it was dug out enough to get my car out earlier, some of the snow fell back onto the driveway and I only barely got back in after I went to check on Dad earlier this evening.

Dad’s fine, by the way; shaken up, but fine, after yesterday’s ordeal.

As for what was stolen — three pieces of jewelry, one with a $9.99 K-mart sticker still attached.  (I really don’t know why the robbers took that.)  Two were set with good quality aquamarines, one ring and a matching necklace; the total value of what was stolen, replacement-cost, was about $150.

I’ve already talked with the police about this.  But I didn’t tell them the worst part — these creeps actually went through my late husband’s ashes, which I keep in a box.  Apparently they thought this was a good hiding place for jewelry or some such; bad enough that they went through every bag in my Dad’s house, all my clothes and books and personal possessions of all stripes, but they had to violate my late husband’s ashes, too?

Note that the only reason I didn’t bring this up was that the policeman was talking to me and my father.  I didn’t want him to feel worse than he already did.  But I will point it out in the near future, guaranteed.

I’m glad my father was not hurt and that all the things that I value greatly because Michael gave them to me, or they were Michael’s, are all there, intact.  (Michael’s ashes, though disturbed, were still intact as best I could discern.  But it’s really terrible these unprintable unprintables went through Michael’s ashes.)  I’m glad it’s no worse than it was.

But as far as I’m concerned, these creeps aren’t even good enough for Hell.

Written by Barb Caffrey

February 4, 2011 at 1:36 am

Status: Partially Dug Out

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It’s been a stressful few days here due to the tremendously bad snowstorm we experienced (that I alluded to in the previous post).   My Mom’s house suffered seven to eight foot drifts all the way up to both doors; yesterday all we could do is to clear the furnace vent (for safety’s sake) and get a little bit in front of both doors removed (mostly by throwing hot water on it, then using a broom to brush everything else off).

Mom’s friend Roy came over today and first made a path to the garage, then cleared a pathway in the back for the dogs to go out.  This took two hours.

We are still plowed in, and cannot leave, but it’s now possible for an emergency vehicle to get close enough to help — so it’s progress.  I’ll take it.

If you’re wondering why my Mom and I could not do any more than this, it’s because we are both considered disabled, walk with canes, and have substantial other health problems that make shoveling snow contraindicated.  We both had to figure out a solution to get to the furnace vent, then work very hard to clear enough snow off the back stoop (and down the wheelchair ramp) , and that’s all we were able to do with two hours of backbreaking work.

Mom just had another friend stop by, and he’s cleared a bit more, bless him.  He said he’ll try to come back later to do more.   (God bless him, and my Mom’s friend Roy, for help.)

I called my friends who live in the area and they were all snowbound, too — roads were impassable even when they were able to get out of their house, and many were drifted in as we were (with six to eight feet high drifts).

We suffered nearly two full feet of snowfall here, with extensive blowing and drifting.  But we didn’t lose power, we were able to clear the heating and dryer vents for safety, and we’ve been able to keep going.

But my father was robbed by con-men after he’d been out shoveling for several hours (his property line is bigger); he was unhurt and nothing of his was taken.   I’m grateful for this.

I have many things at Dad’s house and as far as he knows, my instruments, computers and other personal effects were undamaged but things were thrown around in major disarray.  He doesn’t know what might be missing, and obviously, I can’t get out to check on him.

I don’t want to call my father to ask for his help right now, partly because of the unconscionable, reprehensible people who robbed him, and partly because he’s older now and has a great deal of property of his own to clear first.  But once I can get out — and it does look likely I will be able to get out today — I’ll go to check on him, and in the process will inventory my belongings there and try to figure out what might need to be reported to the police as stolen.

I don’t like discussing all this, at all.  But I figured I’d let you know why my discussing other, worthy topics just isn’t there right now — we’re still in crisis mode around here.

Written by Barb Caffrey

February 3, 2011 at 1:39 pm

Posted in Snowstorm Update