Sunday, February 24, 2013

Three States in an Hour

This past Saturday was so fun!  Two of my friends from college, Pete & Mary Ellen, came to visit me with their three daughters.  They live in Kennebunk, Maine.  I was thinking how fantastic it was of them to be willing to come all the way from Maine to Massachusetts just to spend an afternoon with me.

Now, it definitely WAS fantastic of them to come to spend an afternoon with me, but I learned that it only takes a tad more than an hour to get from there to here!  People, that's Maine (granted, the southern part), all of New Hampshire, and Massachusetts (granted, the northern part) in an hour.  Three states in an hour! 

So, in the time it takes to drive from Seattle to Portland, Oregon, a person could drive from Maine to Massachusetts, back again, and back again.  I'm not sure why anyone would try to do that, but the point is that they could!  It takes longer to drive from one end of King County, WA, than it does to drive through three states here!

Poor Pete & Mary Ellen.  Now that I know how short the drive is, I'll be showing up all the time.  Get ready, guys!

Small Town Life: Example 9

I was walking down the main street of Newburyport this past week (which, amazingly, is NOT called Main Street -- it's called State Street) when I saw a car in a street parking space that was running.  Not the parking space -- the car.  Anyway, I actually stopped in awe.  A running car!  With no one in it!  Not being stolen!

"Well," I thought, "it would be tough to steal a car right on the main street of Newburyport without anyone seeing."

But then, two nights later, I stopped at the 7-11 on my way home from somewhere, and someone left their car!  Running!  In the 7-11 parking lot!  When they weren't in it!  Just steps from the Interstate 95!

Yep, still haven't lost my paranoia.  I clearly haven't been here long enough.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Aaand Back to My Favorite Topic!

For my birthday, my lovely friend and coworker gave me these fantastic earrings:

Oh, yes.  One toilet earring and one toilet paper earring.  I LOVE them.  I have worn them every day, and everyone loves them!

Walkin' in a Winter Wonderland

Two days after our snowstorm, I took a walk downtown.  The walk down and back was full of peril and hilarity.

Walk with me...

The view of my house from across the street.

The view down my street.  Those barricades of snow on each side of the street?  Many of them were taller than me.

Most people had shoveled their sidewalks.  Many hadn't.  Most sidewalks had more of a tunnel-like vibe.  The problem was that I'd head down a sidewalk only to hit a dead end of three or four feet when the next person hadn't shoveled.  It had me backtracking, crossing the street, and walking in the street a good part of the time.

I think the snow was trying to mail itself to Hawaii.  It almost made it!

Oh, dear.  Some mean person left their bicycle to its own devices.  Not nice!

Ah, now this is more like the sidewalk tunnels I was walking through!

All of the fire hydrants were shoveled out.  Do you see that pole sticking up with red and white stripes?  All of the hydrants in Newburyport have those.  Since I moved here I've wondered what those are for.  Now I know -- locating hydrants so that they can be unearthed during big snows!

It's been fun walking around.  One picture I don't have but wish I had to show you is of intersections with stop signs.  Here in town, in addition to stop signs, they paint S T O P on the road.  Until just a day or so ago I could only see the S.  T O P were covered with snow.  The roads were plowed, but there was so much snow that there was nowhere to put it!  We've had warmer temperatures this week, so every day or two another letter shows up as the snows melt.  It's taking a long time.  The piles are just so deep, and everything freezes each night.  But we're chipping away at it!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Snow and Snow and Snow and Snow

I got my wish!  We got a big storm, and boy, did it snow!  Here are some pictures:

My car from the side...

...and from the back.  Car?  What car?

Shoveling and shoveling and shoveling!  I had a nice little moat around my car.  Also, I've shoveled around my car, but this is the first time I've ever shoveled my actual car!

And just for a little more perspective on how deep it is...

I'll be interested to see how this goes.  The plows go through pretty regularly and, of course, create mountains of snow at the end of everyone's driveways.  Then people shovel or snowplow (like these guys) and shoot it all back into the street.  Hm.

I am very glad I'm not going anywhere today!  Later, I plan to go out to my back deck to build a snowman.  I will post pictures!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

If a Tornado Strikes, Run to the...Bathroom?

Okay, clearly I am on a roll regarding bathroom, toilet and poop posts.  I shall continue the trend.

As I was in the St. Louis-Lambert Airport waiting to fly home from visiting my Grandma, I noticed that  all of the restrooms were labeled as Tornado Shelters.  (You may know that about two years ago a tornado hit the airport, blasting out a bunch of the windows.  It was awful, though no one was killed.  Missouri is in Tornado Alley.)

Now, this makes sense, I will admit.  There are no windows in the bathrooms, there is usually plenty of space, and if you are trapped there a long time, it would be handy to have toilets.

On the other hand, ew.  Granted, the restrooms at the airport were very clean and nice, but that doesn't mean I want to spend hours there.  Plus, during a tornado, would the idea of separate men's and women's restrooms be so ingrained into the public conscious that folks would scramble to get to the appropriate bathroom?  Maybe not.  Maybe the fear erases all of that.  I mean, you wouldn't want to split families up.

It's something to think about.


On a somewhat related note, I shall share a tornado story.  While I was in grad school at the University of Missouri-Columbia, tornado sirens went off frequently, due to the aforementioned Tornado Alley.

One semester I was in a cataloguing class taught by this great, but very hardcore, former-Soviet Union professor.  I didn't know much about her background, but I assume you become pretty tough if you grew up and lived in the Soviet Union.  (Plus, librarians have very liberal ideas -- not a good match for the Soviet Union.)

So one day we are in class, in a classroom that has one wall with floor-to-ceiling windows.  The tornado siren goes off, and all of us start scrambling to get into the hall.  This professor asks us where we think we're going.  We reply that the tornado siren is going off.  "So?" she replies.  Well, we explain, there is an entire wall of windows.  She tells us that if we feel we really need to leave, we can, but she is going to continue teaching, and won't repeat the information.  We will be reliant on our textbooks for that portion.  Almost everyone stayed.

Looking back, we really should have left for a safer area.  But if one is in a dangerous situation with a really tough person who doesn't appear to be bothered in the least, one tends to look at this person in awe and follow their example.

Granted, this could be why people do horrible things: like Nazis who just did whatever their superiors told them, even if it was monstrous.

But still, this professor was awesome.