Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Iced in

On Thursday, a record-breaking winter storm swept through here and covered everything in ice. This is a very big deal for Texas. Unlike in colder states, there are no city-funded snowplows or other measures to deal with the problem. Lots of people found themselves iced into their own homes, myself included. To reiterate, the storm happened on Thursday. It's now Monday, and it's the first day I've been able to leave my house.

Things I did while being iced in:
Watched nine episodes of Star Trek: The Original Series that I hadn't seen before
Finished Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood
Finished Tomb Raider (2013) for the 3rd time
Played through the first half of Pokémon Ruby
Researched elven culture for a story I'm writing
Wrote more of said story
Listened to the Frozen soundtrack because of course

So yeah. Netflix, video games, and writing. That's about it. There really wasn't a whole lot else to do.
We didn't adequately prepare food supplies before the storm hit, so we ran out of most of our normal food. No bread, meat, or fruit. Towards the end, I had to get inventive. I cooked and ate a lot of popcorn (useful during Trek-watching). I learned to bake blueberry muffins.

When the sun finally peeked out for a few brief moments and temperatures got above freezing, I got to work on shoveling out the driveway. The problem was that the snow on the driveway had melted and re-frozen at some point over the weekend, forging itself into some kind of bizarre ice concrete. "Shoveling" was really more an act of breaking the ice, cracking it into flat slabs, lifting those slabs and throwing them onto the front lawn. And the ice didn't break easily. The concrete of the driveway warmed just enough to turn the bottom layer of the ice into sticky slush that wouldn't lift off the ground. So I was basically an ice harvester (it's a real thing; watch Frozen if you want to see) trying to break through a rock wall and pull out bricks that were glued down.

After an afternoon of shoveling (ice-picking? ice-battling? struggling?), I'd only finished half the driveway and I was exhausted. I went to bed that night and woke up late this morning, ready to get back at it. Either because I was (kinda) rested or because the ice and snow had melted even further, I was able to clear the rest of the driveway in an hour or so. And by "clear the driveway," I mean that I just barely made enough space for my mom's car to be able to get in and out of the garage. I actually left a bunch of ice near the sidewalk because I figured the car's inertia would carry it over that patch anyway. I was right, of course. It worked perfectly. PHYSICS.

Around noon, I left the house (SMEAGOL IS FREE!) to go get more anti-snow gear and a ton of food for the fridge.

First off, I headed to Home Depot for a new shovel and some de-icing salt for the sidewalk. They were completely out of everything I needed. Then I drove to Ace Hardware for the same items and found them in about 30 seconds.

Next I went to Kroger for groceries, but that proved problematic: apparently Kroger hadn't gotten many shipments in since the storm, so stock was low on lots of things. I bought what I could and headed for home, stopping at Chick-Fil-A for lunch. After I got home, I finished up the driveway-shoveling and went straight back out to Wal-Mart (they built a brand new one near our house) to finish the shopping. On my way back, I noticed that the car's left headlight was burned out. Since my mom drives to-and-from work in the dark both ways this time of year, that was kind of important. I didn't really have any choice other than to go back out AGAIN and get new headlights. I suppose mom could have gone out to get headlights, but... wait, no, there shouldn't be a but in that sentence. She just didn't want to.

So yes. I drove out to Autozone (because Wal-Mart didn't carry the headlights I wanted/needed), straight back near where I'd been earlier in the day. I got the headlights, replaced them in the Autozone parking lot, then grabbed a burger out (my payment from mother for my troubles) and came home.

When I got home, I logged into Facebook and saw that my weekly bible study / board games-playing group (kinda my only regular group of friends/peers at this point) was meeting at 7:30pm tonight. It was then 7:45, and I had literally JUST LEFT that general area. And I haven't seen my friends in... three weeks? Something like that. I'm bereaved. I could have left home AGAIN and gotten there 45 minutes late (which would have been fine), but I was so tired that I just had to shrug and forget about it.

I've had a day. Everything aches like crazy, and I feel like I need to do something tomorrow to relax. Maybe go see Frozen again.

(see, my theory is that if I reference Frozen three times or more, it'll Beetlejuice-style summon something Frozen-relate—AAAAAARUHGUH)

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