Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Ice Ice Dallas

The last Sunday in January and I'm enjoying an afternoon in the pool with friends feeling very good about the "winters" in North Texas. I'd called to gently needle my family back in Maryland who were enduring yet another full white-out set of conditions. Some had temporarily lost power while the kids were enjoying the usual delayed openings at school. The Dallas area was enjoying a weekend with temperatures in the seventies and almost no winds.

How things change and quickly. It's Tuesday morning. All Monday night was the sound of gentle rain pattering against my window only with the soft click of tiny pieces of ice as if in a frozen sandstorm. Freezing rain and sleet purred and tinkled us to sleep across the area to wake up in the morning in a solid white wonderland coated in ice. The roads are covered, the medians full of spun out cars, the airports and schools are closed and I'm sitting at home with warnings from both local authorities and my employer not to venture out unless absolutely necessary.
Why move to or live in Dallas if Ol' Man Winter is only going to follow you down from up north?

The freaky thing about this storm is that it appears to have actually started here and stretched in a line over 2100 miles long in to New England. "Desert" states like Texas and Oklahoma are in various states of emergency with the real fun being that such states typically do not have the storm equipment or budget to deal with these so-called eventualities. Texas is infamous for using finely powdered sand to provide traction on the streets instead of salt. They say it preserves the roads where salt supposedly eats away at the asphalt. To me it has never been the salt but the snow removal trucks that routinely gouge canyons in the concrete; the roads in Dallas are about as bad as anywhere else in the country, sun or snow.

Highway architecture around here calls for soaring flyovers, some more than 150 feet above the ground at exchanges with names like "The High Five," the interchange between I-635 and US-75. There are several of these gorgeously elevated high-speed overpasses around Dallas and Ft. Worth and they are all closed. Motorists across the area that do manage or have to make it to work are left clogging surface arteries to find routes with the fewest bridges to get where they're going. Nobody wants to get stranded at the crest of a flyover but worse is the thought of crashing through one of the things - it is a very long way down.

The last time I looked out the window I went to clear some of the condensation for a better view and discovered that it was frozen - on the inside! I don't run the heat during the day when I'm at work - no kids, pets or plants to worry about so why pay the bill? I sit here in the cold now with a pair of sweats and thick socks with that same mindset...why pay the bill? My joints aren't stiff, I am not taking blood thinners and it is not completely uncomfortable yet so I should be able to stand it for a few hours out of one day in the winter season which, on the 1st day of February is pretty much almost over.

For Texas, anyway.

Gotta go!

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