The Blizzard of 09
Well, it looks like we'll survive.
The weatherdude forecast about 20 inches of snow, and that's about what we got... We've been snowed in since Wednesday (today's Sunday). Hopefully the snowplow will come soon -- we still can't get out.
Yesterday Dagmar and I were happily lazing around the house, enjoying the enforced idleness a snowstorm brings, when we heard an odd noise outside. Dagmar trotted to the nearest window. "It's de neighbor kid," she said in that neat Austrian accent of hers. "He's got dat snowyblowy machine. I think he's going to help us with our sidevalk!"
"That's cool," I said, "but if he's doing the sidewalk, who's this in our driveway?" It turns out the neighbor kid was going up and down the block getting the sidewalks, and the across-the-street-kiddycorner neighbor was playing with his new snowblower and decided to get our driveway for us. Way cool!
Dagmar and I grabbed our boots and shovels and went outside to (oddly enough) help the neighbors help us. Within an an hour and a half, maybe two hours, we'd managed to get the sidewalk cleared, the driveway tunneled out, and even backed the car a little ways down the driveway so we could shovel the hood of the car off. We'd also helped push the neighbor lady back into the alley where she parks her car (she was trying to go somewhere, but didn't make it more than five feet into the street before she got stuck).
We missed Christmas at the family farm today, sadly, as the snowplows haven't been through yet. I think by law they have to touch every street in town at least once by midnight tonight (at least that's what someone told me). I know they've been through the "rich" part of town three times already... I have to admit, I was a little upset when we walked Zoey-pup up the street yesterday and saw that they'd cleared a dead-end street with no businesses or houses on it, but not any of the other streets in our neighborhood. Go figger.
This is also about the time after a snowstorm that the news stations all announce that all citizens must have their sidewalks shoveled no later than 24 hours after the snow stopped falling. Unless, of course, you're a business or a government entity, for some reason (none of the stores or restaurants around here ever shovel their walks, nor does the city shovel the sidewalks on public property). It never fails to grump me out.
But in any case, Dagmar and I are both a little sad that our snow-vacation is coming to an end. Tomorrow she goes back to work, as do I. We've really enjoyed being snowed in, oddly enough... I do feel bad for the homeless people in the neighborhood, and the people who lived in the apartment building down the street that caught fire a few days ago. During the height of the storm I heard sirens nearly nonstop as emergency personnel responded to various crises (heart attacks, car accidents, rescuing people in SUV's who think they can go through five-foot snowdrifts), but my little family was safe and snug...
I've been mucking about with my blog's template this morning... I'm pretty happy with the result, OTHER than the fact that I've lost all my links to my friends' blogs. In order to get my blog to match the rest of www.radloffs.net I had to switch from a .xml to .html template, so I can't simply copy the code over like I'd hoped...
The REALLY sad part is that the only way I found many of my friends' blogs was by clicking on the links... In other words, I'm not sure how to find everyone's blogs again to enter them in manually. So, um, I hate to make y'all do this, but if you want your blog linked in my sidebar, please, please send me a link (either via e-mail or through the comments)... I apologize!
Just a few notes, randomly...
1. Apologies for not blogging lately. No excuse, just busy.
2. I am NOT happy with Great Southern Bank. My longtime bank, First Federal, recently changed its name to Vantus for no apparent reason. Shorly after that, they were bought out by Great Southern Bank, based not in my hometown, but rather in Kansas City. Not only are they adding more fees and service charges, a very confusing online banking system to replace a very intuitive system, a change to the schedule on when all our bills come out of the account (NOT a good thing!), but they also forced all their customers to replace debit and credit cards. The new cards are ugly, but I can live with that. They have new PIN numbers for us to learn, but I can live with that. What really bites is that they made all their customers "activate" the cards on the same day. So last Monday I had to troop down to the bank to get my new cards "activated" before I could use them. Of course it was well below zero outside, and of course the bank couldn't "activate" the cards indoors but rather made us all go stand outside at the ATM.
Now for the REALLY sucky part -- the new bank made a mistake and locked up all the business accounts. "That's okay," I said, "I'll just use my old card." Turns out they'd already arrogantly deactivated my old card -- leaving me with no way to access my business funds, pay bills, accept payments... My business is dead in the water, financially, until they get this straightened out. It's been nearly a full business week now, and I still can't access my funds.
As much as we enjoy the ladies at the local branch office (they're terrific to work with, personally) I can't afford to have this sort of thing happen. We're switching banks.
3. On the other end of the spectrum, I've had terrific experiences with the online print company VistaPrint lately. They've really gone out of their way to get orders to me on time, and when a customer did get an order late due to the blizzard, VistaPrint refunded the shipping costs without any question. I've also had good dealings with real-live print company Record Printing (I used to work there, so when I have a customer who needs something printed that Record Printing can do, I always recommend Record).
4. I highly encourage anyone whose insurance is denying coverage to send their bill to Senator Joe Lieberman (I-Diot), who is currently grandstanding, posturing, and greatly enjoying his moment in the limelight -- much to the dismay of the 70% of Americans who want Health Care Reform to pass.