Thursday, January 08, 2009

West Side Story

A quick one today. I went over to my friend’s house to play with our journals together. Enough being stuck in the house already. I brought salad and she had soup and two other members of our Spectrum study group came and it was big fun. We call ourselves the West Side Girls since we are all on the west side of town. Well, I’m one whole block west of the dividing street – my address says so. That counts! And everyone else is a whole lot further west, but that’s ok because There Is A Bus.

It’s a new one, the #33, that I can catch 3 long blocks from here and get off 4 short blocks from her house. It’s also good for Nana who loves this new bus best of all because it stops half a block from her house. If we wanted we could use it to get to each other’s house easily (though usually I get a ride with T-Man – Nana is his mom). And it takes her directly to the Skytrain so she can go shopping at the Big Mall and have lunch with Auntie 92 (soon to be 93). This city was always short on cross-town bus routes. Now it has one more. Yay!

The rain has been doing a pretty good job of melting some of the snow and the sun was shining this afternoon cheering folks up some after all the rain. But it’ll be quite some time yet before we’re snow-free around here. Judging by the slippery trip I had just getting to the main street, it’s going to get worse for pedestrians before it gets better. And the bus stops are “interesting”, shall we say. The one I used on the homeward run was a 3-foot deep well under the kiosk with a little trail dug out to the street so the bus had to stop in the middle of traffic to pick me up.

Which reminds me. I want to send a big juicy raspberry to my neighbours three doors down who, before they left town for a couple of weeks for the Holidays, shoveled the snow from their street parking up onto the sidewalk leaving nowhere else to walk but over a narrow slippery icy track a foot high. Then when they returned, they shoveled out their own walkway to the street leaving an even narrower precipice to try to balance on. Can you say “selfish” and “inconsiderate”? And they aren’t by any means the only ones who figure their parking space is more important than pedestrian safety. Pffftht!

The funniest thing to see though are all the items that folks are using to “protect” their hard-won parking spaces. Apparently after you work so hard to shovel it out, you need to put some combination of lawn chairs, boxes, clothes racks, bins and flower pots to save your space in case, heaven forefend, some Unauthorised Car Parks There! Bare spots are in short supply. In between each shoveled area is a huge pile of snow because there’s nowhere else to put it – unless you want to be like the Nasty Neighbours (whom I used to think were nice). These icebergs take up many places folks used to park in freely. Whatever is left is jealously guarded. Does this stuff happen in other cities that routinely get snow? Or is it just because we are so unused to these conditions? Inquiring minds want to know.

Normally Vancouverites wait the snow out. They peek out through the curtains as the first snow falls. The whole city comes to a screeching halt and the news carries reports of traffic problems and Skytrain delays and such. I mean, whoever heard of the Albion ferry not being able to cross the Fraser River because of ice jams? And of course, now we have flood warnings and roof collapses to go with the snow and ice. The sky is falling and Armageddon is at hand! Usually, the snow turns to rain within a day or a couple of days at most and then everything is back to its usual order and the grass is green and wet again. However, this time we had 3 blasted weeks of snow, snow, freezing, snow and more snow. Totally normal for most of the rest of the country but not here. Sadly we have no idea how to cope. The city went hugely over-budget on snow removal and salting and sanding and still never remotely did the job properly. Couldn’t we balance that off with the garbage and recycling not getting picked up for 3 weeks because the trucks couldn't get down the alleys? Don’t count on it. Different department. Different budget. Sheesh.

Well, this was going to be a quick one, until I got on a rant. Sorry about that. Hopefully we’ll be back to your regularly scheduled delight soon. Oh, and I forgot to mention that yesterday was St. Distaff’s Day or, as it’s known in my house, Rock Day. Go read Michelle’s wonderful post on spinning here.


Anonymous said...

Hi, Louisa.... we used to live in Chicago, and the chairs went out as soon as the snow was shoveled. I had never seen anything like it, as I have lived most of my life in the suburbs where you shovel your own driveway, and the town takes care of the street. Quite amazing!

Now I live in a New Jersey suburb of New York City. There's a parade every year on July 4th, and the lawn chairs start appearing on the curbs by July 1. I am always amazed that no one steals them, but there they are, every year!

Hope the narsty snow goes away and stays away from you. We are used to it here!

Barbara M.

Louisa said...

Thanks, Barbara! Nice to know we're at least as nuts as Chicago folks. Heh! Actually I heard about someone who didn't understand the chairs were there to mark parking spaces and she started collecting them for herself. "Oh look! We can furnish our cottage with these. How come there are so many and why are they in such good shape?" Until someone told her they weren't put out for the trash! LOL!!

Sharon in Surrey said...

I can see the Cabin Fever has you playing with anything & everything!! I've decided to take a Slab Pottery course at the local Art Centre when it's offered this spring. I've spent too much time with fibre & need to branch out!!! I'm actually thinking about plant pots already . . . it'll only be a couple of months till we can plant early veggies again!! Oh, & MY chairs are out all winter on the covered patio . . .

Louisa said...

You go, Sharon! I did slab pottery way back when my kids were little. Something to get out of the house with, you know? I liked it much better than wheel throwing but I'm really not much of a 3D kind of girl. Especially after the instructor burned all my pieces in the kiln because she wasn't paying attention! Can you say "burnt cookies"? Argh...