Monday, January 12


Pittsburgh is supposed to (finally) get what the Yinzers like to call some "weather." Lows are forecasted to hit zero later this week, and there's even a chance that there might finally be a little bit of snow in my yard. I'm all for the snow. If it's going to be cold, it might as well be snowing so that it's purdy, and if I want it to be hot all year round, I'll move to Mexico. GIVE ME SNOW AND COLD. I'll happily take ten feet of the fluffy stuff. (Snow loses it's magic slipper and becomes that nasty chick nobody wants on March 1st, just so we're clear. January? Snow is good. March? Snow is an ugly step-sister and needs to be banished to the cellar.)

Every time I say that I'll happily get ten feet of snow, somebody has to go and make the implication that I don't know how much of a pain ten feet of snow can be. Um, I grew up in North Dakota, yo. I know what snow looks like. Lots and lots of snow. The kind of snow that stays in twenty foot piles in a parking lot for months and months and months, until it's no longer purdy and white, but rather a dirty shade of black.

All this talk of potential snow got me thinking to the good ol' days (heh) . . . the days when school was never canceled, and as kids we used to PRAY that the school bus could plow through the drifts.


I went to a pretty rural school up until my sophomore year of high school, and we all rode the bus. Any time it would snow more than a couple of feet over night (anything less than that wasn't even worth acknowledging), all the kids in our neighborhood would suddenly unite into The Bus Team. We lived out in the sticks in a weird development smack dab in the middle of a wheat field, and our gravel road was shaped like a giant "P." The girl that lived at the bottom of the "P" was responsible for watching for the bus as it tried to make it from the highway to our 'hood, and then we would do the chain call thing to see just how far the bus would make it.

If it couldn't make it to the first girl's house, we were all PISSED. That meant we all had to walk, through the snow, all the way to the highway. We're talking a mile for me, and more for others. The bus driver would sit there and wait until everybody who called to say they were coming got there. (Now that I have a kid of my own, I TOTALLY understand why the parents were all "YOU ARE GOING TO SCHOOL" and didn't care that we had to walk through below zero wind chills to get there.)

If the bus made it to her house, but no further, we saved a good quarter mile of walking. It was good news.

If the bus made it to anything past her house, it was a win. With each twenty feet further along the "P" that bus managed to go, we all got a little happier. No matter how much we didn't like a kid who lived further up the road, we always hoped he or she would manage to avoid having to do the walk of horror through several feet of snow. It was weird how in the summer some of the boys would literally create a roadblock with their bikes and charge money to let us girls go down the road, but in the winter they would literally get out of the bus and push it so that it could get a little further up the same road.

So when Alexis one day whines that she can't go to school because there is an inch or so of white stuff on the ground, I won't be lying when I say I once pushed the school bus through four feet of fluff. It was uphill both ways, too.


  1. We have about a foot of snow now, and are expecting another 4-5 inches tonight (and more on Wednesday). I'm not telling you that to make you jealous of our snowy winterland goodness, no I'm not.

  2. I'm with Kim. We have a foot of snow and are expecting 6 inches more tonight and then 6 inches more on Wednesday and then even more on Friday...wanna push Hope's bus for me? :)

  3. OK, when I was a kiddo (on a farm in the middle of nowhere) we used to go out early and actually push snow into the street to try to stop the bus from getting through...
    My Mom approved of this behavior (I suppose she thought "anything to get them out of the house")
    You wonder why I'm nuts;O

  4. Damn straight on it needing to snow if it's going to be this cold.

    I distinctly remember walking to the next cross street down, one way or the other, because the bus couldn't make it up (or down) the first hill on our road. Multiple times.

    I also put my car in the ditch one morning, on my way in for a Saturday detention. In front of Kim's house (how cool is that? We even rode the same bus ;-) After walking the however many miles back to my house, calling a friend to pull it out, and then making my way to the school, I found out that they do indeed have snow days on Saturdays.

    That was totally off topic, now wasn't it?

  5. Drives me crazy when newscasts goes on and on about a few inches of snow.
    It's Pittbsurgh, its January. It snows in January. It should not be news.
    How about this past weekend when we were supposed to get the biggest snow since 2004......we got 2 damn inches.

    I went to college in Erie. We used to jump out of third floor windows into snowdrifts that didn't melt for months.

    I'm sure you had snow fences in N. Dakota. I've yet to see them in Pittsburgh. When they need to put them up, thats when they can report a snow storm.

    Oh, your daughter is so screwed when she tries to stay home from school becuase of weather.

  6. We've had a crap load of snow here and it's so cold that my pipes froze. I like the winter, but sure could use a break from it.

  7. @Eileen--Snow fences! I totally forgot about snow fences! Not sure how, considering that was an every Fall sort of chore, but that is definitely a good way of determining if snow is "real."

    You're right; I bet no born and raised Pittsburghers would even know what a snow fence looks like.

  8. We have 8 inches of the stuff. You can have it. This winter has been horrendous, although the first snow ball fight of the season always rocks.

  9. I swear its been YEARS since we've gotten anything significant in NJ. My poor kid is almost 3 and never truly played in the snow. And that makes me sad.

    Damn global warming.

    Or something.

  10. Ah, the good old days. We never got snow like that (there was that one year though...) but when school was closed here we went sledding on the road. That means THEY WERE IMPASSABLE BY CARS. Now if there's slush it's reason to delay.

    Pushing the bus is a new one on me. Kudos to you and your NoDak compadres.

  11. Anonymous9:10 AM

    I grew up in MI and it drives me nuts the way people around here turn into idiots on the roads at the first sign of a snowflake. C'mon people! It's just a little dusting!

    When I was 16 and got my driver's license, my parents made me drive myself to school (it was private and two districts away from my house). I can remember winter mornings where every other district surrounding my house was closed but mine was open so I had to brave the roads and go to school. I drove in some NASTY stuff - what we get around here is nothin'.

    And, yes, I do know what a snow fence is and looks like. :)

  12. Yow! North Dakota? That's hardcore, woman!

    Great story, and I hope you get your snow. Here in MD, we keep dodging the bullet. The most we've had this winter is a little bit of flurries and some ice. Trust me when I say, I'd rather have some fluffy stuff!

    Peace - D

  13. Born and raised western PA girl - and I have no idea what the heck a snow fence is. I DO know that what we've been getting for the last 10 years or so is nothing compared to what it was like when I was growing up. And my mother seems to forget that. If it's going to snow more than 2 inches she FREAKS OUT and worries if anyone has to go anywhere (like WORK). What is that all about?!?! It's not like we live in North CAROLINA, folks!

    And if you truly need a snow fix, drive on up to the Grove City Outlets...plenty of snow AND you get to shop!

  14. I hear ya. Not on the loving of snow and cold weather part though. We got 61 inches of snow in December alone. Ugh. Last night we got another 4 inches and the temps are dropping to -10. When is it summer again?

    Anyway, my folks lived about a mile from my k-8 school. I walked to and from school pretty much every day of my life. The only time I would get a ride is if it was pouring rain and lightening too. Or if the temps were below zero. Otherwise I'd walk. And I actually kind of liked it. I don't think enough kids do that anymore and it is one reason I will be sad to move from this house. It is only about 7 blocks from the boys' school. Ah well.

    Hope you got the snow and cold you wanted! :)

  15. I live in Bama and snow is a strange thing around these parts. If we get any snow, school closes up. We mainly get ice and that is NO fun!

    I am giving out an award and you got one, so come by and get it when you get a chance.

  16. How much do I love that you have an actual "when I was your age I..." story, one that is based in fact and not in some old grandfather's musty revisionist memory. That is awesome.

  17. It's amazing how much we were NOT coddled when we were younger. I remember wading through a few feet of snow easily. Schools did not shut down at the mere suggestion of snow. I agree come March snow is nothing short of a very dirty word. (Hugs)Indigo

  18. @JenniferC--I have already caught myself threatening Alexis that I will make her go live in North Dakota if she doesn't shape up. Doesn't seem to phase her, but Mr. Husband sure does speak up quick (he was stationed there in the Air Force for a few years--he KNOWS how major that threat is).

  19. YOU CAN HAVE IT! I've had enough already!

  20. My Sweetie grew up just inside the "Lake Erie" snow effect line in Meadville, PA. He calls me (and our school district) a bunch of wusses for the snow day cancellations they have.

    My sister moved to Maryland, where they go batshit at flurries.

    He never pushed a school bus though.

  21. I remember my bus going off the road one day when I was in like 3rd grade! There was a lot of snow! And living in the middle of a valley? Yeah...I literally went uphill both ways to get anywhere. Ahhhh. Those were the days.

  22. You would threaten to move her to ND? You mean mom. And, I love that you're going to pull that "when i was a kid..." line. So very Burgh.

  23. I'm with you, man. I love the snow ... except in March. March is THE WORST MONTH. It's still cold and horrible, but generally there's little (if any) snow. And you SO want it to be spring by then but it's just NOT spring. March BLOWS.

  24. I love snow too! Unfortunately, having recently relocated to CT and worst, the rich part, no one seems to know how to drive their $60K SUVs in the snow making them all a hazard to my little Accord. Sigh....

  25. You must crack up now when school is canceled for 4 inches of snow.