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Snowed In – Part II

By breaking news, conversations, drama, extreme sports, food, games, hazards to my well-being, new jersey, trains/train stations, weather, you might learn something 12 Comments

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This was the view out my window when I woke up yesterday morning. Um. Yeah.

Hold on, let me back up. On Sunday night, my dad and my brother took a train to the…wait. Further than that.

One of the gifts my mom gave my dad and my brother for Christmas was a night stuck in a snow drift near Monmouth University pair of Devils tickets for Sunday night. As the predicted 10 inches (that’s nothing up here!) of snow began to pile up Sunday evening, they drove five minutes up the road to the train station and headed up to the game. I was reading a magazine when they left, but the last thing I heard Stephen say was, “I’m 25, and I care what my hair looks like! I’m not wearing a hat!” Um, okay.

The first plow came through our neighborhood around 8:30 that night, and as the hockey game drew to a close on TV, my mom headed out in the blizzard to shovel a path up the driveway for my dad and my brother to get in. I guess that’s when she noticed there was about two feet of snow in the road. In. The. Road.

We tried to call them and tell them to find someplace to stay in Newark, but they responded with something along the lines of, “We’re two grown men. We can figure it out.” Click.

If you haven’t grasped this by now, it doesn’t matter what kind of car you’re driving, whether it be a Hummer or a front loader — you cannot drive through two feet of snow.

So, they got stuck. They got off the train around midnight, and by 2:00 a.m., they called to let us know that they were stuck with a bunch of other cars near Monmouth University. “We’ve got a full tank of gas and heat, so we’re going to wait it out,” Stephen said.

“Tell them to keep both tailpipes clear,” my mom said.

“Mommy says keep both tailpipes clear, so you don’t die of carbon monoxide poisoning,” I said.

“Okay, but my phone is dying, so stop calling me.”

By this point, I hope you’ve already learned three things:

1. Don’t drive in the snow if you don’t need to. Ten inches can turn into 30 pretty quickly.

2. If you do get stuck in the snow, crack a window and check the tailpipe.

3. Who the f— leaves the house in a blizzard with a dead phone? Don’t do that either.

Anyway. So, back to the photo up top there. That’s what I woke up to around 7:00 a.m. on Monday. Still hadn’t heard from my dad and Stephen, so we were getting a little worried. We waited around watching the news until about 9:30. Stuff about abandoned cars on the Parkway, busses stuck, people stranded on airplanes and subway trains, women giving birth in SUVs…the works.

Then the phone rang. “OPEN THE BACK DOOR!” It was Stephen.

He had somehow managed to work his way through a quarter mile of waist-high snow to walk home. WTF?

Apparently, they were towed from where they were stuck because they were in the way of an ambulance. They managed to get the car to the West Long Branch fire station, where my dad stayed with my car, and my brother decided to make a break for it.

My mom opened the back door. “Holy sh*t,” I said. “That is f-ing deep.”

“You have to go around the front, Stephen,” my mom yelled to him.

“I can’t! I’m exhausted. Call daddy, and tell him not to try to walk here. He’ll never make it!”

RESCUE MISSION!

No, seriously. We had to f-ing dig him out. Like we had to bundle up and use shovels to dig ourselves out of the garage and around the side of the house out to the pool to make a path for him to get into the house. No joke.

See?

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Anyway, so Stephen got home. My dad, on the other hand, had to stay with the car in case the fire station got a call, at which point he would need to move it out of the way to make room for the trucks to get out.

We hung around the house all day, eating all kinds of junk food, playing Wii games like Boggle, Sorry and Yahtzee, taking naps, shopping online, and various other boring things that people do when they’re stuck in a blizzard. I can say it was still a blizzard on Monday afternoon because The Weather Channel said so the wind gusts were still exceeding 40 MPH, so even though the snow wasn’t falling, it sure didn’t look very pleasant outside.

By 3:30, we were bored out of our minds and feeling a little bad for my dad, who was still stuck at the firehouse. We hadn’t seen or heard a plow all day, and we figured he’d be spending the night there. We decided to take action and hatched a plan to bring him some supplies and food. We packed up some overnight essentials (toothbrush, pajama pants, slippers) and luxuries (blanket, meatballs, A Salty Piece of Land by Jimmy Buffett) and got ready to shovel.

You can see the flags flying at the firehouse from our window. See them?

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The problem is that a very high fence runs all along the side of this property to the road, so you have to go around. We figured we could just start digging where our path to the pool left off. Except that didn’t work out because the wind completely filled it in. So it goes.

We started shoveling.

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I thought we made it pretty far, but…after about an hour, we were losing light, losing steam, and not even halfway there. Epic fail.

It was a valiant attempt, though. I mean, look at this mess.

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A phone call ensued.

Dad: “Hello?”

Lisa: “Hi. So, we tried to dig our way to the firehouse to bring you slippers and meatballs, but we didn’t make it.”

Dad: “I told you not to do that.”

Lisa: “I know, but we were pretty bored, so we figured we’d give it a shot. We at least have a really funny video for you to watch if you ever make it home, but don’t expect me to help you shovel anything tomorrow because I’m already pretty sore. Have a good night at the firehouse.”

Dad: “I will.”

I unpacked the supplies and ate one of the sandwiches I made for my dad. My brother and I watched Russell Brand in New York City and Zack Galifianakis Live at The Purple Onion, and then I went to bed.

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Remember Christmas morning as a kid? You were so overcome with excitement that as soon as you woke up, you just leaped out of bed and ran for the presents? That’s what I felt like when I heard the sound of a plow outside my window this morning. (Except I was pretty sore from shoveling, so my leap was more like a hoist.)

My dad was down there, too. He managed to walk home on the road once the plow came.

I use the term “plow” quite loosely here. There was some action resembling “plowing” going on down there, but in all honesty, the guy barely made a dent. He said he’d be back by the end of the day with a front loader, and he left his snow blowers for us to borrow. (It’s 10:30 p.m. as I write this, and he’s not back yet.)

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We spent the morning walking around outside saying, “Look how deep it is” and “That’s so much snow!” Broken record much?

I’m hoping to one day make it back to Virginia Beach. My Christmas long weekend has morphed into an extended week-long vacation, only I don’t feel like I’m on vacation. More like I’m grounded. And I know for a fact I’m too old to be grounded.

So, by this point, if you’re still reading this, I’m assuming you’re snowed in, too.

Good luck with that.

This crazy trip has got me feelin’: trapped
And I’m singin’ along to: Winter Wonderland – Jason Mraz

Snowed In

By breaking news, hazards to my well-being, holiday fun, new jersey, weather One Comment

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Baby, I’m not driving my car anywhere because I am snowed in. It figures the first year I actually drive to New Jersey for Christmas, rather than fly, we get dumped on. I was scheduled to drive back down to Virginia Beach tomorrow, but now I’m scheduled to sleep in and eat more Christmas cookies for breakfast.

Although, look at the bright side. My flight would have been canceled anyway.

Do you ever feel like these weather headlines get a little out of control? “Snow totals build as blizzard rages.” That’s what the Asbury Park Press says.

Rages? I’m not sure if that’s how I would describe it. I mean, if anything, I would say this snowstorm is a little lethargic. It’s just kind of moseying its way up the coast, dumping two to four inches per hour on our heads, but there isn’t much about it that’s raging, per se. If anything, it’s quite quiet and peaceful outside, save for the occasional 41 MPH gust of wind.

Being stuck three states away from home isn’t so bad. I’m pretty sure there’s more snow in Virginia Beach than there is here. Although there’s a good chance that could change by morning — I’m looking out the window, and I’d have to say we’re at about 12 to 14 inches and counting based on what’s piled up on the table outside.

The most entertaining part of this storm was conning my mom into taking pictures with the timer out of the back of her SUV after we stopped at FoodTown on the way home this afternoon.

My dad and my brother headed up to Newark this evening to the Devils game. Waiting with baited breath for their dramatic entrance because I’m pretty sure they’re going to have some trouble navigating through the foot of snow on our street.

Hope you’re enjoying the storm!

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This crazy trip has got me feelin’: content
And I’m singin’ along to: Frosty the Snowman

High Flying, Annoyed

By airplanes/airports, breaking news, drama, financial wisdom, hazards to my well-being, lists, mortgage No Comments

Today, my mortgage company practically forced me to call Quicken Loans to discuss refinance options. I figured just doing what they said might be less of a waste of time than listening to their awful hold music for one more second, so I called. A customer service rep answered the phone, took down some of my information, and then explained why all of the options LBPS told me to ask about wouldn’t work.

“I know,” I said. “But they made me call.”

I then proceeded to ask a series of questions beginning with phrases like, Correct me if I’m wrong but and And isn’t it also true that and But those programs won’t help me because, to which the customer service rep responded, “Whoa. You know more about mortgages than anyone that even works here.”

Well, duh. That’s why I keep having to call you loony tunes over and over in the first place.

Moving on.

My friend told me this afternoon that a notification light was flashing on her dash, suggesting that she had a light bulb out. I told her I’d look around the car when we left work tonight, and she said, “It’s okay. My husband already looked. There aren’t any lights out.”

And I said, “I’ll look anyway. I’m smarter than him.” I found the busted light after one tap on the brakes.

In the meantime, it’s become evident that in their ongoing quest to improve the security at major airports, the U.S. government has taken up practices like sexual assault, nude photography, pedophilia, and might I say mildly terrorizing the general public before allowing them to board a plane. Perhaps their reasoning is that if more people are unwilling to fly at all, terrorists will be less likely to target planes?

I understand where they’re coming from but, here’s the thing. Whereas, no one was making much of a scene about avoiding air travel after that moron boarded a plane with explosives in his underpants last year, now people don’t want to fly because they don’t want Joe Schmoe TSA employee touching their “junk” or comparing the outline of their practically naked image to the next passenger’s. Nice.

In all honesty, I’m trying to be satirical here, but don’t take any of this too seriously because I haven’t formulated my complete opinion on this topic yet. I’m not really sure how I’ll cope with these changes in airport security procedures, and I’m going to put off figuring it out for as long as possible. I’ll tell you why.

1. I don’t want to be standing in line at security behind the belligerent idiot who won’t cooperate. I consider myself a pretty well-traveled person. I fly more than the average American in any given year, but the next time I’m scheduled to travel is around Christmas…along with a whole bunch of people who never fly. I’m simply not interested in navigating my way through the battle of the aggressive security personnel versus the defensive passengers. Not this year, anyway.

2. I don’t want to become the belligerent idiot who won’t cooperate. This is highly unlikely, but always possible. I never thought I’d smack a Russian bouncer upside the head at Lunasea for forcefully grabbing (and bruising!) my arm, but that happened once, so I can’t make any promises.

3. I don’t know if you know this or not, but it’s a pretty well-known fact (to me and my mom, anyway) that I am destined to become disgustingly rich and famous, and I don’t want to become the future victim of blackmail when some psychotic, disgruntled TSA employee threatens to¬† leak my body scan image online. (Yeah, they say they’re deleting them, but I’ve seen my boyfriend recover deleted images off my camera, so I don’t buy it. Besides, are you trying to tell me that if there is another underwear bomber, they won’t go back and review his body scan image to see what they missed?) I’ll be much hotter then, and I won’t want people mocking the naked-ish image of me in 2010. It’s true.

4. (This is the main reason.) I don’t want to get arrested (which I probably will — for punching that pat-down person in the face — because I don’t even let my co-workers hug me, much less allow strangers to stick their fingers down the waistband of my pants).

I guess what it really comes down to is this — if I have to choose between posing for nude photographs or being molested at the airport this holiday season, then I guess I just choose to drive home to New Jersey for Christmas. Sorry, Continental. It’s Wawa that will be profiting off of me this year.

Finally, in other less pressing and far more entertaining news, a mysterious blob was discovered in Newport News.

P.S. When I do become disgustingly rich and famous, I’ll just buy my own plane, and then this won’t be an issue.

This crazy trip has got me feelin’: grounded
And I’m singin’ along to: Like A G6 – Far East Movement

AP Stylebook Faux Pas

By breaking news, conversations, political views One Comment

Lisa: "Why is this dumb newspaper referring to the president of the United States as ‘Mr. Obama’?"

J: "What newspaper?"

Lisa: (Scrolls to the top of the page.) "The New York Times."

I bet the AP Stylebook would also be pretty upset with me if I were a journalist and I broadcast my personal opinion about people who are responsible for oil spills. I think someone who is responsible for an oil spill should be taken up in a helicopter over the body of water that person has played a part in destroying, wearing extremely flammable clothing, set on fire, and pushed out the side to plummet to the surface and drown in his mess. Just a thought.

Unfortunately, it’s not as easy to blame one person for causing an oil spill as it is for blaming one person for, say, creating some pathetic excuse for a car bomb out of gasoline and fertilizer, wasting the time (and money) of an entire city’s law enforcement officials. Perhaps we could toss that person into the oil spill instead.

In the meantime, Facebook is trying to make me publicly endorse stupid television shows, hobbies, former places of employment and my hometown in one of it’s never-ending attempts to become profitable.

Idiots.

Thoughts on Pollen

By breaking news, hazards to my well-being, not ruling at life 2 Comments

All the trees in the region made a group decision to kick off the 2010 reproductive season, and they’re spreading some sick botanical version of an STD all over everything. Keep it in your pants, trees! No one wants to see your disgusting yellow rash of germination powder on their cars, their outdoor furniture or their person. Especially me. Keep your sneeze-inducing, cough-producing, allergenic pollen out of my face.