The longest “short week” EVER

There were nearly a dozen people at the bus stop.

Someone wrote on Wednesday, “Is it Friday yet?” I wrote, “Nowhere near!” Why is it that a four-day work week, theoretically a “short week”, can feel so long?

TUESDAY: It wasn’t a short week for everyone. The techies have brought in brand-new computers the day before. They’re nice! I can now read the difference between the E and the R or the N and the M on the new keyboard.

And the computer itself is smaller than the router I have at home. Oh, it has no CD drive, which means I can’t play CDs on the compu… wait a minute, I left a CD in my old computer. Fortunately, I was able to retrieve it.

Naturally, I spend the day looking up passwords, having to recover more than a few, while listening to music I had downloaded.

WEDNESDAY: A bit of snow in Albany, but it didn’t look too bad out. Then my wife called me from work before I left to tell me that it was treacherously slippery out there.

I went to the bus stop and, uncharacteristically, there were nearly a dozen people there. The 7:50 #10 Western Avenue bus never came, I’m told. We all sardined into the 8:10. It is standing room only.

So why does this woman near the front have her purse on a seat? More than one person tried to get her attention to cede the space, but she was obliviously playing a video game on her phone.

Finally, someone tried to move the purse over, and this woman, who was relatively tiny, said in this loud, untiny voice, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?” The woman nearby asked about sitting, but the woman seated ranted for about 30 seconds about that her bag was heavy.

1. There was plenty of room under the seat, and 2. Other people weren’t taking up two seats, though they were carrying far larger items. Several people on the bus said very unkind things about this woman, even as we wished each other a good day.

Lest you think the problem was only on the bus, read Chuck Miller’s account about driving on the same day. By the time I finally got to work, there were troves of stories on the local news and Facebook of black ice and accidents everywhere in the region.

THURSDAY: Actually a decent day. I even rode my bike to work. But a storm was coming, so choir rehearsal was canceled.

It was only later that I realized that the DVR recorded NONE of the programming I had scheduled. Some I can see on-demand eventually but I hate missing JEOPARDY!

FRIDAY: Winter snow. My daughter’s school had a two-hour delay. My wife’s school was closed. This actually gave me the opportunity to pass on the #10, take the circuitous #138 bus, which, because there were no school kids on it, actually got me to work nearly on time.

Our intern, who was born in a warmer clime, was scheduled to arrive at 11 but didn’t arrive until 2; ah well.

TW3. It wasn’t THAT bad.

30 years ago: the 1987 snowstorm

Sunny weather, this foreign white stuff on the leafy trees.

Knick News.Oct 1987
Times Union, The (Albany, NY)
October 4, 1997
Author: MARK McGUIRE Staff writer

It was more than a storm; it was a touchstone. The Capital Region has endured its share of severe weather, from blizzards to severe windstorms to even the occasional tornado and hurricane. This one wasn’t even the worst.

Certainly more snow has fallen at one time than the 6 inches that came down on Albany on Oct. 4, 1987. But the damage it caused, and its totally unexpected fall arrival, left a mark on the region and its psyche.

Everyone had their stories about this freaky weather event. Here’s mine –

I was living in the West Hill section of Albany, on Second Street, between Ontario and Quail Streets. Since I was home on that Sunday morning, watching CBS Sunday Morning, I must have been having one of my periodic spats with the pastor [who is NO LONGER THERE]. Suddenly, the power went out, and immediately after I got outside, I could tell why. A branch on a tree landed on the power wire leading to my house was pulled out, fortunately along the side of the house so I wouldn’t accidentally get electrocuted.

Later that day, I walked to work at FantaCo, the comic book store where I worked, which, a dozen blocks away, never lost power. The weird thing about that storm is that lots of people never lost electricity at all, or only for a few minutes, while some people were without it for days, or even a couple weeks.

Sunday night, I stayed at a friend’s house.

Monday, walking to the store, there was this beautiful disconnect. Sunny weather, this foreign white stuff on the leafy trees. And steam – lots of steam. I remember thinking at the time that it had what I imagined was rather post-apocalyptic. I wish I had taken pictures, for I found it eerily beautiful.

I bought the local newspaper, which looked…different. The Times Union building on Wolf Road lost power because of the wet heavy snow, so the TU and sister paper The Knickerbocker News put out a joint newspaper out of the Troy offices of their rival, the Times Record (now the Record). It was in the Times Record fonts. I still have that newspaper, somewhere in the attic.

Monday night, I stayed at home. By then, I had put my perishable food in the snow outside, and fortunately, the gas stove was working, so I ate some of the food I had purchased only the day before the storm. I listened to TV via my battery-powered radio by candlelight. One revelation: the TV show Cagney and Lacey depends on visuals, as well as dialogue.

Tuesday, after work, I stayed with another friend, and Wednesday, after work, with the first friend.

Thursday after work, I was increasingly excited to see that the light at Central and Quail was finally working, and Clinton and Quail, and Second and Quail. YES! Power was restored to my house! My perishable food was ruined, since it had reached 70 degrees outside, but at least I could safely buy more.

The strange thing about this storm was that it was highly localized. Some of the surrounding area had more than a foot of snow and a federal disaster declaration was issued. Ask people in Syracuse or New York City about this storm and they have no idea.

EDIT: Oh, I got interviewed about this

{Reprinted from the October 4, 2007 post, lightly edited]

February 2017 weather rollercoaster

She was TICKED and rightly so.

It snowed – again – in Albany, NY in February 2017. It snowed so little last winter, and indeed this one (less than 17 inches to date by February 9) that when it actually took place, people were SHOCKED. They complained it was cold, in upstate New York, in winter; oh, please.

And they have forgotten how to shovel. If you do it frequently, it’s much easier. If you get down to the sidewalk level, then the pavement gets a chance to dry up. but if you don’t, the covering turns to ice, and it’s pain to walk on. And if you live on a corner lot, clear to the street in BOTH directions!

There were school closings and delays in the area on the 9th and the 13th. The latter in particular got on my nerves. I noticed that Albany schools had a two-hour delay, as did the school my wife teaches in, and I confirmed this at 6:30 a.m. on the Times Union newspaper website. I’m watching CBS News This Morning, which starts at 7, not particularly paying attention to the closing scrolling along the bottom. But I did happen to notice that Albany city schools were shown as CLOSED! What?

I ran upstairs to the laptop in the office and saw that I had an email from Albany SNN (School News Network) that the schools were indeed closed, posted at 7:08 a.m.! I also confirmed on the TU website. It was called SO late that, as I was out shoveling the walk, and my wife digging out the car, she saw a teacher at the Daughter’s old school who had not heard about the closing, only the delay. She was TICKED and rightly so.

There’s a basic arithmetic rule in my household that apply to snow days:
* If the Wife’s school delay/closing is greater than, or equal to, the Daughter’s school delay/closing, this is good.
* If the Wife’s school delay/closing is less than the Daughter’s school delay/closing, this is a PITA.

I rushed to work, took care of a couple must-do tasks, and less than two hours later was taking a bus home and taking 3/4 of a day “vacation.”

And after these two storms, which brought the seasonal total to a mere 41 inches (less than average), it got warm. The snow went away as the temperature reached the upper 60s (upper teens C), breaking a couple daily records, 69F on the 23rd, and 74F on the 24th (!) before going back to more seasonable temperatures. I even rode my bike to work work a couple days. (I need to – ouch – do that more often.)

April snow

The first time I wore boots in the winter of 2015-2016: April 5, 2016.
The first time I SHOULD have worn boots in that period: April 4, 2016, which ended up generating four inches, about 10 cm. I should have worn them mostly because people seem to have forgotten how to shovel snow. This includes, BTW, the building I work in. With temperatures hitting 70F (21C) in the past couple weeks, temperatures in the 20s F (just below zero C) is a shock to some.

But it was a non-event winter here, so I’m not complaining about a little April snow. It has snowed in Albany in April before Continue reading “April snow”

Winter 2015-2016

The one thing I hate about the metric system is that one gets to below zero WAY too easily.

snowI know winter 2015-2016 is not over yet, but I’m intrigued by it so far. It was 71F/22C on Albany on Christmas eve, a record. We didn’t even have any measurable snow until a few days later.

Remember that monster storm that slammed the East Coast in the latter part of January? It crippled Washington, DC, Virginia, and eastern Pennsylvania. Even New York City got a couple feet.

Do you know how much we got from that storm in Albany Continue reading “Winter 2015-2016”