Stuck in the Blizzard With You (February 2, 2011)

Did you hear the news? The Midwest has been hit with the worst snowstorm in a bazillion years!!! In truth, it’s still pretty bad out there, but I think the phenomenon that sets this blizzard apart from the norm is the extremely high wind factor. Our power flickered briefly last night – fairly unusual for a condo building in the middle of a major metropolitan hub, but thankfully I was still able to finish my viewing of The Biggest Loser (while I consumed strawberry shortcake) unmolested.

Eddie and I are both telecommuting today. While neither of our offices is technically closed, King Daley and his outgoing minions have encouraged everyone to stay off the roads today if possible. You don’t have to tell most of us twice. That means my marriage has, for the moment, turned into a workplace situation comedy. I am plugging away on the desktop while Eddie sidles up to my left attempting to configure his laptop. Let the passive aggression begin. We have never really had the opportunity to watch each other work, and as we are both completely dependent on functional Internet service, pray that our wireless network holds up. As I write, he is standing over my shoulder critiquing. It’s going to be a long day.

However, we have the benefit of new vocabulary to keep our minds occupied should the tension grow too thick. Between the weather people and my Facebook community, I am now able to add three key terms to my verbal arsenal. Apparently “life threatening” snow is manna for the cultural creative process.

I. thundersnow

– noun
1. a winter phenomenon whereupon frozen precipitation is interspersed with the traditional rainfall effect of lightening and thunderclaps.

This one I had to see for myself. When I heard the meteorologists bandying this term about with giddy relish yesterday afternoon, I thought they might simply be trying to wish a new weather experience into reality. But it happened. Heavy drifts, blown about by 50 MPH winds, punctuated by fairly loud booms. And still the extreme right insists global warming is a myth. I kept waiting for John Cusack and Woody Harrelson to run across my rooftop as the pavement buckled.

II. snowmg

1. an emotional contraction, conveying one’s shock and awe at the power of nature’s wrath. Sample use: “SnowMG! That wind is stinging my forehead!”

I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised anymore at the way instant and text messaging have transformed our language into a network of cutesy, abbreviated phrasing. Still in an LMAO, BRB, IMO kind of world, this one is a bit much for me.

III. pancake ice
[pankake ise]

a form of ice that consists of round pieces with diameters ranging from a few inches to many feet, depending on the local conditions that affect ice formation.

Wikipedia has an entry for this definition dated October 14, 2010, so I can confirm the relative newness of the word. I have heard of black ice, thin ice and icebergs, but apparently those old terms just won’t do anymore. We are wanting a bit of creativity with our natural disasters. However, other than making me hungry, I fail to see what the addition of this descriptor to our lexicon contributes.

If you are one of the 100 million folks affected by this record breaking event’s power, I hope you are staying warm, dry and somewhat amused. Eddie is about to try making oatmeal from scratch. If the power does finally go out, perhaps a kitchen fire will provide the necessary heat.


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