Earthquakes: Still better than crappy weather

RealWeather-NonChronI was born and raised in California. I’ve lived through my fair share of earthquakes both large and small…mostly small. Still, after living in the Midwest for almost a year and a half, I prefer to take my chances with an earthquake rather than a blizzard or thunderstorm. Why? Because in the scheme of things big, disruptive earthquakes are a rarity.

Note: Earthquakes DO NOT HAVE SEASONS

Sure this list of earthquakes on the Sacramento Bee’s website looks frighteningly long, but most of those quakes no one even remembers. A 3.0 quake is not historic. It’s a tiny earth fart. An earthquake off the coast is almost like it didn’t happen.

Dumb lists aside, a decent size quake only happens once every 25 to 50 years or so in an area that causes fatalities or even a decent amount of damage. By damage I don’t mean bottles knocked to the ground off shelves, I mean structural integrity of roads and bridges compromised.

In fact, with the advent of stricter building codes, advances in engineering methods, and better preparedness, an earthquake under 6.0 is really not a big deal.

Most of the preparedness is common sense. Don’t hang anything over your bed. Don’t hang anything over where you might be sitting or laying down. Have fresh batteries in your home in case the power goes out. Make sure bookcases are either secured to the wall or if they fall over aren’t going to smash you. Some people will even install baby locks on upper cabinets not because they have little ones, but because they know the doors will stay closed when the shaking starts. I’ve even seen special shelf liner that is supposed to help keep glassware from being knocked over.

Growing up, any time there was a minor earthquake, the local media would remind everyone what to do in case a big one hit. I used to think it was dumb to constantly remind everyone how to be safe whenever a 3.0 shook some random town in the middle of the coastal range, but after reading my Facebook feed this morning after the Napa quake, I now understand why they do it.

Many people move to California and don’t know what to do in the event of an earthquake. They didn’t grow up with the knowledge pounded into their brains like I did. I take this knowledge for granted, but I’m glad that I know it. Why? Because of this knowledge, earthquakes don’t scare me as much as having to drive on icy roads with a bunch of idiots. That happens every freaking year for months at a time!

Minnesota: The land of never ending winter?

MinnesotaWinterHumorYesterday, I had a mental breakdown. The drive home was so frightening that the moment I saw Paul, I burst into tears.  I was so happy to be alive and needed to relieve the pent up stress from white knuckle driving through downtown Minneapolis.

Honestly, why do you people live here? Do you not know California exists? I kept thinking to myself, “Why am I putting myself through this? Why is anyone driving? This is so dangerous.”

My first winter driving in slick conditions and it’s one of the worst the locals can remember. Also, I just hate driving in general.  Icy roads exacerbate my fears. It’s not the roads that scare me; it’s other people.  People are stupid and they drive.

Did I mention a bus slid past my car? Yes. A. Bus. A few inches to the right and I might not be writing this blog post.

So, my Beetle has to navigate along icy streets while I pray idiots in vehicles of varying size don’t kill me.

You know how people drive when it’s sunny and warm?  They do that when it’s -1 and icy snow is compacted beneath their tires.

Do you see that top photo?  That’s what the streets looked like last Saturday.  They still look like that on Tuesday.

I’ve reached my breaking point with this weather.  I worked from home today because I just couldn’t bring myself to get into the car.  I could feel a panic attack welling up inside me as I laid in bed trying to will myself to get out of it.

This craptastic weather is supposed to last for another week or two. Can someone please help me maintain my sanity?  I’ve thought about seeing a therapist, but I have a feeling it would go much like Sheldon talking to Leonard trying to overcome his stage fright. I would not be impressed.

The one and only time I’ve ever gone to a therapist, I remember thinking, “So, I’m not screwed up. This lady is pretty much giving me the same advice I’ve heard from my parents and my friends. I’m done here.”

I think my problem really stems from an overload of stress.  This winter is HIGHLY stressful to everyone.  Add to that planning a wedding, which I’m excited about, but is a stressor nonetheless.

Tomorrow the forecast is supposed to be god-awful again and driving conditions around the Twin Cities are not going to be improving. Paul’s class was canceled tonight “due to the impending weather” as he put it.

So, will winter ever end or have we entered another ice age?

Be back soon: Gone winter crazy

My first winter in Minnesota and it’s awful. Honestly, do you people know California exists? I now understand why people thought I was nuts for moving here.  Love does make you do crazy things.

I mean what the hell, Minnesota? Getting to the grocery store is a freaking chore. I’m not used to having my movements so restricted. I used to be annoyed by the rain.  What a fool I was.

The thought of going out to dinner exhausts me. Do you know how much effort that will take?

I’m tired of having to wear 5 layers of clothing just to ensure one of my extremities doesn’t fall off while getting out of the car. I’m tired of worrying that the oil in my car might be too frozen for it to turn on after a day of work. I’m tired of seeing the Wind Chill Advisory and a temperature well below zero as the high…THE HIGH!

When I was getting ready to move out here, I was worried about road conditions. Someone made a flippant comment about it not being the 1800s and not driving a wagon.

Um, dude. You have NO idea.

Snow blowing across the road makes me cringe. Ice on the road is frightening. I know now just how stupid people are in their cars.

My poor car has taken one hell of a beating….Not from the snow, but from the horrible potholes riddled throughout the streets of Saint Paul and even Minneapolis.  Sorry, dude, but my Beetle won’t roll over the 4 inch pothole as quickly as your SUV. Deal with it or tell your council member to get off his/her ass and fix the roads.

Speaking of…there are roads that don’t get plowed. I’m dead serious. They are side streets and have a giant layer of snowy ice lining them. How the people who live on them deal with that crap is beyond me.  I’d be the crazy lady dragging a giant bag of salt up and down the road, cussing the government the whole time.

How many more days until spring?  I keep day dreaming about it and summer, which is a clear sign I’ve lost my mind because I usually hate summer. Now I understand why it’s so much better.  You don’t have to be holed up in your house shaking your fist at the weather person. You can actually leave whenever you want or need. Ahhhhhh, the freedom.

All venting aside, I wouldn’t leave this place without Paul. Being able to laugh with him, snuggle with him and generally enjoy life with him does make all this crap worth it.  Besides, it won’t be winter forever, right?

Hot damn, it’s cold again.

WintertimeSucksDon’t call it a polar vortex…or a comeback. It’s just the subzero temps have hit the midwest again. And I think the northeast is getting pounded by snow.  Have I mentioned that I’m sort of over the snow?

Don’t get me wrong. I like watching it fall, but driving in it is ridiculous.  I keep thinking, “You people know California exists, right? You don’t have to put up with this crap.”

I have to because Paul is starting his MBA courses at the University of Minnesota this week.  Luckily, it won’t be winter forever, but I will be in love with him forever.  Yes, you can barf now.

It’s better that I vent about this stupid cold than keep it in and go postal one day.  Plus, I feel better (or maybe a little scared) when I hear native Minnesotans complain that this cold is too cold.

Did I mention it was -16 this morning?  I won’t even bother with the windchill factor.

Please, just don’t let any more pipes in the apartment building burst. (Knocks on wood) We got out with minimal damage, but the hallway is still under construction, which is highly annoying.

I guess I should just let go.  I mean I can’t control the weather and if I could, I’d send some rain to California and wherever else it’s needed.

Random thoughts on the Polar Vortex

humor, weather, cold, MinnesotaWhen I moved to Minnesota, I looked forward to having the occasional snow day.  Work from home, bake something to warm up the house, feel cozy.  I didn’t expect to be afraid of the temperature.  Seriously. I can’t go outside without being afraid I might die if my car breaks down. Thank you, Polar Vortex!

For those who aren’t living in the Midwest, Minnesota is being pummeled by a giant swirling vortex of Arctic air. Actually, most of the country is freezing its collective ass off, but I think the Midwest is getting the worst of it.

The extreme heat in California might have been annoying, but at least I could leave the house whenever I wanted.  It wasn’t a huge ordeal simply to go to the grocery store. Here it takes careful planning and consulting of various maps, weather status, and clothing layers. Also I need to figure out how to drive on ice since Saint Paul is notorious for doing a shitty job of clearing the roads.

It is nice to have a legitimate excuse to stay inside, but a -50 wind-chill is insane.

In California, when the heat would climb above 100, the local news would try to see what would fry the sidewalk or melt inside a car.  In Minnesota, I keep seeing people trying to freeze stuff…a wet t-shirt, wet baloney on a piece of metal…this was to simulate a tongue freezing to a metal pole.

And while I have noticed a significant drop in traffic driving up and down my street, I wonder and worry about those who are out and about.  Am I being overly cautious about hunkering down inside?  Or are those poor souls forced to go out in this potentially dangerous situation as the National Weather Service called it?

Since it’s so damn cold outside, I keep waiting for various things to break down…like on a molecular level. Then I kept remembering owner’s manuals for various appliances and wonder if the temperatures are exceeding the suggested levels. Sure, I’ve worried about things getting too hot, but too cold? What? Of course, one of the reasons I was afraid to go outside was that my car might not start after sitting in subzero temps for a significant length of time. Not a fan of being stranded, especially when I can avoid it.

On top of this lovely weather, I’ve been sick for going on two weeks now.  Yesterday was the first day I felt a semblance of normal (normalcy is not a word). I do not want to risk this stupid cold turning into pneumonia or bronchitis because I simply didn’t stay home.

All I know is that I now have a new appreciation for those people who keep things running, like police, firefighters, postal workers, tow truck drivers, janitors, taxi drivers, delivery truck drivers/workers, bus drivers, baristas, sandwich makers, and whoever is running the gas station.  Seriously, if you do go out and use a service today and tomorrow, thank those who braved the cold to get to their jobs which made your life just that much easier.

(Knocking on wood that pipes haven’t burst!)

Summer tradition: BBQ, barbecue, barbeque

campfire, marshmallow, graham cracker, chocolateSomething I realized this summer, there are two kinds of barbecues. Some portions of the country call them cookouts, but it’s the same type of gathering. The weather warms up and someone invites you over to their house. Usually, they grill up some kind of meat and you bring the booze. This is where things start to diverge.

I don’t want to call the one types of barbecues “single guy BBQs,” but that’s who are usually the hosts of these types of gatherings. I’m sure there are women out there who put them on too, but I have yet to experience it. If you haven’t been to one of these get-togethers, let me explain:

They are VERY casual. They usually don’t have any (or very much) in the way of decoration if the BBQ is near a summer holiday. 90% of the people at said gathering only know the host and no one else.

Regardless of what meat is being grilled, there will be no sides. If you are lucky, there are buns, but probably not. The host only tells you to bring booze even though they should tell you to bring sides or some dish to share.

You probably DON’T want to use their bathroom. Unless you are under the age of 25, you probably don’t want to stay very long or eat any food. There is music. There is makeshift patio furniture…like the stool from the kitchen and the folding chair from the “office.”

The other types of barbecues are usually a veritable feast. The host asks people to bring booze and sides. The meat, should it be required, always has buns. There is some sort of decoration and always napkins. The bathroom is safe for use and so is the cutlery. You know a few people there other than the host. The patio furniture usually looks like it belongs there. If you are lucky, there are s’mores!