Saturday, March 12, 2011


DISCLAIMER: All references to this being a horrible experience and the worst work day ever were written and spoken before the tsunami in Japan last week. I guess now in retrospect my day wasn't really so bad after all ...

It always seemed like every time we heard about the local schools closing for a snow day, we always wondered when we would have a snow day off from work.

As they say, be careful what you wish for, because it's never as much fun as the fantasy.

On March 7, 2011, that day actually came to pass at Kime's Home Center in Oneida Castle, N.Y., where I work as the assistant manager. I knew it was going to be a snowy day so I went in early to get the parking lot plowed out before any of my fellow employees or our customers arrived, but the scene that waited for me at the store seemed unreal.

Beyond a towering six-foot wall of plow-dropped snow, the parking lot was a huge mass of white stuff that rose up past my knees as I tried to get through to the plow truck in the lumber yard. That truck didn't make it far. The heavy weight of the snow -- some two feet fell overnight, and the drifts in places topped three feet deep -- overwhelmed the poor truck and it quickly got stuck just short feet outside the building.

Meanwhile, the plows cascaded the streets and I knew I had to find a safe haven for my own car, so I walked back through the frozen tundra and drove to the nearby grocery store parking lot to find a place to park it for the day. The car already stuck in the entrance to that parking lot told me to try again elsewhere. The shopping plaza across the way wasn't any better; I drove in and could see nothing but a huge glare of white through the windshield. It wasn't long before I felt that sickening sensation of the wheels getting bogged down and stopping. I had driven directly into a three-foot snow drift.

The silver lining to this snow cloud is a kindly shopping center employee named Chris who came over to lend a hand, noting he himself had been stuck in the lot since midnight. So then I decided the safest place to park was back home in my own driveway, so I drove back there, left off the car, and hiked the 2.2 miles through the snowy roads back to the store. I stopped on the way to check on the parents and then to help a family get unstuck from their own driveway, kind of passing on the good will Chris showed me. It turned out to be a good call, because after they were out of their snow jam, they told me the were on their way to a funeral that morning.

It wasn't long after getting back to the store that the telephone started ringing, and I started taking orders for curbside delivery. I had shoveled a path through the snow, officially measured at 22.5 inches by the local weather plotters with the drifts even higher, a snowfall they said we hadn't seen in one storm in 17 years. There wasn't any other service available since nobody could get in the parking lot! I just hope nobody continues to expect that ... and apologies to the truck driver who showed up intending to make a delivery. There wasn't any way our fork lift tow motor was getting through that!

Yeah, that roof rake I sold the lady might just have saved her house that day, making the whole adventure worth while!

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