February 05, 2011

My Chicago Story: "It's A Blizzard-Thing!"

I know the entire North half of the country got crazy weather this week but I thought I'd share what it looks like from Chicago-- Mandi J. Crocker reporting live... a few days later!  ;)

Reason #2 I moved to Chicago.  I missed the snow.  I know!  I know that makes me crazy.  But there's nothing I love more than bundling up, slip-sliding through snow banks to fetch a delicious cup of coffee in goofy scarves and mittens. Oh geeez, how I love the snow!!!

And how FUN that we got an actual 'blizzard-thing' on Groundhog Day- just like in the movie!!!  It's one of my all-time favorites and I pretty much quoted it all day as the snow blew in and Big Toe & I hunkered down.  (He likes the movie, too!)

But I have to wonder... Isn't what we call 'blizzards' today really just 'snowstorms' of our youth?  I mean, this was a blizzard back in upstate New York.  That was a LOT of snow.  That's Farley, my very first car.  I looooooved that car as much as I love Big Toe.  Someday if I'm loaded I'm going to have Dodge remake me a red 1992 Colt and I'm gonna drive it like the wind.  Best car ever. 

And look at my sister- I mean brother- Ralphie... I mean- Travis. Aka:  My baby bwudder Twabus.  That would probably be called a blizzard today.  I don't know.  Growing up it seems like we always had hordes of snow and nobody had their knickers in a bundle, ya know?  I think we've become a bunch of pansies!!!  :)  It's not like we already had three feet of snow like they had on the East Coast.  THEY'VE earned their bragging rights fo sho!

However, when I stepped outside after a night of rattling windows and 'thundersnow' (Thunder and lightening while snowing?  WILD), I have to admit I was pretty excited about what I saw!  That's the most snow I've ever seen in Chi-Town!!!

This definitely shut down the city for a bit.  I LOVE when nature does that.  Granted I abhor stories of people freezing to death or watching a couple of elderly folks that shouldn't have been out walking around really struggle.  That breaks my heart... :(

But otherwise, for a majority of us, I think it's cool when Nature's like, "You really think you're in control!?  Oh, you had plans tonight?  You've got all the answers do you, humans!?  You don't have time to schedule me in?  Bwahahahahaha!!! IN YO FACE!!!"  BAM.  Blizzard.

It was really cool to walk around the next day.
I'm surprised I saw so many people out & about.

'The Street Where I Live.'

Another reason I like blizzards.  They break up the monotony of winter.  Gray skies and gray sidewalks day after day is depressing.  But having to hike up & over mini snow mountains on your way to fetch something boring like toilet paper? That warms my heart and makes me want to yodel!!!  :)  :)  :)

That blue civic is Hannah Honda.  For whatever reason, she didn't get snowed in too bad  but I couldn't get to her for a few days because the snow plow decided to plow a 7 ft. snow bank INTO the door that pushes in.  NICE.

As you can see the main streets weren't too bad.

The plows came through pretty well on those.
Not too shabby Chicago!

There has been a ginormous fence around this 'artwork' by the train since I moved here. They finally took it down.  I took a picture just because I was so happy about it, lol... Really UGLY big green fence.

 I decided to walk down to the lake shore hoping to get a glimpse of the crazy @$$ stormy waves (technical term) I had heard about.  As I passed through town I thought, 'This must be EXACTLY what Aspen looks like!!!' 

Yup Aspen.  TOTALLY.

"Samsonite! I was waaaay off. I knew it started with an S, though."

It really was such an adventure!  As I walked down to the lake shore so many people were out & about.  Cross country skiers!


Kiddos sledding!  I LOVE to see kids OUTSIDE... PLAYING.  Not on their Xboxes or Play Stations.  Being imaginative and creative and having good ol' fashioned fun!!! 

However, I'm sure these lightweight Chicago kids would never have the guts to make it down the colossal monster of an infamous sledding hill back home at the Wells House!  Am I right, Johnstownians!!??  (I forget there are no mountains here- again I say pansies!)

Then these yahoos below were doing what looked like a snow sculpture interpretation of the jungle ant scene from Indiana Jones 4:  The Crystal Skull. 

(I call that movie  Indiana Jones 4: The-Movie-That-Never-Should-Have-Been-About-Aliens-But-Instead-Should-Have-Been-About-Harrison-Ford-Digging-Around-In-Bible-Archeology-Dirt-Looking-All-Delicious-Because-That's-How-We-Like-Him-Didn't-You-Learn-Anything-From-Indiana-Jones-2: Temple-Of-Doom,-Spielberg!?- Indiana-Jones-3-Was-Pretty-Good,-Though!) 

I can never remember the name of this street.  But it's close to the lakefront.  As kids in the 518 we would have dug tunnels in these here giant banks!

I'd like to send out a long distance dedication to the owner of this snowed in vehicle: "Bad Day" by Daniel Powter.

I thought maybe I was insane to walk a mile to the lake shore as the sun was setting, as the weather was about to drop to 40 below, as I was in sneakers because I don't own boots... But come to find out, Chicago is full of morons like me! 

And I finally arrived.

I always want this quaint cabin structure on the lake to be full of big soft couches and hot chocolate.  Or I imagine it as the cabin from 'A White Christmas' with a 1950's fire pit or maybe a Vermont-esque Christmas Tree fudge shop that is twinkly and warm.  But I think it's some theater or something only open in the summer.  Lame!!!  ;)

Chicago's beautiful lake front, though, is far from lame.
She gets me every time.

I was sad there were no crazy @$$ waves but I did get to see Chicago's Fire Department out in full force.  *cue AC/DC's 'Thunder'*

CFD!!!  Real good guys.  :) 

Then I thought maybe I'd follow the lead of these other rascals and walk ONTO Lake Shore Drive itself. (For my L.A. folks, it's the 101 of Chicago).

If you hadn't heard, a bunch of people got caught driving home in the blizzard.  Due to the wind being so intense the waves actually came up and crashed onto Lake Shore Drive.  When the temperature dropped, that created black ice which created accidents... So people driving home from work, at which may have seemed a reasonable time to still do safely, ended up stranded and stuck on this stretch of highway.  No one was moving.  People began to run out of gas and eventually they had to be rescued in the early a.m. hours at the height of crazy blizzard conditions.  Thus, leaving behind a graveyard of parked cars on the highway.

This picture was in the Chicago Tribune.
Pretty creepy!

After realizing the cars were still there and when given the opportunity to be a rascal, I decided to see for myself- to see history up close & personal!  That's the entire highway. I'm walking on the left side of the highway facing south.  The right side is completely plowed.

This is when I overheard one of the tow truck guys say, "People aren't supposed to be on here, Tom."  I walked faster.  :)

And then here they were. 
All the cars that have yet to be towed from the road.

It was definitely an experience.  I almost turned around & headed home half way to the lake shore but I'm glad I made it.  Each car has a story and I wanted to know them all!!!

One woman I read about was eight months pregnant.  That must have been pretty terrifying.  People were calling 911 and calling into radio stations because no police were around.  (I'm sure they were probably trying to figure out how to clear road ways or rescue tactics or something?)  But having your car run out of gas, hearing the waves crash to the left of you, having no heat, hearing the roaring wind... I'm sure these people wondered if it's really possible- this day in age, in a thriving metropolis, to actually freeze to death in a circumstance like this.  Crazy.

I also heard some angelic woman braved the storm and brought people granola bars.  That's REALLY cool.

This is me on LSD (yeah, yeah) facing north.

It was just wildly fascinating to me...but maybe I've just seen  'Alive' too many times.  Ha!

 And that's my story from Chicago!  I walked back home and made it with dry feet.  Can you believe it!?  My sneakers are 12,000 years old.  It must have been my bowling socks.  :)

Anyway, stay warm, you wood chuck-chuckers!!!  Su-weeeeee!  Oink, oink, snort, snort...  :)

Yodeling snowbunnies,
Mandi C.


Nan said...

Those photos are insane! Yes, we already had 3 feet, but dropping that much at once is paralyzing. Plus, you had the Lake Effect that we don't really get here in VT. Western NY, yes, but not here. But, I agree, the snow just reminds me of childhood and when I hear people complain I "gently" remind them it's winter in Vermont!

Love you!

Freya said...

Wow! I didn't realize the cars were still there! CRAZY! So awesome that you got to experience part of history, I admit I've been a bit jealous of the snow.

Darci Monet said...

I am perfectly happy to experience this mess from your blog and NOT in person. Let me know when that place thaws out and I'll come visit. :-)