Before moving away to the Northeast and its amazing snow storms and blizzards, I grew up in Wichita, KS where snow is as rare as a Republican without an Ayn Rand book collection. I can remember one Christmas when I was about 12 years old where my sister and I woke up to snow outside our windows. Its magical! It makes everything feel more festive! Its fun! It’s not what happens in Wichita, KS. However, last night as the wind howled and pelted our house with 45 mph rain drops the temperature dipped below freezing and rain became snow. Snow!!! In Wichita!!! With Christmas 5 days away!!!
Max woke up and saw snow for the first time today and was so excited. He begged to outside so Kate let him out the back door, he took one step in it, said “no,” and came back in. Our “Candy Can Lane” looks like a real Christmas decoration and suddenly the holidays felt very real!
Then I hit the roads to go to work. Whenever it does snow in Wichita, Wichitans treat it as if the Apocalypse is coming…which to be fair is tomorrow (12/21/12) according to the Mayans (who didn’t account for daylight savings). Wichitans stock up on canned goods at the grocery store, drive like idiots, and batten down the hatches. Last night’s “blizzard” as it was hailed by the local TV stations netted us just enough snow to cover the lawn but allow the tips of the grass to peek through. About an inch. North of us parts of the state got seven inches. In either case, that is a snow storm not a blizzard. A blizzard is when you go to bed in Boston and wake up to find there is three feet of snow and the snow drifts have locked you in by creating a twelve-foot-high barrier that is six feet deep. A blizzard is when the island of Manhattan shuts down and your car is buried under feet of snow for almost a month. A blizzard is when the snow in your front yard connects to the snow on your roof in the Adirondacks. Those are blizzards…last night in Wichita? A festive snowing.
This morning was a comical drive to work as there is nothing funnier than watching non-snow people try to drive on snow and ice. Granted, the conditions were dicey because before we got that nice looking snow we got tons of rain…so there were sheets of packed ice everywhere. Wichita is used to getting ice…but they still have no idea how to drive on it. The entire town did 5 mph at all times and would slam on their brakes 300 feet from intersections and skid to complete stops. Wichita…you can’t stop if your tires aren’t moving…you’re skidding. Having spent the bulk of my driving life in the Northeast I pumped my brakes and shifted into low gear for easy skid-free stops while using intermittent acceleration to get my car moving without spinning my tires aimlessly in place like EVERY pickup truck I saw this morning. Being bigger doesn’t make your car better in snow and ice…it just makes it heavier. This was my first bad weather driving situation without an all-wheel drive car (I do miss my Subaru and my Bronco), but my front wheel drive Kia did just fine.
All the snow we got last night will most likely melt by this afternoon and the visible ice should turn to black ice making driving really scary. The safest way to drive in those conditions is not to drive at all…but the Wichita State Shockers play tonight so we’ll brave the elements. There is a rumor that it may snow Monday night…Christmas Eve. It would be awesome if Max’s first Christmas in Wichita was white but I’m not holding my breath. Besides, every toy he’s getting is an inside toy and at almost 2 years of age…will he remember?
Here are some snowy days I remember from Kate and my past life before we had children and moved to Kansas.