A Christmas Story

Jeremy did a great job of keeping the blog up to date as far as our spectacular winter weather in Denver this December, but he hasn’t quite finished the story, so I’ll chime in to wrap things up in a bit more detail. (Jeremy took lots of lovely photos as well, so hopefully he’ll add some pictorial punctuation to this otherwise very long block of text….)

The first storm that hit the area, several days after our arrival, dumped 24″ of snow on our area. Fortunately, we were able to get the bulk of our Christmas shopping done the day before the snow started, and we stocked up on food too, though my dad and I ended up making a trip in the blowing snow on Wednesday afternoon, to get flour and a few other essentials for Christmas cookies. We weren’t in the grocery store for very long, and when we came out, there was at least half an inch of snow accumulating on the windshield, if that gives you some idea of the rate of snowfall. But we stayed in happily, making Christmas cookies and braised meals, and enjoyed each other’s company, especially since my dad got quite a few unexpected snow days off of work. We lost television when the satellite dish filled up with snow, but we watched movies on DVD and spent inordinate amounts of time staring out the window at the birds and squirrels in the back yard (nearly as much as the cats did).

Once it stopped snowing, we and the rest of the state struggled to dig out and go about our holiday activities. This was no easy task, as the snow plows never did make it into the residential areas of Jefferson County, where my parents live, so every time we left the house, it was like an off-road excursion to get out of our neighborhood and onto the bone-dry main streets. My dad’s 4-wheel drive truck got stuck in the snow just a few blocks from home; the roads were full of wheel ruts, but they only accommodated one car at a time, and when we pulled off just slightly to let another car pass, we were doomed. (Well, maybe doomed is a little strong. Mom and I gingerly walked home for a shovel, praying for cleared sidewalks and not always getting them, and by the time we got bundled up and changed into snow boots for the return trip, the guys had managed to muscle the truck out of the snowbank without us.)

We spent the Saturday before Christmas downtown Denver at the art museum, which was especially fun because a new wing was recently opened. Christmas Eve was mostly taken up with some last minute shopping for Christmas dinner and presents, and the traditional candlelight church service. It snowed another inch or so in the evening, but Jeremy was too depressed by the situation to take a fresh picture of the bird feeder. We had a lovely quiet Christmas with french toast and roasted leg of lamb (I’ll write a separate post about the food, I think) and lots of lovely presents, and got out of the house to watch The Nativity Story in the evening.

After Christmas we started hearing more reports about the second blizzard heading our way. The weathermen didn’t seem to know how much snow we were in for this time, or if it would even hit the Denver area, but we strapped in for another dumping and ended up with at least another foot of snow in our area. This was not great news for our Saturday flight home, especially since, as I mentioned earlier, the snow plows never came around to our neighborhood to dig us out of the last storm. We kept trying to shovel the driveway clear, but once the snow on the sides of the drive reached head-level, there was no place to put it; we were carrying shovelfuls of snow down the sidewalk to dump. My crazy mother convinced me to put on snow pants and boots and wade around in the snow in our yard on Friday. It was over my knees in our front yard and I still wasn’t touching the ground—a lot of work to walk in, and nearly impossible to get up without help after a fall. Where are snowshoes when you need them?

Despite the vast amounts of snow, a plow finally came through on Saturday morning to dig out a few low spots in our street and compact the rest. This second blizzard dumped really varying amounts of snow on the state: we had about 17” of new snow; Golden, where we ate a really lovely dinner on Wednesday, got 28”, and the airport only got a few. The main roads got plowed really quickly, and we started wondering if it had been a good idea to change our flight from Saturday afternoon to Tuesday night. A call to Frontier on Saturday morning at 9:00am confirmed that the airline was functioning at full-steam, but our original flight had filled up. We were offered a flight leaving at 12:30pm or nothing, so we ended up packing everything up on a moment’s notice and rushing off to the eerily uncrowded airport. Having thought we were getting an extra few days to spend at home, this was particularly hard on me, and I spent most of the day with teary eyes. Jeremy was more than happy to get back home and in his studio, though, and the ferrets more than did their part to cheer me up. Now if only I could get over the fact that the vacation is over and it’s time to get back to work…







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