The snow started before we returned home from our Hawaii trip and it was still icy enough that we parked my car at the bottom of the street that day, but the more intense second round didn’t start until Friday afternoon. I was able to head home earlier in the day, so we were all snug and warm at home before the snow started again.
Our work has been exceptionally good about putting our safety above keeping the job site open and didn’t require people to brace bad conditions to get to work, and I am very appreciative of that fact. The Seattle area isn’t set up for the kind of snow and ice we’ve had lately (very few snow plows, lots of steep hills, etc), so it is a LOT harder to get around in this weather than places that have a lot of snow every winter. I’ll drive in the snow in Ohio (and have), but my little Camry hybrid stays put here. And the buses stopped running on our hill as well, so even that wasn’t an option.
Psssst. My “Meet the Women of the Financial Independence Community” is up for round three of the Rockstar Rumble competition today and I’d love your vote for the ladies!
Friday’s Frugal Five
1. Remember how I said we actually came home AFTER the first snow event? Well, we live up at five hundred feet in elevation and are shaded by a forest of evergreen trees (and the last bit of elevation gain is just on our one street, of which we sit at the top), so things melt veeeeery slowly. As in, we tend to see ice and snow a good week or two longer than other areas of our city.
That being said, when I arrived home from work a bit early on Friday, I found the recycling truck right at the bottom of our street with no ability to make it to the top, even with chains. Thankfully, another neighbor had stopped him before he turned around and left, and he agreed to wait while we skated our cans down the street (I’d say rolled them down, but I have a video of a neighbor literally sliding down the hill behind one of the recycling bins). The garbage truck was right behind him, so he waited as well.
Of course, this was the middle of the day, so even between stay at home parents, retirees, and work from home folks, a good half of the homes on our street were vacant at the time, so we all scrambled to make sure every single house was serviced before the trucks left. It’s possible we may not get pickup today either as we are still pretty entrenched after the following storms, so getting our garbage picked up that day was a really big deal. Again, having an awesome neighborhood pays dividends in ways you might never consider, like having your cans hauled down an icy hill so they get emptied for the week.
In theory, one week of garbage pickup skipped, or even two as the case may be, might not be that huge of deal for us personally because we don’t create all that much waste, our lovely roommate forgot to take our cans to the street while we were in Hawaii so we had already skipped one pickup. The good news is, two other neighbors mentioned it to me after the fact and told me to let them know in the future and they’d make sure they got to the street. Our roommate is absolutely wonderful, but remembering things is not his strong suit.
2. In the giant box of hand me downs I received from a friend a little while back were a couple of pairs of really nice snow boots, but they were too big for our kiddo to wear this year. With this snowfall though, I found out that a couple of other kids on the street didn’t have any snow boots because, hey, it rarely snows here and in no great quantity, but it meant that playing in this extraordinary weather would be a lot less fun for them.
Once I found that out though, I was able to turn right back around and go back to our house to pull out the boots I was saving for him for future years and lend them to our neighbors. The odds are good they won’t need them after the next couple of weeks, so not only did it save some money, it also requires fewer pairs of boots overall because our kiddo will be able to use them next winter as well.
3. Since we were snowed in for an extra long weekend, we have spent very little money since we got home from our trip. We did stock up in advance of the snowy weather, but we didn’t do any spending for a full week outside of groceries and gas. We also ended up with some no spend weekend days, which almost never happens with regular weather.
I personally also didn’t drive my car once until today since we returned from Hawaii a week and a half ago (and since my husband does most of the driving when we’re together, I actually hadn’t driven since we returned to the rental house in Hawaii after visiting a brewery two Mondays ago). His truck has four wheel drive, so he also drove both of us to work Wednesday and both Thursdays, which were the only two days I’ve been in the office other than Friday, when I took the bus while it was still running.
4. Since we were all more or less stuck in our neighborhood for the better part of a week, we made the most of it and ate a whole lot of meals together as a community. And by a lot, I mean we initially had a dinner with one family on Thursday night as a substitute for the kiddo’s birthday party on Saturday that was cancelled due to weather (complete with a homemade cake she baked for him).
Following that, a group of us ate together Friday through Tuesday nights and lunch the last day as well since the power was out and we were all hanging out where it was warmer. Another neighbor has a potbelly stove that he cooked soup on and heated his house that way, and we had lunch there. The power came back on before we ate, but we had that meal at our house since we have a generator that was able to power the pilot light to our natural gas furnace.
All in all, thanks to the fabulous community we have in our neighborhood, our days stuck at home due to the snow was filled with lots of sledding and hanging out on our hill followed by dinner together every night. Instead of feeling trapped and filled with cabin fever, it felt like an unexpected vacation with some of our favorite people. While ultimately I’m not sad the snow is melting, it was a bit bittersweet to let it go.
5. I had a bunch of books checked out at the library that were due back over the weekend, but we obviously weren’t getting down the hill to drop them off. The library was closed one day, but they were overdue longer than that and thanks to the power outage and the cell tower that also appeared to be down, I couldn’t even get online to renew the ones that didn’t have holds on them by other people.
When I finally got into the library to return them on Wednesday, I talked to the librarian when I was checking out a new stack of books for the kiddo and let her know what had happened. She forgave all the late fees and said they were being pretty flexible on that since it was such an uncommon event. Always worth the ask.
I finally got back on the treadmill on Wednesday for the first time since we got back to Hawaii since it was either too cold and icy to run outside, the gym was closed, or I couldn’t get in to work/left work early to beat the snow.
That said, I still did get plenty of more non traditional exercise over the unexpected long weekend, starting with a bunch of trips up and down the hill to deliver the garbage and recycling cans to the truck drivers. We did a bunch of sledding Saturday, Sunday, and Monday which meant hiking back up the hill each time through deep snow.
We also hiked through the park trails and walked to the grocery stores a couple of times, so each day my Fitbit registered at least a half an hour of exercise (and more often closer to an hour or more). While all the play in the snow was a lot of fun, I have to admit it felt good to have a “real” workout and go for a run on Wednesday.
Thanks to you ALL who read Monday’s post and entered in the contest to win a copy of Work Optional. I was absolutely blown away by the response and I hope you all get a chance to read her book. I promise you, it’s worth it. The winner of this giveaway though is Financial Mechanic – please send me an email at treadlightly.retireearly.com and I’ll get out that copy to you!
Does your area deal with snow often? If not, have you ever experienced a “snowpocolypse” type of event?