So, as you guys probably heard, Chicago got some snow on Tuesday/Wednesday. It was some serious snow, as evidenced by the fact that it brought this winter-hardy city to its knees. They’d been predicting the storm since last weekend, but most of us were skeptical that it was actually going to be that bad, or happen at all for that matter. On Tuesday morning I got an email from a concerned friend in Texas and I emailed her back all “psh, it’s not gonna happen, we’ve seen nary a flake here.” And then the skies opened up, snow fell furiously and didn’t stop for almost 24 hours. When it started at about 2pm, we were told we could leave work if we wanted and people scattered to get out of there as soon as possible so they didn’t get stuck on the roads on their way home. I haven’t talked to anyone personally who was stuck on Lakeshore Drive but it sure turned into a mess.
I made it home about 3pm, at which time I called D and pleaded for him to leave work and come home. I knew it would take him hours and that I would worry the entire time, which it did and which I did, but he made it home at about 6pm, safe and sound. Then we snuggled in to watch a movie while the storm raged outside. Every 20 minutes or so I would get up and go look out the window, which was more interesting to me than the movie. There was just so much snow and wind and even THUNDER and LIGHTNING, which I did not know was an option. I’ve never seen anything like it before in my life.
The next morning I woke up to discover that, after posting an “in the extremely unlikely event that the University will be closed” storm-readiness message the night before, the University was indeed closed for the day on Wednesday, as was Chicago Public Schools, the City of Chicago, and pretty much everything else, including D’s work. Snow day! As the storm raged, we made hot chocolate, read books, played computer games, and generally just lazed around and enjoyed our day off. I actually got up and went to the gym around noon and had a great run, only to come home and find that our hot water wasn’t working. Let me tell you how much fun it is to discover that AFTER you’re already shivering in a cold apartment but post-workout sweaty and disgusting enough that you must take a shower. And then we realized the heat also wasn’t working, and probably hadn’t been for some time (it was 61 degrees in the apartment).
Cut to Tuesday night when D and our landlord were up on ladders in the bathroom trying to re-light the heater pilot that had apparently been blown out by the storm the night before. They had to crawl up into a few really tight spots (the heating unit is above the ceiling in our bathroom, also known as the LEAST CONVENIENT PLACE EVER) and still couldn’t get it lit, so we settled in for a cold night. We still had electricity, thank goodness, but no heat. I put a few more layers on the bed, including my trusty electric blanket, and layered on another pair of pants and socks. When we woke up on Thursday morning it was 50 degrees in our apartment. Boo.
D had to work on Thursday but I was off again, miracle of miracles, so I was tasked with calling the management office and getting heater repair guys lined up. They got there at about 3pm, tinkered around for maybe ten minutes, and then we were back in business. I cranked the thermostat up to 70 and enjoyed the rest of my snow day by watching Glee and painting my fingernails. Well that and cleaning up the disaster that was our bathroom after three different repairmen tracked dirty melting snow and a ladder through it several times.
Anyway, minor inconveniences aside, I feel like I learned something about Chicago from this storm. Midwesterners are nice and good and they will help you, even when they don’t have to, even when it’s blizzarding the third worst blizzard in the history of Chicago outside. They will give you a ride home (even though it’s out of their way) so that you don’t have to wait out on the unprotected platform for the train. They will lend you a shovel and help you dig out your car so that you don’t have a heart attack trying to do it all by yourself. They will walk to Lakeshore Drive in the middle of a blizzard with food and drinks to offer to the people stuck in horrible traffic. I’ve had one foot firmly stuck in Austin for a long time now, insisting that people in Austin are like no other people on earth. They aren’t, it’s still true that Austinites are truly unique and wonderful people, but now I’m starting to realize that Chicagoans are too.