The Four-Letter S-Word

The four-letter S-word:  Snow.  Yep, that’s an expletive around here.

Growing up on the Canadian prairies, snow and bitter winter cold were simple facts of life.  We dressed appropriately and respected the danger; but unless the temperature sank to -40 we carried on.

When I was in my twenties I moved to Calgary, Alberta, and I thought I’d died and gone to heaven.  There was still cold winter weather, but it was regularly punctuated with chinook thaws where the temperature rose above freezing.


Years ago my dad and step-mom used to spend the winter in Victoria, BC.  I visited them frequently, and it never snowed.

Later, Hubby and I came to central Vancouver Island once or twice a year for ten years or so.  We visited in all the “winter” months, and it never snowed.  (Okay, once we saw about an inch, but it melted the next day.)

So after thirty years in Calgary we decided to move to Vancouver Island where ‘it never snows’.

Yeah, right.  We got suckered.

Last winter was the coldest and snowiest on record.  We had about two feet of snow on our yard, and it stayed for a couple of months.

But, hey, that was an anomaly, right?


Guess what happened last week?

Yep, about ten inches of sh-… I mean, snow.

Vancouver Island doesn’t deal well with snow, and often the power goes out when the weather is bad.

Fortunately, we knew this.  We’ve wired our house so we can switch over to generator power if necessary.  And it was necessary:  we lost power four times, for several hours each time.

When I was a teenager, our prairie farm was hit by a three-day-long blizzard.  The power went off the first day and was finally restored five days later.  The roads were impassable.  If we hadn’t been prepared, everything in our house would have frozen, including us.

So last week when the snow came down and the lights went out, my brain flipped into DEFCON 1:  “AWOOGA!  AWOOGA!  EXTREME HAZARD!  ALL HANDS ON DECK!”

I scurried around lighting candles, dragging out my big goose down duvet, and helping Hubby get the generator deployed; all the while knowing that WE WILL DIE IF THE GENERATOR QUITS!  What if we run out of gas?  We don’t have our wood-burning backup furnace installed yet, OMIGOD WE’RE GONNA DIE!

Um, no.

The temperature was barely below freezing.  There was no wind.  And even if the roads had been impassable and we had no heat source at all, our neighbours’ place is less than a quarter-mile away.  If we had actually managed to die, it would have been from sheer stupidity.

So maybe eventually I’ll get over my knee-jerk panic over winter power outages; but that sh-… um, snow… is still sticking around.  And it’s barely November.

We’ve been had.


P.S.  To be considered a true Islander I have to complain about the snow, but I’m secretly enjoying the pretty white sparkles.  This is the best of both worlds:  I can enjoy the snowscape in my yard, and if I need a break I can drive ten minutes to the coast where the grass is (usually) green and the ocean waves keep rolling in.  Paradise!  🙂

P.P.S Just because I needed a bit more stress in my life, my web host has gone belly-up, taking all my websites and email addresses with it.  If you’ve tried to email me, I apologize – your email has probably vanished into cyberspace.  I hope to be back in action with a new host by tomorrow.  Watch this space for updates…

Update:  I think (hope) everything’s working again… *fingers crossed*

62 thoughts on “The Four-Letter S-Word

  1. Pingback: Unnatural Nature | Diane Henders

  2.’re just too funny. And this: If we had actually managed to die, it would have been from sheer stupidity…I just BURST out laughing. It does seem like an awesome place to be you said, get the best of both worlds. Enjoy the snow and the green grass by the shore!!


  3. Just a comment here. Today’s our 48th anniversary. Which means that in a couple of years, we’ll be celebrating our 50th. We’re thinking about a cruise on the Columbia and Snake rivers. Was just checking the brochure for the particular cruise line that was recommended to us by a travel agent friend. New boats, nice staterooms, apparently…or really nice brochures, at least.

    Which begs the question: If one sleeps-in during a cruise, could that be called ‘lying in state’? Inquiring minds, and all that. 🙂


    • Bahahaha!!! I think perhaps it might. But I have issues with that phrase anyway – I know what it’s supposed to mean, but I can’t help considering the literal translation. If you’re a political leader, don’t you get in trouble if you lie in your state?

      But I digress. A very happy anniversary to you both – congratulations on such a wonderful achievement! It’s nice to see there are still some relationships that stand the test of time. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Maybe you moved to the wrong coast! I was driving to work on Thursday morning and it flurried unexpectedly for part of the way. This will be the first snow of the winter season here in Nova Scotia though it didn’t stick around. We’ve had an exceptionally nice fall so that means only one thing. We’re in for it this winter so we’d better brace ourselves. Today was pretty cold. It only made it to 2 degrees C and it’s just at 0 degrees right now at 5:00 pm. “Indian Summer” is officially over. (Can you even say that anymore?)


  5. It was below zeroF this morning (-17c), but it warmed up enough to snow a little this afternoon. At least your snow will melt. Rumor has it that a warm spell will hit in a few days and maybe get above freezing. Glad I didn’t put my shorts away yet!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Your web host went belly up? Oh my goodness that was a technical problem I had never considered! Hope you got it all sorted out and by your Facebook post I think you did. A miracle worker I’d say. Surely you should get some sunshine now right?


    • Sunshine would be lovely! Fortunately I keep backups of all my sites and email, but it’s still a huge job to set everything up again. I did finally get everything sorted out, so at least the metaphorical sun is shining. There’s not too much hope for actual sunshine though – I think we’re into the winter doldrums here, and the forecast is rainy as far as the eye can see. But that’s okay – at least there’s NO SNOW predicted! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I laughed at the start with the sh— words. It brought back memories (a hundred years ago) of my roommate’s at the time boyfriend. He was from out of the States. He didn’t understand that not all 4 letter words beginning with sh— actually sounded a little different from each other. You can guess which sh— word all of his sounded like.

    I used to live near Kansas City, Mo. where we got snow sometimes starting with Halloween and staying on the roads until spring (of course I was a child at the time and it would be knee high on me).

    After we moved to North Carolina I thought we had moved south. Imagine my surprise when I found out we not only had hurricanes (Hazel in 1954) but occasionally snow amounting to several inches (the last “big” snow amounted to about 12″ several years ago). Thank heavens most years it doesn’t happen that often. But it is enough that when I built my last house I included gas logs in the fireplace and a gas stove. At least I can cook and stay warm when the power goes out. Our local electrical co-op does an excellent job of keeping our lines up.

    When any type of snow or ice is in the forecast most of the schools will close down. People from up north don’t understand our concern (that is until they try to drive). We will get “black ice” when we get precipitation during freezing weather. You don’t want to try & drive on that stuff.


    • That’s what I’m discovering here, too – in a colder climate snow is a nuisance but not too much of a road hazard unless it gets really deep. Here, it hits the pavement and turns to ice, just like in your neck of the woods. I’ve spent some uncomfortable moments slithering along the highway – I get very little traction even with my four-wheel-drive and snow tires.

      But I dunno; I think you got gypped: Snow AND hurricanes? That just doesn’t seem fair.


  8. I understand your pain having lived in Victoria for 21 years. We were there for the “storm of the century” and it really was one. I walked to my brother’s dealership to push snow off the room so it wouldn’t cave in. A dealership up the street had the roof cave in on the parts department. The army was called in to ferry patients to hospital because the ambulances were getting stuck. It was a beaut! Regardless, any snow on the Island is an issue. I don’t think many people have heard of snow tires. We’ve gotten snow the earliest in in over 50 years here in the beautiful Okanagan. And, at the moment, guess what? The sh–, snow is coming down again. It’s going to be a long winter.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh, no! Early snow is just bad news. I’ve actually been surprised how many people have switched to snow tires here. The police are doing spot-checks and issuing tickets to those who don’t have them, but only on the Malahat and Alberni passes. The coastal highways are excluded from the areas that require snow tires. That used to make sense to me… until last winter…


  9. I thought I remembered you having unseasonal snow as soon as you moved there, and now this! Amazing, though, that you can go ten minutes away and it’s different. I do hope the weather gets back to “as advertised” soon!


  10. our two daughters that live in Seattle. One of them has lived there for about 10 years and said last winter was the worst she had experienced. Seems too early for snow regardless….you do live in a beautiful area…the entire Pacific Northwest is stunning!! Here’s to a milder winter for you….says the guy who lives in Phoenix…:)


    • Phoenix… ahhhh. I have warm and happy memories of Tucson – I want to get back there someday soon. I absolutely adore the Pacific Northwest, but the Sonoran desert fascinates me, too. I’d love to spend more time exploring it. Maybe some day… 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Thnow? Ithe? Bummer!

    We’re suffering through an unseasonable cold spell now, all the way down to a frigid 49 today and a blisteringly cold 37 tonight. Yeah, sucks to be us. But fear not, our weekend will be back up into the 70s again. 🙂

    We get snow here, though, it’s true. Maybe six inches all winter. We get more ice than snow. Freezing rain and/or sleet, with temps maybe down into the teens on rare occasions. But when we do get slick weather, the term ‘defensive driving’ becomes not just a good idea but a means of survival.

    Our Volvo is AWD, and I have chains for both ends. I’ve found them extremely useful for getting where we need to go when the weather goes, er, north, so to speak. But they’re even better for GETTING OUT OF EVERYONE ELSE’S WAY!! 🙂


    • Edmonton to Ucluelet – awesome! I bet you’re loving it there!

      Hubby and I have been enviously eyeing the BC Highways traffic webcams and reminding each other, “There’s no snow at the Ucluelet/Tofino highway junction…” Yep, we’ve been had. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Snow, snow, humm, I’ve heard that word before … give me a minute. Down here in California, we don’t get much snow. Well, it did snow once in 1976, but it hasn’t happened since. My family motto is: “If you can see snow, you’re too close.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Uh, where in California? I was stationed in CA in the Army a hunnerd or two years ago. The first winter, we got eighteen FEET of snow! The next winter, it was twenty-one feet! The county and state snow-thrower trucks kept breaking down trying to clear our access roads to get supplies in to us. They eventually gave up with two MILES of road still totally invisible under unbelievable drifts.. Finally, Army Aviation had to bring our food and stuff to us in choppers between storms. And Los Angeles was in plain sight…well, it was still quite a ways away, and all of it downhill, but still. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Ah, that last bit explains why when I tried to read this post outside of my phone app, it told me your website wasn’t available. Sorry to hear you’re having technical difficulties. And sorry to hear about the snow. Pretty or not, it gets old quickly! I remember my childhood years in Saskatchewan. I didn’t have boots high enough to avoid getting snow in them. 😁


    • Yep, Manitoba and Saskatchewan are pretty similar in the winter – cold, cold, cold! And you’re right, it does get old fast. I’m hoping these pretty sparkles vanish soon.

      The technical difficulties morphed into a gargantuan clusterfuck. I ended up dumping my useless provider and migrating 4 domains, a sub-domain, and 30 email addresses over to a new host today. I really, really hope I picked a reliable one this time. *tries to cross fingers and rub aching head and aching stomach simultaneously*


  14. I can sympathize with being suckered. I moved to the U.S. Midwest from the west coast and was assured the winters were “mild”. Five months later an ice storm hits and we had no power for thirteen days. Temps were below freezing but above zero for the almost two weeks. No generator. For someone who had never lived where it snowed an ice storm was an extra special treat. Not sure why I stayed, lol!
    Back home my favorite place in winter was the beach so enjoy!


    • Thirteen days!?! Good Lord! I’m amazed that you stayed! How did you keep your house from freezing without a generator? Hope you had a wood stove at least.

      I hate to rub it in, but I absolutely love being only 10 minutes away from the beach… even if it is a snowy drive to get there. 🙂


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