Warming trend

hot-coldThe temperature peaked at 60° yesterday.  Sixty!  Holy crap.  It had been snowing for the previous 3-4 days.  We were up to about 10 inches of snow by Tuesday afternoon.  And now we’re in an unseasonable warming reversal.  And from what I’m seeing through Weather Underground, we’re not supposed to see a high below the freezing point anytime in the next ten days.  Although to be accurate, there are going to be several days in that time period when the daily lows will be in the teens and twenties, so we’re definitely not due for t-shirts and shorts quite yet.  This isn’t Texas after all.

Even so, I would definitely say it’s been a snowy winter.  Most years I only drag out the snowblower a couple of times, but this year I think I had it out almost six times since November.  Certainly to the point where I actually had to refill my gas cans so I could keep it running.  It worked like a champ as well, thirty-one years after buying the old girl from the Red Hook Agway.  I still remember when I got it, just before a big storm at my parent’s house.  I didn’t feel comfortable trying to drag out Dad’s Gravely, so I went to the Agway and bought the floor model.  They managed to deliver it that evening and the following morning there was 15 inches of snow to remove.  Cranked it right up and it’s been working every since.

Having witnessed what Texans have been enduring with their utility bills, I’m grateful I live where I am, even thought the taxes can be somewhat high at times.  Where I live we have a local electrical co-op, so it keeps the utility bills reasonable.  When my wife and I lived on Keuka Lake in the 1990s, towards the end of our stay New York State deregulated the electrical business, and in the beginning we got double shafted (or so it seemed) because NYSEG (New York Electric & Gas) didn’t have any competition yet, so they had the lion’s share of customers.  Where before 1998 you received one bill for generation and delivery of your electricity, after deregulation you received two.  And the new bills added up to way more than the old ones.  For the simple reason that when you’re generating a new bill, there are extra taxes added on, so you end up paying for many of the costs twice.  Which was really, really unfair.  But since deregulation was new, and no other companies were in your area, you were stuck.

I think in the end, just before we moved at times we were paying almost $700-800 in electric bills.  And since we heated our rented house with fuel oil, there was a further $250-300 for filling that tank every 45 days or so.  Even though it sucked moving from there, where we’re living now isn’t breaking our back with utility costs.

Spring is on the way.  But perhaps Winter isn’t quite done with us yet.  We still have a little less than a month to go.  No time to get complacent, eh?

February Chill

Saying it’s cold in February is like saying ‘water is wet‘.   It’s just something that you accept as being factual.  Of course, unless you’re living under a rock currently, you’re aware there’s a major cold snap happening in the southern United States, and people there are learning what it’s like to live in New England, or the Midwest in wintertime.  The language of frozen pipes and using a hairdryer to keep your water pump going is quickly being learned in places where such contraptions were unheard of before.   Just because we’ve increasingly become involved in a more modern world, with advanced devices doesn’t mean Mother Nature can’t throw a spanner into the works.

Up here in the Northeast, we expect every February there’s going to be a day or few days where the temperature is going to get below zero.  It’s expected.  In some ways, if it doesn’t happen, it goes down in the calendar as an unusual year.  I remember when I was working at my previous employer, back in ’95 or ’97 the temperature got down to about -17°F/-22°C.  I think that was about the only time in my recollection I was unable to get my vehicle started due to the cold.  I had to get a jump from the local garage.  Fortunately, I had AAA at the time (still do, even though we only use it every once in a Blue Moon it’s still something good to have) and they got the truck started (at the time I was driving a 1987 Ford Bronco II) and I was on my way home in due time.

Going by what the NWS (National Weather Service) is saying, today’s 3°F/-16°C is probably going to be the low temperature for this area for the winter of 2020-21.  Starting this weekend we’re due for a warming trend, and it will last until the end of the month.  Starting in March, temperatures are going to typically be in the 30s and 40s, and winter will be over completely later that month.  Even Easter is going to be early this year, in the beginning of April.

According to the thermometer, it’s already nearly 20°F/-6.6°C outside, so the cold snap is over.  Supposedly we’re getting another winter type storm tomorrow, but it’s not going to be as much as we ended up not getting yesterday.  At any rate I was able to take my snowblower out for another spin, and I got enough gas to last me for the remainder of the winter, and I can use it for the lawn mower in another couple of months.

I think tonight will only be a 2 blanket night with a comforter.  I might even sleep without my socks.  We’ll see.

Watching for the mail

Seeing as I’ve been on vacation for the past week, as usual I’ve had lofty goals for what I wanted to get accomplished. It’s now Thursday Friday (see what happened there?) and admittedly, while I’ve gotten a lot done in terms of laying on the couch, napping, and relaxing, I haven’t done a whole lot on the list of things I wanted to get accomplished.

A lot of that has been due to the weather we’ve been having, at the beginning of my vacation it was actually unseasonably warm, and I should have taken advantage of that, and I did to a certain extent. But not really enough to get my major project accomplished, ie getting the car into the garage for the winter. At present, the garage is still a bit of a mess, with things strewn here and there, and no organization to be found. Since the beginning of the week it’s been cold, windy and not very hospitable for a garage that has no insulation, and I’ve been biding my time for the temperature etc al to be more convenient.

My other issue has been watching the progress of a package that has been traveling from China since October 20. It made it to the US last week and everything went smoothly until it reached this side of the country. At that point, the hilarity ensued. The package arrived at the regional hub in Rochester, NY but it couldn’t seem to make it all the way to me. Over the last week it’s been to three different post offices in my vicinity and back to Rochester a further three times. Wednesday evening I decided to get involved, going to the USPS website and attempting to redirect it to me and give better instructions on where to leave it.

It didn’t work.

I tried again last night, and this morning it was back at one of the other post offices it had been to previously. I figured, before it traveled back to Rochester a fourth time, I’d call them and see if at worst I could come collect it.

The postmistress was very happy I called, though it was going to be unnecessary for me to travel. They are taking the contents of the box, putting it in a Priority box and overnighting it to my post office. Where it should arrive and be delivered tomorrow. In theory. Considering the amount its traveled in the last 5 days, anything could occur at this point. I’m just glad the items weren’t perishable.

Though in a way they were. I had hoped to receive my Biden/Harris stuff before the election, although Trump’s antics over the past 2 weeks hasn’t negated the need or desire to have them. At any rate, I’m sure the USPS in Rochester will be happy not to see that package returned.

On a side note, I managed to take advantage of the near 70° temperature today to both gather, collect and deposit my neighbor’s leaves on the curb. It feels good not to have to worry about them all winter.

Next job; the garage!