Monday, March 3, 2014

Monthly Report - Michigan Winter is NOT Handicapper Accessible

First Sunday Report For March 2014

I decided to start doing a monthly update rather than a weekly one.  Technically, this is no longer Sunday, but hey.

Today was an enjoyable but challenging day, after a pretty chanllenging week.  And I am declaring Spring Break.

It's Mardi Gras week. It's time to let the bon temps rouler. 

So, no blog posts this week. I'll catch up with you guys on Tuesday the 11th.  (This should give me time to get ahead on the blogging. I think I was running out of steam this last week or two.)

In the meantime -- my adventures:

Last, oh, Thursday was it?  The igniter on my oven gave up.  No stove, and a batch of bread dough rising.  Luckily I hadn't actually started the brownie dough.  Stuck the bread in the fridge, and arranged to take it to a friend's house to bake it the next day.  (The same friend involved in today's adventures further down.)

Next morning, the furnace had gone out.  The coldest day yet.  High in the negatives.  The furnace guy did get out and fix it right away, but it was all day getting the house back up to temperature.   And the house was SUPER dry by then.  We went to Home Depot and found ourselves a nice Frigidaire gas range, but it wouldn't be delivered until Saturday.

In the meantime the snow was stacked up so high, that we had to be concered about them actually getting the stove up the walk.  Much chopping and hacking and arranging, but on Saturday we did get a stove. It's lovely.  I've baked bread, brownies, pop-overs. (Unfortuately, like all new items of every sort, it outgasses the first day or two you use it.  This on top of super dry, sinus-killing air.  And that "new stove smell" is not as bad as some.)

A Most Inaccessible Day

We discovered that North by Northwest was playing today in a REAL THEATER, so we decided to see it.  My movie-going friend is a wheel-chair user.  She gets along great unless there is any variety of snow or ice on the patch of walk between her house and her car.

The current guy who shovels her walk doesn't get this.  He doesn't understand that the whole point of her hiring him is not about avoiding a ticket from the city for sidewalk maintenance. She hired him because if there is any snow or ice at all on her walk, she is trapped in her house.  This is more of a problem than the fact that she lives on a secondary road that is never plowed.  After all, she's lived in Duluth.  She knows how to drive in snow, she just can't walk in it.

And because of her large van for the chair and all, and also because in winter it's hard to park on her street because it isn't plowed, she's the one who does all the driving when we go places.

Unless she can't get to the car.

So last night we got another five inches of snow.  (We had 49 inches just in January. We've lost count of how much since then.) Shoveling guy didn't show up. but we sorta expected that, so I had already arranged for someone to give me a ride to her house early, so I could shovel her walk.

It's a short walk.


...there is also now no more place to put the snow when you shovel it.

The piles of shoveled snow are already taller than they are wide.  The piles of snow on the right-of-way between the sidewalk and the road are already so tall that when you try to pull out of a driveway or at an intersection, you cannot see the traffic coming.  And she has a small yard, which is piled up just as high as the right-of-way.

Yeah, it's like Québec.

So even though the snow was fluffy and light, I had to pick it up one shovel-full at a time and walk it around to a low spot further along.  Also, I had to find a place to put the snow swept off her car, because it made a drift too deep to drive through unless you have momentum.

But hey, got that done.

Too the movies!

Got there and found that, though they had plowed the parking lot, they had not plowed it down to pavement nor salted it. So there was an inch of packed snow on the ground.  Easy to drive on. Easy to walk on.

Impossible to roll a wheel chair across.  (The little front wheels get utterly stuck.)

The only way to get through that kind of snow with a wheel chair is to pull it backwards.  And you use very different muscles when you pull than when you push.  And the snow means you have to pull hard.

Furthermore, this particular theater thought it would be cool to have a grand entrance with no parking within 30-40 yards of the building.  They do have lots of handicapper parking, but they also are located across from a retirement village, so the handicapper parking is usually mostly full -- if you get a space, it'll be quite a ways out.

So, we slog and haul backwards through the parking lot, then across lanes of traffic in ground up snow that's even deeper.  Up a long sloped median, and back down to the next lanes of traffic, across that and up the wide, sloped entrance area.  And all this time she's pulling as hard as she can on the wheels to help -- getting her gloves just soaked with the snow on the wheels.

My thighs, butt and upper arms are going to be very sore tomorrow.

By the time we got in, it was almost time for the movie to start, and the handicapper and companion seats tend to fill up, so we raced to the theater to claim the last spot.  Then I went out to get us some beverages. (My mouth was completely dried out by this time.  Did I mention that the high temperature was 13 today, and the air was dry as a popcorn's fart?)

I was worried I would miss the credits -- because when they show these classics, they do not have previews.  North By Northwest has credits by Saul Bass.  I didn't want to see this on the big screen and not see the credits.  It may not be exciting to non-designers, but they excite the heck out of me.  Also they end with one of my favorite Hitchcock cameos: he chases his own name off the screen.  (Here is the two minute North by Northwest credit sequence for those who are interested.)

Oh, and Foreshadowing: For those following the Plotting series, North By Northwest also has some interesting foreshadowing in the opening sequences but I'll just mention one.  It's a musical reference (just like Inside Man):  as Cary Grant enters the Plaza hotel, there's a quartet playing in the background. They are playing "It's a Most Unusual Day."  Which of course is exactly what it will turn out to be.

Anyway, it was a nice afternoon. And when we got to the Mexican restaurant to eat afterwards, we sneered at their pathetic attempt to keep us out by leaving piles of snow between the handicapper spot and the ramp.  (Their sidewalk and lot were actually beautifully clear.  That little pile wasn't much at all.  Amateurs!)

So.. now I'm exhausted, and I just want to do some reading and watching.  (And cooking.)  It's Spring Break. It's Mardi Gras.

Let's join BB King in letting the good times roll, baby.

See you in the funny papers.


Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

The moral of this story might be that everyone should move down South...except we've got freezing rain here this morning?! I'm beginning to wonder if we've somehow offended the Powers that Be. That really would make me steamed with the shoveling--so unfair to be trapped that way. Know any middle school or high school boys who need a few bucks?

That's a lot of trouble for seeing a movie! But the movie is a favorite of mine, so I'd have to say it was still worth it. :)

The Daring Novelist said...

Well, when you are Canuck by blood, moving south doesn't sound so attractive. (It's hot. And...snakes.)

As for the hiring of sidewalk help: Yeah, she'll continue to look. Hard to find people who are that reliable. We've got some friends right around the corner she can call on in an emergency, and if I can get over there, I do it too.

Lee McAulay said...

This sounds like a crazy adventure! With cakes. Mmmm, brownies...I will have to come round to your house... I'll bring a shovel (and a bottle of whisky).

The Daring Novelist said...

LOL, yes, we are happy to feed Minions on brownies and other treats. (Making "Peanut Blossom" cookies tonight.)

Unfortunately neither of us drink. (This may be due to northern blood: drinking may make you feel warm, but it will cause you to lose body heat way faster. So if you do drink and shovel walks, wait until you are inside in the warmth to take that tot.)

chacha1 said...

You are a good friend. :-) Glad you got to see the movie. I agree with you about credits!