August 2017

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Bobby is a bona fide meteorology nerd as well as a snowboarder, which means that he starts tracking winter storms sometimes a week or more out. I don't remember when he first told me about the developing possibility of a storm today; he updates me more or less daily, and they all run together after a while. Some fritter away, some come to pass (but usually tend toward the more modest accumulations), and the rare one comes to full, spectacular-as-in-major-accumulation fruition.

As the week progressed, this storm looked more and more promising. Bobby watches all of the different models (although, like an meteorologist, he has his favorites), and what was interesting in this case was that all of the models were in agreement, which is uncommon.

Tuesday night, we were eating supper (spectacular fried pork chops, garlic-cheddar mashed potatoes, and sauteed Brussels sprouts) and Bobby said, "If the storm is still looking good by tomorrow afternoon, I think we should hedge our bets in a major way."

We have a tradition several years running of staying up to watch cheesy '80s dance movies the night before we think we are going to get a snow day. Sometimes the school system calls it the night before; other times, we "hedge our bets" and trust that a storm is not only going to come to pass but that the school system will have the good sense to close if it does. If we think we might get a snow day, we'll start asking each other in the afternoon, "Do you think we ought to hedge tonight?" We watch (in this order) Footloose, Dirty Dancing, and Flashdance, one per night, so that our progress through the lineup becomes an odd metric of the severity of the season's winter weather. Last year, we ran through our cheesy '80s dance movie collection very quickly and had to come up with alternate plans.

So far this year, we have watched Footloose and Dirty Dancing (the latter was our Sunday-night fare before Monday's closure). I thought Bobby was going to suggest that we watch Flashdance. Instead, he said, "If the storm is still coming by Wednesday afternoon, then I'm thinking about reserving us a room at Liberty so that I can have a powder day on Thursday."

He throws these things out there sometimes, thinking I'm going to talk him out of it, but we are horrible enablers of each other's passions, and I said, "I think that sounds awesome!" It's not far enough away that, if the storm were to utterly fail, we couldn't get up super-early and leave directly from Liberty and still make it to work on time, although we were, of course, hoping to not have to do that.

So, of course, Wednesday I was refreshing the NOAA page every few hours to check on the storm, and at around 1 PM, I got the email from Bobby that I'd been waiting for: that he'd called Liberty and reserved us a room for the night. Getting out here wasn't without drama. It poured rain yesterday, so the drive home took forever. Our friend Dawn, who lives in town, was watching the Goldens for us; she was also watching her daughter's [hyper over-friendly] dog, and when Bobby dropped off the gentlemen, the new dog got into Phil's face and Phil attacked. Bobby hung around to make sure everything would work out. Phil attacked the new dog four times in all (because the dog wouldn't take the hint and kept pressing up in his face, which unless you are his brother, he will not tolerate). Finally, they settled down, but we were now 45 minutes behind schedule. Then the truck wouldn't start, so we had to unpack that and put everything into the Yaris, again in the pouring rain. Finally, we were on our way. We stopped for supper in Westminster, and everything was on the upswing. We pulled into the parking lot at Liberty at around 8 and Bobby's phone buzzed: Baltimore County schools closed for Thursday!

Rain or no, Bobby wasn't going to be about 100 yards from a mountain and not ride it, so he stayed out till the lifts closed and came back dripping wet and happy. We'd brought Flashdance with us, but our room didn't have a DVD player, so we watched it on my laptop and drank complimentary hot drinks from the lobby. Having made it through our entire cheesy '80s dance movie collection, we can officially proclaim this winter as bona fide. It was slow getting started--December was very warm and, during January, every storm we were supposed to get missed us and hit Boston instead (sorry, y'all)--but February was cold and we got precipitation. And one of the truisms about Maryland weather--that you can never count out March because we get some of our biggest snowfalls then--certainly applies this year as well.

When Bobby came in at about 10, the rain was changing to frozen precip, which was exactly as forecast. It was supposed to change to snow at 1 AM, and when Flashdance went off at about 12:30, the rain-snow band was inching toward us on the radar. So the meteorologists--who have had a horrible year and have been lambasted from all sides for their poor job in predicting anything--are finally redeemed on this one. If we get the upper end of what they're calling for, we'll end up with close to a foot (30 cm). We are in a slope-side room, and when I woke up this morning, I looked out at the mountain and thought, "Oh, it's foggy," before realizing that the "fog" was actually snow. A guy was using a Bobcat to clear the circle in front of the lodge. He'd clear one lane and start clearing the next, and the first lane would be snow-covered again by the time he finished the second. He's not out there anymore; I guess he gave up. (Nope, a guy will a larger snowplow apparatus is now swirling around and around in the circle.)

Here is the view from our room about an hour ago. Yes, there is a mountain behind that lodge; you can't see it, though, through the snow.

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Our room came with these adorable little chocolates that read "Take a Snow Day."

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Why yes, yes, I think I will!

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