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Blizzard Etiquette

Parts of the northeast US are getting slammed with a “historic” storm as I type so that got me thinking of “blizzard etiquette”. So, before all the New Yorkers, Pennsylvanians and Jersey ehellions lose their power for the next few days, here is your chance to tell the world what proper blizzard etiquette is and isn’t.

{ 314 comments… add one }
  • ALM January 27, 2015, 6:07 pm

    I live in an area which got 3-6 inches of snow in the past day and a half. I got off work at 9 and went to my new house which I have not finished moving into yet (still have to get the shower caulked and the stove repaired) specifically to shovel the snow off the steps and sidewalk.

    I got there only to find one of my neighbors decided to ‘borrow’ my shovel and apparently keep it. (I had been keeping it on the porch along with the giant bag of salt which was apparently to heavy to steal.)

    If you need to ‘borrow’ a shovel, BRING IT BACK! It wasn’t put there for you to take.

    • Asharah January 28, 2015, 11:42 am

      My brother would bring the snow shovel inside so it wouldn’t get taken.

      • ALM January 28, 2015, 3:30 pm

        Yes, I’m doing that with the replacement. But I still feel justified in being annoyed. I am renting a room half a mile away and the landlady’s shovel sat on her porch for the past two years and was never touched.

    • Susan January 29, 2015, 8:01 am

      Years ago, someone stole my shovel to shovel other sidewalks for money. I saw him do it but he would not return my shovel and I was not in the position to take it back by force. I followed him to the end of the street (he was knocking on doors offering his services) to let my neighbors know he was a thief. No one hired him and a neighbor loaned me his shovel so that I could finish my walk. I keep my shovel inside now.

  • Jess January 27, 2015, 6:22 pm

    As an Australian this thread has been really eye-opening!
    we should have “heat wave etiquette” thread soon too
    Stay safe everyone 🙂

    • Marozia January 28, 2015, 1:53 am

      You got it!! It’s been hideous here in Perth.

    • FizzyChip February 16, 2015, 12:51 am

      Another “Perthie” here! I think a lot of what has been written here about blizzard etiquette is equally applicable to bushfire etiquette. Stay off the roads when told, evacuate when instructed to do so, look out for your neighbours & never take advantage of someone else’s misfortune.

      Stay safe everyone what ever your weather.

  • Yarnspinner January 27, 2015, 6:51 pm

    Dear Parents: In this city the library is a) a public government institution and b) not an after school daycare center. When the city leaders decide that it’s time to shut down schools, they generally shut us down as well. Your kids cannot come here and stay all day because, well, we aren’t going to be here but another fifteen minutes. Tell them to go home, stay with a neighbor or, since those of you who I am addressing are home (and I know this because you have admitted it on the phone) come and get your kid in timely fashion so she and I are not standing outside under an umbrella for forty five minutes because you wanted to see the end of a CSI repeat. Technically, I can legally allow your child to stand out in the freezing cold by herself and go my merry way, but it is not in my nature to do so. However, I am going to resent the fact that you have been home eating grilled cheese and tomato soup while I stood guard over your child.

    And no, I cannot drive her to your home myself as that would leave us open for legal issues.

    Regular patrons: ya’ll come in here every day when we open to get videos, take them home and then return them in the afternoon and get more. You know you are allowed 6 DVDs at a time. Not 7, not 9, but 6. If we are closing at two p.m. and you walk in at 1:30 to exchange DVDs, get them and go. We aren’t allowed in the building past closing time and we cannot allow you to stand in front of th4e desk for twenty minutes past closing trying to decide between ten DVDs. Pick six and GO home! It’s not getting any easier for us to drive or walk out there and we honestly wonder what you are doing out in this kind of weather when you don’t have to be. Go home already!

    • doodlemor January 28, 2015, 2:53 pm

      “….. get your kid in timely fashion so she and I are not standing outside under an umbrella for forty five minutes …..”

      Our small town library calls the local police at closing time if there are children still outside waiting for a ride. I think that the police either park across the street for awhile, or drive by frequently. The parents here know that this will happen, and I suspect that it motivates them to get the kiddies in a timely manner.

      It’s very kind of you to wait outside with unattended children, Yarnspinner.

      • Ant January 29, 2015, 5:34 am

        I agree about calling the police but “…park across the street for awhile, or drive by frequently…” No
        My mother used to work in library and, as a note on the door said, children under 10 must not be left unattended. Regardless of weather a child left found unattended would be brought to the front desk and a announcement made in the various sections for the mother/father. If no one responded in 5-10 minutes the police were called and the child would be taken to the police station (about 200 yards away from the library).
        Every few months some parent would come back to “collect” their child and yell at staff for getting the police involved when they “only nipped to the shops” etc. Needless to say once they had been to the station they were never seen again probably because child services was operated out of the building opposite the police station and most likely were involved in all these “lost” child incidences.

        • NicoleK February 5, 2015, 3:25 pm

          That’s awful. I remember biking to the library to get books as a kid. I cant believe I’d have my parents taken from me now for that. I’m glad I grew up in a saner world.

          • merpancake March 17, 2015, 1:54 am

            I worked at a public library myself and the only times we had to involve police for kids was when they were obviously too young to be on thir own, or when they caused trouble. We had lots of kids who would come in and get books, read, use computers on their own with no issue. It really depends on the kid and how long they were there alone.

  • Yarnspinner January 27, 2015, 6:57 pm

    And a post storm one:

    we have lost power in the past during winter storms and hurricanes. If the library is able to open post storm and we have power and you don’t, you are more than welcome to come in with your various items that need recharging, from kindle to phone to tablet to laptop. However, you can see there are a lot of people doing the same. We can’t watch them all. In fact, he can’t watch them at all.

    So when you bring your item in to charge, please plug it in to whatever outlet you can and then stay with your device. Don’t plug it in to the alcove the children’s department then go out for pizza and imagine your device will still be there when you get back. This isn’t Mayberry. And if you do go out for pizza anyway and discover that your phone is gone, don’t scream at the staff. We don’t have time to steal it let alone figure out who did. If it’s important to you, stay with it. We’ll probably even suspend the rules and let you bring the pizza in while you recharge the item (if you share a piece, so much the better, but that’s not important). Just please be responsible for your own stuff so we can do our jobs and not fill out police forms.

    • Bibianne January 28, 2015, 11:28 am

      Working in an academic library. This is true for ALL seasons. I am always amazed to see people leave all sorts of stuff unattended at any time. And then they go nuts when it’s gone. Our standard response to their face: “I am so sorry, let me call Campus police so they can process your incident” and such. Behind close doors: Seriously? how STUPID can you be? and no, no answers needed as that was a rhetoric question. We obviously KNOW how stupid you can be.

      • Julia January 28, 2015, 12:52 pm

        I also work in an academic library (and before that, public) and I just shudder at the things left laying about (laptops, charging phones, etc.). Our admission policy is rather strict so it tends to be only other students, faculty and staff. Not to say any of them wouldn’t steal…

        At the public library we once had a patron asking if we had a coat rack. I feel terrible knowing we all looked at him like he had two heads!

      • Amanda H. January 28, 2015, 1:42 pm

        Oh dear, YES. At university, there were constant reminders in the newspaper, via e-mail, and via flyer to NOT leave backpacks, laptops, etc. unattended throughout campus. Local thieves apparently knew this was a problem and would frequently wander through the library and student center to steal things.

        • NostalgicGal January 29, 2015, 12:15 am

          If at least you didn’t find someone colonized your stuff if you just turn your back… trust me my stuff doesn’t leave my sight in public areas like that! I’ll pack it up and haul it with me to the bathroom, it doesn’t get left to fend for itself.

          • Yarnspinner January 29, 2015, 12:38 pm

            Totally unrelated to blizzards but: there was once a group of gentlemen of leisure who played chess daily in the adult fiction rooms years and years ago. They were extremely unfriendly to people using the room to search for books and would pull things like deliberately shoving their chairs back if someone was walking to the bookshelf behind them to get a book. Eventually everyone using the room for research left to go elsewhere in the library (and in some cases, elsewhere in the county).

            One day a woman came to my desk in the reference room to complain that her pocket book was missing. Seems she had left it on a table downstairs because it was too heavy to carry. “I asked those nice men playing chess to watch the pocket book and they said they would, but now they are gone and someone swiped my purse.”

            My colleague, who was a library veteran to my newbie status, smiled gently and said “Well, the good news is that those guys are still watching your purse…..”

  • Cat January 27, 2015, 7:16 pm

    I had a friend who was a Franciscan sister. After mass one Sunday, she saw an old lady trying to navigate her way down the slippery, snow-covered hill on which the church sat. Without saying a word, she took the old lady’s arm, then lost her own balance and dragged the old dear all the way down the hill.
    The lady said nothing, but disengaged sister’s arm from hers and stalked off. Don’t grab people trying to be helpful. The road to Hell is paved with the best of good intentions.
    As a native Floridian, I can offer advice on hurricanes, but not on snow. If you are told to evacuate, do so. Hurricane Andrew blew the side off an entire apartment building, took the roof right off houses, and dropped large trees across roads. This is not the time to worry about your possessions.
    Wherever you are, keep your word to your neighbors. I received a phone call from the folks who lived across the street from me. They had gone north for a funeral and the lady next door had offered to care for their new puppy. (Big puppy). Some friends decided to stay with her during the storm we had not been expecting (those things can turn on a dime) and she decided she had no room for the puppy.
    She called the neighbors and asked what they wanted her to do with the dog with only an hour before the hurricane hit us. All the places that shelter dogs were filled. In a panic, they called me. I said to tell her to bring him to me. He stayed in my garage with my mini horses and mini donkeys as my four cats vetoed his being in the house. The stable was new; and I wasn’t trusting it until I saw how it held up. Puppy was happy sleeping with the equines in the corral I constructed with mobile horse fencing and shavings.
    Lastly, keep your hands off the neighbor’s hired help. I had two handymen who were cousins. They put up my hurricane shutters and came over to clear up my yard, using chain saws to cut up downed trees and limbs, moving debris to the street for collection, that sort of thing as they knew I lived alone. They were besieged by my neighbors who needed help to do things like clear away the added-on screened porch which had flown over the house and was now residing in the front yard. Take a number; they will get to you when they finish here. No, you cannot “borrow” them for the afternoon.

    • just4kicks January 28, 2015, 12:09 am

      @Cat: your friend certainly had the best of intentions, even though they both ended up taking a tumble.
      I think it’s terrible the old lady didn’t even muster a “thank you for trying to help me!”
      I’m in my 40’s, and my mom would still smack me upside the head if in the same situation if I didn’t thank her for her efforts, especially being a NUN!

      • Eva January 28, 2015, 7:14 am

        ” she took the old lady’s arm, then lost her own balance and dragged the old dear all the way down the hill.”

        Frankly in the boots of the old lady I would be shaking with shock or fear and my last thought would be to thank the one who dragged me down. Especially seeing how older people are more likely to break bones than younger ones.

        • Ai January 28, 2015, 10:31 am

          POD. I’m not sure why anyone would expect the old woman to thank her. Good intentions almost gave her a serious injury! Thanking someone who dragged me down a slippery hill would not be on my mind at all. Habit or not. I wouldn’t scream at them, but I would pull my arm away, shaking, and try to continue on my day (pretty much react like the old woman).

      • Cat January 28, 2015, 9:09 am

        Sister was glad the old lady didn’t smack her for dragging her down the hill. She meant well,but no one wants to be grabbed and dragged.

        • Cat January 28, 2015, 4:36 pm

          If anyone wants another nun’s story about when good manners go awry, Sister was English and was principal of an American Catholic elementary school in upstate New York. She got off to a poor start at the first PTA meeting. She welcomed the parents by saying, “I am so glad to meet so many homely people here tonight!”
          In England, at least in her part of it, “homely” refers to those kindly, down-to-earth folks that become your close friends. In America, it means you are very plain looking and should stay out of beauty contests.
          She also gave the first grade a beginning reading book from England. The children were puzzled when the letter “C” had an illustration of a beautiful rooster. C is for rooster? In England a male chicken is called a cock, not a rooster.
          She did eventually learn to speak American.

          • just4kicks January 29, 2015, 2:54 am

            Okay, okay. I apologize. 🙂
            Maybe a “thank you” for dragging an old lady down an icy hill isn’t warranted, but, I’m sure the Sister didn’t mean to pull her down. She was trying to help…it just went very wrong!

            We live next door to a very independent elderly lady for the last five years or so.
            The first few years, my teenage son’s would go over on snowy days and offer to shovel her driveway, which was always met with a nasty “I do my own shovelling!”
            Okay, just being neighborly, ma’am, if you need anything please ask us.
            A few more attempts at being nice were always shot down, very rudely.
            During an unexpected blizzard a few years ago, my husband went over and said he was heading to the store, is there anything we can pick up for her? “NO! I have a car!” Okay.
            The last time we attempted this was during Sandy, when after two days of no power, my kids and I were packing up to head to my folks house, about 30 minutes away, after they called to say their power was restored, come on over!!!
            We were grilling the rest of our persihables in the fridge on the back deck, and my husband made a plate of sausages, burgers, and other hot foods wrapped them in foil and walked over to our neighbors house. She had been watching my husband grill, and we thought she would like a hot meal. She opened the door, grabbed the plate from my husband, lifted off the foil and examined the food and then shoved the foil back on top of the plate and said, “No! I don’t like any of that!” …..And slammed the door in my husband’s face.
            That was the LAST time we offered help of ANY sort to her. Crabby old gal.

          • EchoGirl January 30, 2015, 2:25 pm

            Just4kicks, there’s a difference between asking someone if they want help and just reaching out and grabbing someone without asking. I agree that your neighbor sounds rude, but in every situation you describe, you or your husband *asked* if she wanted help. If the Sister had asked the woman if she wanted help, the woman had accepted, and then the Sister had slipped and pulled the woman down the hill, I’d agree with you, but she invaded this woman’s space without asking, tried to force her “help” on the woman, and then almost injured her severely. I’d be anything but grateful if that happened to me.

      • schnickelfritz January 29, 2015, 12:38 pm

        Not. The first thing you learn, when dealing with anyone with a cane, injury, walking difficulties, etc. (my family is full of these types of cases for generations) is you never, ever, ever approach a frail or injured person, and take HOLD of them. EVER. You ask them if they need help, and they latch onto you, in the way they need support. They will take your arm, and steady themselves, using your body as support where they need it, and then proceed. The approach of this “helpful” person to the Nun, obviously put the Nun off balance. It is very physically disturbing to the disabled person, to have someone take ahold of them in the wrong place. With my family members, we all know just to stand beside the person, you know which side by now, and they take ahold of you. It is usually the uninjured side you help with, as you would use your cane on the uninjured side of your body.

        While on the subject, if you are ever in a position, to push a wheelchaired person around in a building, always back into an elevator. If you go straight forward in, it is harder to get out, and deal with other passengers getting in and out. Back in, and you ride straight forward out. Much easier on everyone, and the patient is happier to keep an eye on the movement and people.

      • Skaramouche January 30, 2015, 5:33 pm

        Hehehe, just4kicks, I’m normally on the “say thank you” bandwagon myself but this brought to mind an old incident my husband mentioned recently. He was benching plates in the gym and had a large, strong friend behind him who was spotting. My husband was obviously struggling with the weight but it was intentional: 1) he was pushing himself to see how far he could go 2) he had almost failed before in similar circumstances and knew how to handle himself and 3) he had a BIG, STRONG friend behind him to help if he did get into trouble. A well meaning gentleman saw him struggling, ran over to him, completely ignored (or didn’t notice) the spotter, and hurriedly grabbed one side of his weight to “help”. This put an insane amount of unexpected stress on my husband’s other arm and could have resulted in a serious injury if the spotter hadn’t stepped in. The “hero” then self-importantly said “you should be more careful” and walked off, hero-style. My husband and his friend were speechless. The story makes us laugh to this day but only because nothing went wrong.

        • just4kicks February 1, 2015, 7:05 pm

          I’m wrong….I admit it! 🙂
          The lady shouldn’t have to say thanks for getting dragged down an icy hill, but I stick by my comment that I’m sure no harm was MEANT, even if harm was inflicted.
          My dad had MS, and my mom and dad both said that on several occasions, well meaning folks tried to grab my dad’s cane or his arm (without asking first) and can do more harm than good.
          I stand (pun intended!) Corrected! 🙂

  • KitKat January 27, 2015, 8:08 pm

    1) Keep an extendable shovel in the backseat (not the trunk) so that if you do get stuck, you can get to it. 2) Also, I live in an apartment complex and I keep a regular snow shovel in my laundry room in case I have to clear in front of my door.
    3) Keep an extendable brush/scrapper in your backseat.
    4) Invest in a crank flashlight (no batteries needed).
    5) Take out your trash before it gets bad if you live in an apartment. Trashcans fill up faster than you think.

    When I lived with my parents, I’d clean their driveway with the snow blower and head over to the next door to do the neighbors since she had no business being out in the cold (geriatric). Then, I would hop in my car and go clear my grandma’s driveway by hand if her neighbors didn’t do it already (the one always snowblowed her part of the sidewalk.)

    • NostalgicGal January 28, 2015, 12:56 am

      That is a #1 list item before we get hit with bad weather; to canvass the house, fridge, etc and send all the trash to the dumpster. It is much better to lug it across clear pavement than glazed black ice in the middle of pelting crud; and after living with it for three more days until it lets up enough out there for you to make it to there; you’d rather not be that intimate with it that much longer.

  • PrincessButtercup January 27, 2015, 9:09 pm

    Some really good thoughts here.
    I live in the south where if there is talk of maybe having flurries, they close the schools… However, I desperately want to move north and hubby is applying to all sorts of jobs in Pennsylvania so if we get our way this information could be useful in the future.

    • just4kicks January 28, 2015, 12:11 am

      We do live in Pennsylvania, and our kids had off yesterday and today, even though we barely got a coating in our area today.
      I bet the school administrators were kicking themselves when they realized they could’ve easily gotten in a full day of school today.

      • NostalgicGal January 30, 2015, 1:21 pm

        I wrote elsewhere about our Prairie Blizzard… about 3-4 years later, everyone had snowmobiles, they were so much handier to get to the road (and park a vehicle at the approach so you didn’t have to get into your rural yard then) and more. Call a snow day and most of the rural kids could and would manage to get into town anyways, go to the soda fountain at the drug store, and spend the day there. School quit calling snow days. A few kids got snowed in in town and had to go to their backup sleepovers (required for all rural students to have somewhere (usually a relative’s) in town to go to if needed). Parents COMPLAINED at next school board meeting. They’d asked someone at the drug store to take down names… and that was counterwaved. Your kids can get in town to drink soda and eat candy most of the day, they can go to school instead. Instead of 10 snow days allowed for they dropped it to three and instigated a ‘spring break’ around beginning of March of a week. Most parents wanted to do a midwinter vacation so they accommodated them.

        Also every few years we had a mid winter basketball game where they held it anyways and parents that came in with the visiting team would get snowed in as would most of the rural parents, and after everywhere that would take someone in had, they would have to bunk them in the gym on tumbling mats. That never went over well, but it happened.

  • Anonymouse January 28, 2015, 12:00 am

    This may not be an issue for everyone, but if you need to plug in your vehicle, DO NOT PLUG INTO SOMEONE ELSE’S HOUSE. If you do not live there, the extension cord is not for you…

    • NostalgicGal January 28, 2015, 9:32 am

      And don’t pull a massive riot act if the person that does own that cord comes to claim it. Especially to get you to move your vehicle out of their shoveled spot and get THEIR car plugged into THEIR cord in THEIR parking place.

    • Ai January 29, 2015, 11:58 am

      …Wow…I’m not sure if this is how it works but I wonder if those same people offer to pay for part of the electricity they stole. I seriously doubt it. Rude thieves basically.

      • Anonymouse February 4, 2015, 10:32 pm

        It’s only happened to us once. My landlord caught the guy as he was plugging in his extension cord and told him he did not have permission. The guy ignored him, plugged in anyways, and walked away.

        The landlord unplugged his car and took the extension cord back into the house. Then sent a text to my husband so we could come get it when we got home. We live about 2 blocks away from a technical college, so the car was there all day. The cord-thief came back about 8 hours later and left a note for the landlord telling him how rude it was to unplug someone’s car and how he had to call a friend to come boost him because it wouldn’t start after (this is Saskatchewan, -40 Celcius winters are the norm, not the exception). I’m assuming the irony was lost on him.

        Note: Our house is street parking only, so the man was not asked to move his car, only not to plug it in. Not an unreasonable request.

  • Delta January 28, 2015, 12:01 am

    For those of you who live in apartments, if you know you have elderly neighbors, consider taking a moment out of your day to make sure they are alright. My husband and I keep an eye on 3 couples who are our neighbors, who are well into their 90’s – and although they all are able to drive and whatnot, we clean off their vehicles, shovel around them, and if necessary, ask them if they need anything if we’re going out to get necessities before a storm hits so that they don’t have to. A little kindness goes farther than you think. 🙂

  • Kat January 28, 2015, 12:58 am

    How about not saying to people who have to work how criminal it is that they are required to be out. I work in supply chain logistics, and the runs on grocery stores are the reasons we have to work through storms and immediately afterwards. I’ve had to bite my tongue to stop myself from saying “If you stopped hoarding milk and bread, a lot of people could actually stay home”. The US only has a three day food supply in stores if trucks stop, so all the people who make it happen have to work. We don’t get the recognition that medical personnel and emergency crews enjoy, but we do important work.

    • Michelle January 28, 2015, 10:35 am

      To @Kat- I just want to say that I appreciate you. Even though we live in the South (Georgia), we don’t make the milk and bread runs that most folks do when they say “flurries”. When we got walloped last January & February with snow/ice storms we had plenty of non-perishables and were fine, but after 3 days of soups, oatmeal and chips, I was craving fresh vegetables and fruit. I was overjoyed when the roads cleared enough to safely make a trip to the grocery store and get fresh vegetable, fruits and meats.

      Also, the January 28th snow/ice storm was forecasted, but I think it hit a little earlier than expected, so everyone in our town all got sent home early as well as all the schools getting out at the same time. Traffic was a nightmare. My husband’s car was in the shop at the time, so I had to leave work and go get him and then go home. That normally would take about 30 minutes. 3 and 1/2 hours, we creeped and crawled through the snowy, icy roads. People would get impatient and start trying to drive on the sidewalks or the sides of the roads and create an even bigger mess. One car tried to bypass the line in a snow/ice covered passing lane and started sliding right toward us. I don’t know how, but luckily, they got it stopped and the look of sheer terror on that woman’s face matched my own because I was convinced she was going to hit us, cause us to slide into the people beside us and create a one of those wrecks that closed the roads! Slow down and breath deep, folks. We are not intentionally trying to keep you from getting home. We all want to get there.

  • AnaMaria January 28, 2015, 12:58 am

    As a teacher:

    I do not know of a single school district where teachers get to decide if school is canceled or not- the decision is made by district administrators and/or bus companies. Do NOT post nasty messages on social media or send snotty emails to your child’s teacher blaming them for school closing or not closing. It is your responsibility to have a back-up plan for childcare in case of a snow day or any other school cancellation.

    It is also your responsibility to have a plan in place in case school closes early. It is not fair nor safe for teachers to have to sit and wait with your children as the weather gets worse and worse.

    Don’t whine (especially not on your district’s facebook page!) about how teachers are lazy and have the day off. In the district where I work, teachers get one free snow day per year. After that, we must either a) use one of our two personal days or a day without pay, b) attend professional development or volunteer activities outside of regular school hours so we can “bank” the hours to use for a snow day or c) drive through treacherous roads to sit in our empty classrooms and clean or do prep work. If you do live near a district where teachers do get every snow day off, and you’re jealous, you can always go/go back to school to get your teaching license. Sidenote: the teachers that stay home are probably using the time to work from home and/or entertain their own snowbound children.

    • cleosia January 28, 2015, 9:18 am

      Sounds illegal to me. The law here is, if you cannot get to your job through no fault of your own, the your employer must give you the day and not require you “pay” for it in some way, i.e., using a vacation or personal day.

      • Meegs January 29, 2015, 9:05 am

        No, its definitely not illegal in the US.

      • Anonymouse January 29, 2015, 3:06 pm

        According to the Department of Labor, if an employee performs any work during the work week, he or she must be paid their full, normal salary. Consequently, if an employer closes because of inclement weather such as rain, snow, or other emergencies, if the employee has worked that week, he must be paid his normal salary.

        If the employer closes the business for the day, the employer may not make deductions from exempt (i.e non-hourly) employee’s pay for absences he caused or was caused by the operating requirements of the business. If the exempt employee is willing and able to work, an employer cannot take deductions from his or her pay when work is not available.

        If the employer decides to close part way through a day, for example, if weather is worsening and/or a state of emergency has been declared by state or local officials, he must pay exempt employees their full salary.

        If the exempt employee chooses to take the time off during a rain day, snow day, or other emergency, and the employer is open for business, the employer may require the use of vacation time, paid time off or other accrued paid leave. If the exempt employee is not yet eligible to use accrued paid leave, the employer may take a deduction from his or her salary for a whole day of work missed.

        According to http://humanresources.about.com/od/employment-law/qt/employee-pay-for-snow-days-rain-days-and-emergencies.htm

    • Michelle January 28, 2015, 10:46 am

      My son was one of the kids that got “stuck” at school when NW GA got a snow/ice storm last January. It was forecasted to hit later than expected and not be as bad as it ended up , so alot of children got stuck at school because the buses stopped running. High schools are always the last to get picked up, so there were quite a few kids. After spending 3 & 1/2 hours crawling home ourselves, my husband decided that he was going to get our son. ( I was freaking out thinking he was going to be stuck at school for a couple days or until they sent snow plows to get them!) He spend another 3 hours crawling out to the school and crawling back. He said there were at least 200 kids still at the school. Some of the teachers and the principal were also basically stuck at the school because they could not lock up and leave the kids.

      The nasty social media messages were over-the-top. The schools were going on the forecast and they thought the kids would be home before it hit, but you would have thought the teachers and superintendent had purposely planned it. Now, I do think the superintendent should have tried to help come up with a plan to get the kids home so the teachers and principals could also go home, but instead, he just went home and didn’t answer his phone.

      • Lizajane January 28, 2015, 7:02 pm

        I’d have been nasty, too, if the superintendent went home and left students and staff stranded. But it would’ve all been directed to the superintendent.

        • just4kicks January 29, 2015, 3:04 am

          A little off topic, but the superintendent at our school district is a jacks$$.
          A few years ago, one of the middle school girls committed suicide after repeated bullying.
          It was well documented that she had gone to the school counselor every week for help, and nothing was done about it.
          Her mother asked for a school board meeting to.discuss how we could better help those kids in the same situation.
          Our fabulous superintendent stood up and said how dare the mom blame the school for her daughter’s poor decision to end her life, and maybe the parents need to examine THEIR part in their daughters suicide. More than half of the folks there marched out of the meeting without another word.
          I’m not saying he was completely wrong, his delivery however was very insensitive and horribly timed, and no one has ever looked at him the same after that.

          • Michelle January 29, 2015, 9:33 am

            SMH- he had a terrible case of “foot in mouth”.

        • Michelle January 29, 2015, 9:28 am

          Absolutely @Lizajane. Most of the messages directed at the superintendent I actually agreed with. The ones directed at the teachers & principal were the one that went way too far.

          BTW, that superintendent is in hot water now. The Professional Standards Commission has recommended revocation of his professional license due to complaints that he covered up sexual harassment charges and lied about finances during BOE meetings.

  • Whoop January 28, 2015, 2:12 am

    We live in a garden apartment complex, and our unit is right next to the parking lot. Since we have cat, we tend to leave our box of cat litter outside of our door so that someone can use it if they get stuck.

    Interestingly, unless we are around to offer it out to people, many people don’t use the litter even though it is sitting right there. From my window, I’ve seen people take long, pensive looks at the litter, then sadly turn away and continue their futile attempts to coax their car backward and forward. I usually run out and offer the litter at that point, but it warms my heart that people are so opposed to “stealing” that they won’t take the litter without asking, even when they obviously need it! (We’ve tried leaving a note on it, but it usually falls off quickly. Also, we use higher-end brand name litter – close to $50 for the box – which might make people less inclined to use it without asking).

    A related story that I find funny – although most people who do use the litter are very sparing with it, we did one time have someone empty an entire box (a VERY large one) in one shot. The person was parked directly in front of our house, and had been badly boxed in by piled snow because it was long after everyone had already shoveled themselves out. As she was walking to her car, I happened to be cleaning off my own car right next to hers and so I offered to help her out. I had to shovel the area between us anyway, so I might as well shovel a bit more and free her car while I was at it. She refused and said that she was just quickly grabbing something from inside the car at the moment, and that she didn’t expect to have any trouble later. She apparently thought that her SUV could handle just pulling out without shoveling. For all I know, she could have been right and it was none of my business, so I did not push, but I pointed to the box of litter and the shovel that we usually leave out and told her that she could feel free to use it if she needed.

    I guess she needed it, because we found an empty box on our porch a couple of hours later, and mountains of litter in the spot where her car had been. (Again, this was a VERY large box. It would have taken a lot of effort to have moved it over to her car and just poured it out. Most people just take a couple of handfuls). The snow had not been shoveled at all, so she must have just poured it on top and hoped for the best. We never did get a thank you or acknowledgment from this woman, but my husband and I mostly just laughed the whole thing off with no ill feelings – I had offered the litter, after all, so this was the obvious risk that I had decided to take. It’s entirely possible that she was in a rush and either did not know what she was doing, was not paying attention, or somehow slipped and spilled the litter everywhere. I wish that she had done us the favor of discarding the empty box for us, but I can imagine that she may have known what she had done and somehow thought that re-placing the empty box would ease her guilt somehow. Still, I can’t help but giggle a little every year when we put the litter outside, and my husband and I are always sure to reserve a little baggie for ourselves these days. You never know!

    • Ulla January 28, 2015, 6:59 am

      😀 Nice gesture from you, but it took me longer than I like to admit that you were offering the litter to help stuck cars. I was thinking that maybe your neighborhood has vast amount of cat owners who might be running out of litter midstorm and can’t get to buy some more because their cars are stuck.

      • leila January 29, 2015, 5:43 pm

        I thought the same thing basically the whole way through the story… in my defense, I’m a San Diego girl and my whole life we’ve had to drive an hour or two into the mountains if we want to see snow once a year!

        Still, sounds like that lady owes you a “thank you” and batch of homemade cookies!

        • Whoop January 30, 2015, 3:45 am

          Thank you for the replies. I’m starting to think from your confusion that this particular neighbor may have been from out of state and had not experienced a winter like this before, or perhaps she had otherwise never heard of this particular use for cat litter. It certainly makes the whole situation more endearing if I think of it that way! Poor woman! It’s always difficult to be out of one’s element.

          I grew up in a house full of cats and with a mom who was a Midwest native – she grew up on a steep hill and knew all of the tricks. My siblings and I are all of us excellent drivers in the snow because of this. Considering recent weather trends, I am very grateful.

    • magicdomino January 28, 2015, 10:50 am

      Is this the old-fashioned clay litter, rather than the now-more-common clumping type? While non-clumping is great for ice, clumping litter turns to slime.

      The one time I had to make an emergency grocery run before a snow storm, it was to buy cat food. I have no interest in being trapped in a snowbound house with four very hungry predators. 🙂 As it turned out, the all-natural stuff from the much less crowded health food store was Not Acceptable, and I ended up hiking to the 7-11 for Meow Mix.

      • NostalgicGal January 28, 2015, 1:11 pm

        Oh yes, they have you well trained. I try to keep one bag full on pantry shelf of purrfood for them as well (anti-buggie sealed, but when I open that one I buy another immediately so they always have 16-20# of their favorite in the wings).

      • EchoGirl January 29, 2015, 3:31 pm

        Sounds a little like my cat! She’ll eat wet food pretty much indiscriminately (though she does have favorites), but dry food is another story altogether. I adopted her from an adoption fair inside a pet supply store, and they gave me a free bag of a very expensive kind of food as part of the package (I also got her adoption fee waived completely; it was a great deal). She ate it, but not very much or very fast, so when I bought the grocery store brand I was planning to feed her from that point on, I assumed her pace would be about the same. She eats about twice as much of that as she did the expensive stuff.

        • Jools January 29, 2015, 8:00 pm

          As always, Breaking Cat News knows cats all too well, as the report entitled “The People bought expensive cat food” illustrates: http://www.breakingcatnews.com/comic/the-people-bought-expensive-cat-food/

          My cat will happily eat pretty much anything, but she does love cheap wet food. I can’t stand the smell, so she gets it on the rare occasions when I’ve realized I’m out of expensive wet food and the pet store is closed, so I have to run out to whatever’s open.

      • Whoop January 30, 2015, 3:32 am

        Hi – I’m glad to report that our stuff clumps like the Dickens. It’s awesome as a wheel grip – just a little bit will get your car right over that ice clump!

        We have a big pooper and a tiny apartment. The brand name is “littered” with so much hyperbole that it reads like a Spike TV commercial, but it certainly delivers. It is the only brand that does anything at all for us. We obviously have to scoop and change the litter very often, still, so we buy it in massive bulk online; hence, the big box.

    • Cat January 28, 2015, 4:41 pm

      I think I’d purchase the cheap, non-scented, non-clumping cat litter for snow purposes and save the more expensive stuff for the cat.

  • Whoop January 28, 2015, 2:41 am

    Another item that I thought of:

    I am something of an expert on roads. This is a safe driving tip for any situation where you find that you have to slow down to 20 miles or less below the speed limit and/or when visibility is low. If you absolutely must slow down due to weather and/or if you are having trouble seeing the cars in front of you, you should put your hazard lights on. Hazard lights make it easier for those coming up behind you to judge your distance and speed, and act accordingly. In low visibility situations, it can also help the people behind you to see turns and such, because they can more easily see what the cars in front of them are doing.

    I am amazed by how few people do this simple thing, but is also interesting how quickly the people behind you will catch on and do the same thing once they see you doing it!

    • NostalgicGal January 28, 2015, 9:36 am

      And clean off your lights so people can see them! If they’re caked solid in the back ad sides they still won’t show.

      • MM January 28, 2015, 12:22 pm

        Also, please clear snow off the top of your car! If you don’t, once you start going fast that snow will come flying backwards off your car and hit the windshield of the car behind you, creating whiteout-like conditions for them.

  • Jennifer January 28, 2015, 6:26 am

    This one might seem obvious but it happens with my neighbors all the time. It’s great you have a snowblower. I do not. I shovel by hand. My husband can’t he has a really bad back and heart condition. Please don’t wait until I am completly done hand shoveling my driveway to pull out your snowblower and start blowing it back into my shoveled driveway or into my back yard where my dog and children may be playing. Do not get mad at me when I tell you to stop (everytime for the past 12 years). I don’t care that you say you have nowhere else to throw the snow. You have a front yard and a backyard. Leave mine alone. Waiting till the wee hours of the night to do it is also a not nice move. Especially when you blow it back behind my car and I have to shovel bunches of snow again.

    • The Elf January 28, 2015, 8:38 am

      When I’ve blown snow onto already shoveled surfaces, I *get out my shovel and clean up my mess*. Crazy concept, I know. I’m betting you wouldn’t object nearly so much if the inconsiderate neighbor did just that. After all, sometimes it really isn’t possible to avoid making the mess. The problem is the lack of consideration to you.

      • Jennifer January 28, 2015, 10:55 am

        I object because we our driveways abut and the blow it there on purpose. Plus the blow it into my fenced in backyard. He feels he has a right to use my yard as his snow disposal area because he has lived there longer. My driveway is longer and I need to shovel up to and into my fenced backyard to get to my back door. He thinks it’s hilarious to see me have to go back out and reshovel. He is not very nice.

        • The Elf January 28, 2015, 1:39 pm

          Sounds like a real prize.

        • Ant January 29, 2015, 6:51 am

          Sounds like he’s a bit of a ####. I wouldn’t try and play his game and try to dump snow on his land: you will get into tit for tat petty war. Given it’s snow going to the police will do nothing.
          My approach would be to buy some cheap and fragile plant pots or plants and place them where they are likely to be hit by his snow. Then film him when he’s dumping snow. If/when he hits the fragile items it’s criminal damage rather than just being a nuisance neighbor so the police are more likely to take note and give him a formal warning.

          • mrsvandy January 29, 2015, 11:13 am

            Actually depending on where you live putting snow on your neighbors property is illegal and the police will do something about it. In my small city there is a large fine for doing that. There is an even bigger fine for shoveling your snow on the road.

          • Ant January 30, 2015, 7:20 am

            Given it’s been going on 12 years I suspect this is not an area where the police have any real powers on snow “littering”. Of course the poster may just not want to involve them in this matter. For me it’s clear he is not going to change of his own will, so it is time to step things up a bit and have someone in authority talk to him

  • lnelson1218 January 28, 2015, 9:55 am

    I agree with many of the blizzard/snow etiquette mentions.

    Again cannot say enough times, please clear all anow off of your car. If the SUV is “too big” for you, why did you get it in the first place?

    Use common sense, if you do not have to be on the road, don’t be. But then don’t expect other non-essentials to be there either. Delievery in a blizzard? Seriously? Jon Stewart poked fun at that concept last night.

    I would like the weather people to not hype up a storm to the max, especially if Mother Nature has a luagh at us and the storm ends up not being as bad. Yes, we got some real snow fall in the NE area. But there have been storms where the news people predict doom and gloom and it warms up just enough so that it rains (let’s not go the flooding route for the moment). No mountains of snow to be had.

    To people who are sholving, please be sensible where you put the snow. Yes, often there is limited space, but that doesn’t mean that you should dump the snow in the street or on a neighbor’s driveway/side walk/etc. Those mountains on corners are hazardous.

    I can hardly wait for spring.

    • SingActDance January 28, 2015, 11:23 am

      I got a big SUV in the first place so that I could haul a lot of stuff. And when I bought it, I lived in the South, never anticipating I’d be living in New England one day. Of course I make every attempt to get the majority of snow off the roof of my car, but I am not climbing onto my ice-covered running boards (risking major injury) to get every last tiny bit of snow off the roof.

      • cdubz January 28, 2015, 12:12 pm

        Use a broom? Get a step stool from inside? Find someone really tall?

        I’m sure you know, when you are driving down the road the ice and snow from the top of your car goes flying at other cars, creating hazards. My husband nearly go into an accident one winter because someone couldn’t be bothered to clear off the roof of their car, and the flying snow and ice hit his windshield and almost sent him off the road. It doesn’t take much, either, especially on the highway.

      • Kirsten January 28, 2015, 1:06 pm

        Then use a broom.

      • The Elf January 28, 2015, 1:40 pm

        Use a stepstool. That’s what I do. Having a tall vehicle is not an excuse.

      • MsDani January 28, 2015, 3:57 pm


        Well thank you for being that inconsiderate person who refuses to buy an extension brush to clean off the roof of your SUV. If you cannot properly maintain your vehicle maybe should should trade it in for a Fiat! I realize that I am being rude but I have have too many almost accidents from snow chunks flying off the car in front of me and into my windshield. I too own a large SUV and I am sure to keep the running boards clean and I bought an extended snow brush for that reason.

      • Kimstu January 28, 2015, 6:53 pm

        Two words, @SingActDance: Long-handled broom.

        Or maybe that’s three words? Anyway, yes, you definitely should get ALL the piled snow off your SUV roof, not just “the majority” of it. If climbing up to clear the snow is unsafe, then get a broom or other device that will let you clear it while standing on the ground.

        Nobody minds if you leave some sprinkles and streaks, but don’t go driving around with a “snowhawk” ridge down the center of the roof or other piled-up accumulations. It’s your responsibility to keep your vehicle from being a hazard to yourself or other drivers in the snow. You don’t get a pass on that responsibility (etiquette-wise or in any other way) just because you didn’t expect to be driving in snow when you originally acquired the vehicle.

        • lnelson1218 January 29, 2015, 1:53 pm

          Thank you to the above who were able to phrase what I couldn’t figure out.

          While our driving today, a delivery truck clearly didn’t brush off the snow from the roof and fortunately there was traffic (hard to say, but) because when the snow came flying off the top and landed in front of me, I was fortunately going very slow and a few car lengths behind.

          Plus it was the icy stuff. Not good.

        • Hollyhock January 30, 2015, 4:30 pm

          “Snowhawk” made me laugh out loud, never heard that term before! thanks for the chuckle.

    • Kirsten January 29, 2015, 1:46 pm

      Also, once the roads are ploughed, some people have studded tyres for their bikes and will continue to commute by cycling. Snow flying off an uncleared car roof is dangerous enough if it hits another car. If it hits a cyclist, it’s lethal.

    • Anonymouse January 29, 2015, 3:15 pm

      SingActDance, unless you are driving a semi, you should be making every reasonable effort to clear ALL the snow off your vehicle. Get a step-stool or a longer brush. If you have a garage, park it there. If you still can’t get the snow, get a smaller vehicle.

      Especially if you are on the highway or freeway with snow on your hood, you are risking major injuries to yourself and others. You are creating a personal mini-Blizzard for the person driving behind you! Being short is not an excuse. Clean off your SUV.

      • NostalgicGal January 30, 2015, 1:34 pm

        At good sized truck stops, they have a rolling ladder with platform that allows a semi driver to easily clean his windshield or get to the top of his trailer… so there should be no reason he’s driving with all that extra weight (which eats fuel) and drag (which eats more fuel). Running through a pelting crud storm, yes they can load and ice up, and often need that sort of thing to trim that extra off.

        By same token if your vehicle is ‘too tall’ for you to clear, go pull in on the diesel side and ask to borrow the ladder. It will allow you to get up there and take stuff off. (I’m assuming you can drive slow and not far to a place that has such). Else you need a height enhancing device to get up to the top of your vehicle.

        Also when scraping and removing snow I always do the hood first, headlights and plate if you have to have a front plate, then driver’s windshield and side window first and continue around, taking care to do the roof as I go by and streeeeetttttccchhh to get rid of that center ridge… then the rear window and the trunk, rear lights, rear plate, and on up the other side until I get to the front again. Then rescrape the driver’s windshield if it still needs more. My DH would always do the driver’s view LAST and I finally got him to understand, if you started the vehicle and have the defrost going, doing the driver glass first meant it could WARM UP and not refrost the second you start moving. And it could be given a refresher if needed. Else it would usually immediately frost over and you couldn’t see ANYTHING. Also take the big chunks off at the rear of the wheelwells! Those dropping off big vehicles can be dangerous as well.

      • Anonymouse February 4, 2015, 10:39 pm

        That is true, as well, most semis that are not longhaul park in garages at night and tend not to build up that extra snow. I mentioned the semis as being the only excuse for a typical driver to not clean their roof. Semi drivers as a rule know better.

  • ergala January 28, 2015, 10:27 am

    Seeing a neighbor digging themselves out with a shovel. On our street the majority of my neighbors are elderly. My husband and I are the youngest family on the road. Everyone but us has a snow blower. Well we have one but it refuses to work right now. It takes me about 3 or 4 hours to shovel our driveway and walk way. I am always so happy when I suddenly see a neighbor appear with their snow blower and they start clearing the rest of my drive way. While they do that I will clear the walk way so that I am not covered in snow from the blower. It’s always amazing and so appreciated.

    But here is something I absolutely loathe. The people who drive as close to the end of my driveway as possible when they see me out there clearing the ice from the town plows that have formed a small fortress preventing me from leaving. There is PLENTY of room on the road for them to move over a little and they can clearly see me. But they will hug the side of the road and some of them do it right through the slush puddles so that I get sprayed with freezing slushy water. Most of these people are college and high school students. I can see them laughing too as I turn around. They do it to everyone out clearing snow. It’s not funny, it’s mean and it’s dangerous.

    We did hire a plow guy for this winter, it has been a savior for us. However as anyone knows with a plow it isn’t exactly the neatest looking pile of snow on the lawn. It drives me nuts but hey at least my driveway is clear! And my kids love the mountains it forms for them to slide down. However making a comment about how it looks like crud when it isn’t YOUR driveway is rude. Get over it.

    • ss January 28, 2015, 1:59 pm

      Deliberately veering into a puddle to splash someone is considered assault in some places. A guy in Michigan was arrested and charged because witnesses saw him deliberately veer into the puddle to drench a pedestrian. Check if the rule applies in your area and then you report his license plate next time. Let your neighbors know too so that multiple people are reporting it on the same person.

      • Ergala January 29, 2015, 10:00 am

        Here there isn’t anything we can do. They claim that they were avoiding an animal or large chunk of ice. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to leap out of the way of cars/trucks. I won’t get mad at the town plow for leaving me with a wall of ice at the drive way, though part of me wants to send them a partial bill for the plow guy I had to hire because it gets so bad at the end of the drive way. I couldn’t break through the hard slush and ice.

    • Yarnspinner January 28, 2015, 2:57 pm

      A friend lives across from a rather large condo complex. Every time there is a massive “snow event” the man she hires to clear her driveway comes over almost at once and clears her out. Unfortunately, this means that the guys the condo hires to do their driveways use hers as a place to put the snow. They have packed her in tight on several occasions and get downright rude when she goes out to haggle with her. Where ELSE are they going to put the snow, they want to know? She has pointed out that she doesn’t care where they put it as long as it isn’t in her cleaned driveway.

      On once occasion she stood in front of her driveway while they plowed. There are plenty of places for them to put the snow, but it requires a little work, while it is easier for them to shove the snow across the street into her drive. The guys see her standing there and fiddle around until she goes inside…then they do exactly what they claim not to do. She has resorted to taking pictures and sending them to the condo management, the company that does the plowing and local authorities.

      Each time the same guy apologizes and then the same guy who apologizes packs her in again. Then pretends to not speak English when she confronts him. It’s like he thinks if he denies it, it never happened.

      This year, she’s been lucky so far…but there’s still February to get thru!

      • NostalgicGal January 29, 2015, 12:20 am

        Turn the information over to the police. Piling without permission is something that the law can do something about. She pays to clear her drive, the boors that fill it up again owe her. She can always use small claims court.

  • Pixi January 28, 2015, 2:32 pm

    If you live in a complex where they have a plow come by during and or after the storm please be prepared to move your car for the plow when they ring at your door. If you have made plans to be elsewhere during the storm and choose to leave your car home (flying to Florida maybe) please make sure someone has a copy of your car keys and can move the car for you.

    Also if you are stuck with electric run heat and stove make sure you have blankets for warmth and food that doesn’t require cooking.

  • Nicole January 28, 2015, 4:04 pm

    I don’t get the bread and milk thing. When I stock up before a storm, I usually by the stuff to make a few pots of soup and a bunch of baking stuff. I figure if I am going to be home all day I might as well take advantage of it and make my own bread and maybe some cookies or a pie and a nice big pot of soup. Snow days just seem to beg for soup!

    • wren January 29, 2015, 4:10 pm

      When I was 14, I lived with my mom and sister and we were poor. A blizzard was beginning. My mother bundled up and trudged to the Safeway, coming back with a bag of Tootsie Roll Pops. It was a big treat for us. Even today, the mention of a blizzard makes me begin a mental list of the junk food I want to stock up on. Soup simmering — now, that’s a perfect snow day food. But you must finish the meal with a Tootsie Roll Pop.

  • Kimstu January 28, 2015, 6:40 pm

    I’ve never dared ask anybody this before, but what’s the ‘quette on making snow angels in the deep drifts on the edge of people’s lawns, or what would be their lawn if it didn’t have three feet of snow on top of it?

    Not talking about frolicking children here, but (generally) law-abiding grownups trudging home through the snow along a quiet street in the dark after a long day when they had to work despite the blizzard, flopping down into a comfy-looking snowbank and knocking out an angel. Um, just asking for a friend…

    • Jess January 29, 2015, 5:48 am

      while I’ve never been in a position nor do I expect to ever be in a position where a parcel of land that I own is covered in three feet of snow… I expect that walking out to see a couple of snow angels on my front lawn would make me smile – at least someone is enjoying themselves!

    • The Elf January 29, 2015, 9:36 am

      Eh, no big deal in my book. I suppose people can get their panties in a twist about property rights and all that, but as long as you aren’t walking into the yard and are just plopping down on the snowbank by the street, no big deal. If you have to actually walk into someone’s yard to do it, that’s a problem.

      Our yard is hilly, so we’ve had neighbor kids ask to sled down it. Fine, so long as they ask first. And they do.

    • sweetonsno January 29, 2015, 1:54 pm

      I vote no on this one, actually. I was going to post something to this effect earlier: stick to the cleared paths, and make sure that you don’t let your kids or dogs frolic in other people’s yards, especially strangers’ yards.

      Setting aside aesthetic preferences about angels, footprints, etc., the snow does a pretty good job of covering up plants, statues, lights, and other things that people use to keep their yards pretty. Running into one (or flopping onto one) could not only hurt the foot or back, but also the property. Most people I know would be pretty ticked off if someone playing in their yard stepped on/tripped over and broke their boxwood, rosebush, gazing ball, cherub, or lamp. Particularly enthusiastic play can also tear up the grass (depending on how frozen the ground is), which creates extra work for a homeowner in the spring.

  • David January 29, 2015, 4:12 am

    Think before you clear a neighbor’s walk, driveway and path – is how you are doing it going to create a danger?

    My mother’s old place of residence had a walkway that went to a driveway. The driveway was an asphalt slope that was fairly steep to the street. Because of the lot’s fencing, you needed to go down the driveway to walk off the property. You could – if you needed to – hold on to the fence and walk along a 2 inch wide strip of grass at the edge of the driveway along the fence line.

    Every time it snowed, the neighbor next door would clear my mother’s sloping asphalt driveway by shoveling it and then sweeping the snow. This would create a glass-like layer surface on top of the asphalt that was very slick.

    Since my mother didn’t drive and had to go to work or get fired, every day to and from work after this “helping” meant that my mother had to hold onto her fence and carefully walk the 2 inch strip they hadn’t cleared along the fence, then when the fence ran out she had to go into the bit of green belt they had, because the driveway was such a hazard for walkers.

    • Victoria January 29, 2015, 4:11 pm

      Did she ever ask them to stop?

      • David January 30, 2015, 6:38 am

        Yes, every year.

        I honestly think it never got through to him – he thought he was doing a great favor for his neighbor and probably thought she was asking him to stop just to be polite. I don’t think that he ever got that the ” Really, you shouldn’t have.” was dead serious.

        • NostalgicGal February 1, 2015, 9:14 am

          Dollar bag of cheap kitty litter after this KINDNESS would give traction. Toss a few handfuls of snow melt crystals down too.

          Too bad the snow clearer doesn’t “Get” it but.

          I went to one college for continuing education and they were built literally on/in a bluff, and we could get nasty ice storms during winter… and along every car path and even walking path, they had edged them with cast concrete pavers, cast with rough aggregate and with a sort of squared off cornered diamond pattern. Made for really good traction. A lot of us walked the inclines on those instead. At the worst places for steep or chronically slick they did install railings so you had a chance. We used the same rules for mountain roads, going up had right of way at a railing. Using the offside for walking meant busting your can for falling on ice so you were patient and took your turn using the railing.

  • Rowan January 29, 2015, 4:18 am

    Don’t throw snowballs at passing cars. Seriously. You may think it’s frickin’ hilarious but you won’t be laughing if a flinch from the driver causes a skid and they hit you.

  • Yarnspinner January 29, 2015, 12:46 pm

    1) If there is a news crew reporting on the weather, for the love of all that’s holy, please don’t stand behind the reporter and make faces or do other inappropriate things. Only one of you looks like an idiot and it’s not the reporter.

    2) News outlets: is it really necessary to co-opt the television programming for the entire day to tell us about what’s going on? We can see it out our window. We really don’t need to watch you freezing your nose off for six hours.

    3) Kids, it may seem like fun to lasso the bumper of a car and get towed up the street on your sled, but it won’t be as hilarious for you when the car stops short, you go under the car and get run over. It won’t be fun for the driver, either, or your parents. So just don’t.

    4) Folks, see that scraped right down to the cement sidewalk over there? That has been shoveled so you can walk there, safely out of the way of cars. Hiking down the middle of the street in the center of traffic struggling to get around you? Very special snowflake indeed.

    5) To impatient drivers, here’s a hint: not all of us have the thingamagummy that makes our cars levitate when you hit the horn. If I am trapped on the ice and my wheels are spinning, you can lean on that horn all you want: I am not going anywhere. (I knew someone who once got out of her car and said to the guy behind her leaning on the horn “Clearly one of us is not doing something right. How about I sit in your car and lean on the horn and you go and spin my wheels.” He got out of the car and pushed her.)

    • NostalgicGal January 29, 2015, 10:25 pm

      #4 is good IF everyone’s made an effort to make that public walk clear so you don’t hit an occasional cleared with ones that aren’t. If the clearing is patchwork middle of the street may be safer unless the traffic is heavy and/or the surface is iced and slippery.

      #5, a hill through a greenway, and Halloween Day snow, started up it and could see two vehicles near the top in the middle had met. In pickup with studded tires, traction was good, I was paying attention and decided to try it. 2 lanes each side plus ‘parking’ on side and a center turn lane normally… and off to the right I seen a white subcompact at the curb, and right about then I lost it. I did a complete 360 plus a chunk more degrees and was aimed directly at the rear of the white car. Mother and daughter braced for impact as did I, we did NOT touch. I couldn’t put my fingers between our bumpers, but we didn’t. We cheered. I was #5 on the hill. Over about 30 min we had more spinouts and more met each other, and filled the hill (I was about 3/4 of the way to the top). #16 in a big SUV at bottom of hill was going BEEPBEEPBEEP like we were all going to magically part and let them come up. Police had finally arrived and they had a long talk with #16, and by the voices, I think he got ticketed, mostly for talking back to a police officer with nastiness. They came through and interviewed every one of us to reconstruct that strung out disaster. Tow trucks were called and a gravel/blade truck came to go up the turn lane and lay a thick layer. I was able to back a little with a few shovels of the truck’s gold, get onto the layer and drive back down and leave. Some of us could just leave because after deposition, those that hadn’t hit anyone else were allowed to leave. I never went near that street again if it was a hint of snow, either.

  • schnickelfritz January 29, 2015, 1:10 pm

    My best tip for any type of storm warning: DO YOUR LAUNDRY ASAP! During the seasons of warnings for the entire nation / world, when there is a chance of power outage, and the warnings are coming out a couple of days in advance, do all of the laundry! You may have plenty of sweaters and sweatshirts etc., but it is the socks, pajamas, underclothing and towels that you are going to want, if the power is out for an extended period. You hear of areas being out of power for weeks – I can’t imagine that frustration.

    My go-to keep in stock items are extra laundry soap, toilet paper (I always have at least a 12 pack unopened at all times.) Extra boxes of tissues. Dry noodles, butter, muffin mixes, and jams. Canned tomatoes of all types. I don’t want to HAVE to go out for something urgent like toilet paper. I have a gas stove, it is operable without electricity. Baby wipes are great and those facial wipes too. Baby powder under your arms can extend your deodorant a day or so if you can’t wash up properly. Mostly we get snowed in, but have electric and gas. Just stay off the roads. I don’t drink a lot of milk, but skim milk lasts longer past the sell-by date than full milk or other. If you have no power and are bored, start cleaning out the junk drawers and closets etc. during the daylight hours if you can.

    Of course if the power goes out, and it is winter – the freezer and refrigerated food is packed up and put safely outside (your refrigerator is 35-40 degrees (f); so figure that for the outside temp; less than 30 (f) for frozen food. Make sure animals can’t get in your lids; put a couple of bricks on top of the coolers. Eat the perishables first (fruit and veggies).

  • chipmunky January 29, 2015, 5:08 pm

    Not snow weather etiquette, but bad weather nonetheless…

    Drivers, particularly those in Florida-we do get sudden downpours, and yes they can last all of 20 seconds. But, it is the LAW that you turn on your vehicle lights when it is raining. You may love your fancy car, and its beautiful silver sheen. But in a downpour, I cannot see you in front of me or behind me if your lights are not on. Same goes for just about every color of vehicle except bright red, green, and yellow. The rain is pounding down, and until they slam on the brakes, one has no idea there’s a car 15 feet ahead.

    I swear, half my gray hairs are from the fright these inconsiderate drivers give me.

    • NostalgicGal January 29, 2015, 10:29 pm

      I think some shades of very dark paint jobs and greys, and whites where there is a lot of snow, should be illegal for vehicle colors. You disappear if the sky opens up, or it starts pelting flakes, or you have issues and it’s after dark in a very dark place…. plus. My father had a silver/black LTD brougham, and the silver on a worn asphalt road on an overcast day, you could not see where the corners were on that car when driving it.

      • hakayama January 30, 2015, 8:30 pm

        @NostalgicGal: It would seem that DRLs should remedy the problem of visibility in bad weather.
        In NY, the requirement to turn on lights whenever wipers are in operation, was meant to fix the problem you propose by outlawing some colors. However, my most informal “survey” has shown that too many drivers are oblivious to what goes on beyond their shell. Also, at best, only one in twenty drivers “catch onto” a flicking lights signal to alert them to the need to turn on lights.

        Probably I am not the only one that dreads the prospect of your proposal to set colors for cars.
        I truly intensely dislike (see how I’m trying to avoid the word “hate”?) 😉 bubble gum pink, dayglo orange and phosphorescent aqua… Let’s face it, just about every color can become nearly invisible under the various weather/light conditions.

        • NostalgicGal February 1, 2015, 9:28 am

          I have shopped for cars at dealerships and they usually have a questionnaire and ask you are there any colors you don’t like? There I reiterate no white, dark dark colors and no greys. Some years ago, with worn asphalt roads and ‘silver grey’ becoming THE color everyone’s vehicle came out in, it wasn’t good. Silver disappears in snow too. Just because I want it outlawed for losing years of my life involving trying to see certain cars/trucks in certain situations, doesn’t mean I’m going to start marching for legislation. Just point that out. Some colors of vehicles are harder to see and if you want to be safer, don’t choose those colors.

          (Yes officer, the bus was with the green in that foot of snow and pelting; and the white subcompact CAKED with snow and not cleared turned out in front of us and stopped. The Driver STOOD UP on the brakes with both feet and said ‘we’re going to hit’ and we went crunch.)(White subcompact had tried the windshield wiper clearing, and their side mirror was caked, as was all the running lights, most of the glass and by appearance the head lights and it was wearing inches of snow. They could clearly see our orange/red bus, they were sitting at red, and they turned out a bus length in front of us and stopped dead. Driver had a car beside him so all he could do was keep it pointing ahead and do what he could to try to stop the bus. Bus we were fine, car got back end crumpled up and it was shoved about 5 car lengths. First thing bus driver said was ‘did anyone see that?’ as none of us had left seat and I raised my hand. He heaved a massive sigh of relief as that meant he had ‘testimony’ that the white car were knuckleheads)

        • Amanda H. February 1, 2015, 2:03 pm

          As someone who took her driving exam in NY, I can vouch for this. You’re *supposed* to turn on headlights when you need to use wipers so that you’re more visible, but not everyone does this. Some people just don’t pay attention, and many people are transplants from states where this isn’t a law. Add to that the fact that the police don’t usually pull people over to let them know/hand out tickets or warnings, and you get a lot of cars in rain/snow storms with their headlights off.

  • Whoop January 30, 2015, 3:03 am

    Just thought of this:

    My childhood home had a wonderful sloping front yard, which led to a wonderful sloping street that sloped perpendicular to the slope of our yard. My sisters and I would construct snow ramps at the base of our lawns to guide our little disc sleds down the sidewalk in front of our house. Now, the lawn wasn’t all that big and had a big tree and a flag pole, so there was only a limited area that you could really sled on the lawn itself – hence why we extended the fun with the ramp (also to avoid sledding right into the street!).

    One winter, some neighborhood kids decided to co-opt our yard. We’d wake up late on a lovely snow day to find that our yard had been pre-sledded to the point that it was no longer sled-able. Add to this that the interlopers did not make a ramp, so they must have been sledding directly into the street! It was heartbreaking at 10 years old, and terrifying to me now that I am older. What was worse was that we knew exactly which kids did it, because they talked about how awesome our hill was TO OUR FACES. They found out about the hill because we had invited one of their younger sisters to sled with us the year prior. Apparently they felt that we should have woken up earlier if we wanted to sled, so this was our fault for not waking up at the crack of dawn to protect our own lawn. There was no remorse from these kids whatsoever and, as a child, I was completely unprepared for their level of entitlement and self-righteousness. They were also older than me. I don’t know if I ever said anything to an adult – if I did, it went nowhere.

    Then, the following year, we got a dog. He wasn’t a very nice dog, but the upside was that our hill was pristine each snowy morning thereafter 😉

    Point: It is almost never OK to enter another person’s property without their express, time-specific permission – one invitation does not equal an open invitation. Also, this has taught me the importance of instilling my children with an understanding of personal boundaries.

  • lafred January 30, 2015, 2:57 pm

    Please make sure that the fire hydrants(s) near you are shoveled out- this could save you and/or you neighbors someday.

  • Ergala January 31, 2015, 9:03 am

    Last night I almost called the police. We were on our way home and it was almost 9 pm. The roads in town were horrendous and it was snowing, so visibility was low. I was in the passenger seat and had to tell my husband to almost swerve because there was a very small child in black or dark snow gear with another child sledding down a slope INTO the road! The road is a main road and the child was sitting right there on the edge of the road, pretty much in our lane.

    Parents, yes snow is fun. I have two small children myself and they love the snow. Please do not let your kids go outside unattended to play when you live on a main road…if this child had been hit the driver wouldn’t have forgiven themselves and I bet the parents would be blaming and using the driver. When it’s snowing and dark visibility is extremely low, the headlights bounce back off the snowflakes and plus on coming cars are somewhat blinding us. Not to mention salt is coating the windshield and doesn’t exactly come right off with fluid and wipers.

  • TightlyKnit January 31, 2015, 5:15 pm

    Another etiquette point to add:

    Similar to the point about taking too many staples (bread and milk), don’t take too much salt! Last winter we had a bad ice storm in Ontario and the salt, and kitty litter were sold out within hours. People still have salt stored from last winter. Think of your neighbours before buying the stores out of staples!!

  • Pixi February 2, 2015, 7:09 pm

    If you don’t live in the storm’s path be sensitive to the fact that others that you work with do.

    I live in central Massachusetts, we’re being hit with another snowstorm as I type this. No it isn’t a blizzard, but it’s bad enough that they closed the mall I work at at three today (informing the stores at three minutes to, but that’s a separate gripe). My husband picked me up at 4:15 and we got home at 6:00. This is a drive that normally only takes half an hour.

    Dear Husband does contract IT work and was able to work from home, but he had one user freaking out about how long it was taking to respond to an issue reported that day. This was during the three hour car ride to pick me up from work. He had another user wondering where the fix was on a bug reported on Friday, in both cases it’s literally my husband (who is a contractor and not a full time employee) and one other guy who are working on the issues. The other guy? On a plane from Colorado heading to Massachusetts.

  • MPW1971 February 2, 2015, 10:52 pm

    Far too many people have little choice but to risk the weather and go to work. Where employment is “at will” and people are not on salary, the alternative is to lose income, and possibly lose your job. Not everyone can telecommute – manufacturing and public utilities are right up there with “process industries” like steelmaking or chemical/petroleum production. You don’t just shut these things off – they run 24/7 and as long as there is power, they keep going. Shutting them down too is a controlled process and can take hours to prevent very costly damage. So while we should all be considerate of frivolous travel during snowstorms (i.e. that trip to the mall or library), a lot of people find it necessary to go to work. This is especially true of those who work part-time or multiple jobs.
    In my days living in Canada, I encountered only a few rude neighbors who refused to shovel their walk, or spied through the window when I had cleared a place on the street. In my 20’s I lived with my parents and while we had a single-lane driveway, I would clear the spot in front of the house so that we weren’t constantly shuffling cars. My able-bodied neighbor had a snowblower and used that on his driveway, but the street was, in his opinion, free for all. A few choice words ended this behavior, especially since he never cleared his sidewalk. That was the one time I was grateful that the retired busybody neighbor would report him each time he did that. It was a serious issue – there were two schools within a block each way of our houses.
    The biggest risk of losing electricity was losing heat and pipes freezing. Food can be preserved outside, and gas stoves may still work, but even gas furnaces require the electric control system and fan. That’s when the pipes could freeze – the solution to this being the moderately wasteful and expensive tactic of keeping the faucet running, or at least dripping.
    Never mind the milk and bread – I know I have more than enough canned and frozen goods to keep me going for at least a week. It may not be the greatest of choices, but in those cases function should be more important than taste. Not to mention that you can always eat most cans of soup, spaghetti, chili or vegetables without cooking them. It may be cold, but there’s no threat of starvation.

    • NostalgicGal February 4, 2015, 9:00 pm

      You can keep water running in a larger city or urban metro. In our town, a full tower and all mains are 500,000 gallons. If everyone runs their taps, it goes dry if there’s power out, after about 12 hours (I’ve lived through this. Though I don’t think the tower was full when we got the two day out). Especially when the lift pump is frozen under rock hard ice and takes hard work to mine down to. And pipes can freeze solid even if they are ‘running’.

  • WMK February 11, 2015, 8:41 pm

    The only blizzard etiquette I can think of is this:

    Having a vehicle with 4 wheeled drive is not going to do jack for you if the road conditions are icy/slushy. This means that you should slow the heck down if there are these condition of the roads. There is nothing that bugs me more than driving in crappy, snowy weather and having some jerk riding my bumper because I’m driving at a speed in line with the weather conditions (slow and steady).

    The best example I ever saw of this was the jerk who blew by me on the highway one day on my way to work in his 4×4 truck. I had to chuckle a bit when I saw this idiot further up the highway, completely turned around because he was going way too fast for the weather conditions and spun out. Fortunately, the only thing he injured was his pride.

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