2-15-2007 The aftermath

Up early today, since a front-end loader worked it’s snow removal magic right beneath my bedroom window this morning. I’m up. Although, I’ve slept a sum total of 8 hours during the past two nights.

It’s currently 6:30 am and a caller to WILK is saying he’s been stuck on Route 81 at the West Hazleton exit and has moved one mile since 8:30 pm last night. This is exactly why I skip the highways in favor of nearby local streets when the absolute worst of the inclement weather arrives. Yeah, it’s a helluva lot quicker to jump on Rte. 81 and head home rather than driving, say, Route 315 from Dupont to Wilkes-Barre. But if things go seriously awry, you could be sitting on Rte. 81 for hours. I learned that lesson a long time ago.

Here’s another thing to consider. If you’re driving an interstate highway in a very-lighted populated, bucolic county when a horrific accident involving fatalities occurs, you are probably going to be stuck behind the scene of that nasty wreck until a coroner can be gotten to the scene. That in itself can take hours all too often. That’s why a citizens band radio is a useful tool when traveling through area’s previously unexplored. The radio tells you what is ahead of you and you can ditch at the first available exit if need be and find an alternative course.

This just in: Another caller to WILK claims the state police have closed the entrances to northbound Rte. 81 right here in Wilkes-Barre. We’ve got plow trucks down the street on Penn Ave. and plow trucks behind us on Butler Street. One by one the neighbors are coming out and struggling to get their cars rolling. The snow pile on our smallish front lawn is the highest since we’ve lived here. The pile off of the driveway is fast approaching a new record. And I still have to dig my daughter’s car out of yet another pile.

I will say this, the folks on this street really pulled together yesterday. We moved a couple ton of snow by both shovel and snow blower for the better part of the day. We got a car out of here, and then moved another half-ton. We got a returning car back in, and then shifted snow from here to there. It was a work in progress all day long. But it sure helps that we’re a tight-knit bunch looking out for each other.

A tough storm to tackle

I hear that.

Having once cursed at four-wheelers for a living, I’m thinking this one needs to be sprinkled with a dose of fairness.

W-B councilman wants street-parking ban for large vehicles

WILKES-BARRE – A city councilman wants to ban drivers of tractor-trailers and other large vehicles from parking in residential areas of the city for extended periods of time.

Bill Barrett said residents have complained that such vehicles have parked on city streets, hogging parking spaces that are hard to come by. They have also made it difficult for some residents to maneuver out of their driveways and onto the streets because the large vehicles take up so much of the roadway, he said.

“They hinder visibility” on city streets, Barrett said. “People who drive them should park somewhere else.”

If you want to get yourself shot real dead like, there are two sure-fire ways to get it done. Mess with somebody’s woman. Or mess with somebody’s parking spot.

The only problem with the parking spot situation that often results in Hatfield & McCoy-type feuds is that no resident can claim squatter’s rights to any part of any city street. Many try, but nobody owns the street directly in front of their homes.

As it pertains to parking big rigs on our streets, is it really too much to ask to spend at least one night a week in your own bed? Truckers sleep at rest stops. They sleep at truck plazas. They sleep at weigh stations. Every once in a while, they take a $5-per-pop shower at some lean-to of a truck stop. They eat slop on most days. And they sleep at their delivery sites if said sites are not open for business just yet. But if they actually make it back home for some real peaceful rest, we’re going to give them a hassle?

Personally, I’ve slept in Bridgeport, Connecticut with a scuba knife at my fingertips. I’ve slept in the Bronx with one eye open. I once tried to steal a bit of shut-eye at a rest area in Danbury, Connecticut only to be awakened and hassled by a ruthless DOT prick checking logs to see if we were legal. And how ass-backwards was that? We’re mandated by law to get so much sleep per day. But when we pull over to sleep, they bang on the cab and wake us up?

I tried to nap at a rest area just south of Middletown, New York when a lot lizard climbed onto the truck wanting to know if I wished to slip my sexual probe into something much more warm, wet and comfortable. I declined that gracious offer. And in Suffolk, New York, a man did much the same thing only to be asked if he‘d like a steel rod slipped uncomfortably into his skull. With all of that typed, you non-professional drivers often wonder aloud as to why truckers fall asleep at the wheel. That would be because everybody is out to hassle them.

And here’s another consideration. If a trucker from Wilkes-Barre has a local delivery to make during the winter, he can’t just leave his rig at the local warehouse and then find his way home for a good night’s rest. Diesel engines of that size do not start by way of spark plugs. They self-ignite by compressing intake air and generating heat in the combustion chamber. And during the colder months, they need to be plugged into an electrical outlet so the glow plugs can artificially create the heat necessary to start the engine. And trust me, the local warehouse does not provide for that. So, you drop the trailer, you take the rig home, plug it in and try to make a baby with the wife.

If you’ve ever seen a rig started that resulted in a cloud of blue/white smoke too dense to see through, you’ve seen a diesel engine that started, but probably shouldn’t have due to cold glow plugs. In other words, the driver got lucky. Anyway, if it’s cold outside, the driver’s of rigs can’t just park them somewhere else and expect them to start the next morning.

So, if we ban big rigs from parking on our city’s streets, are we not legislating truck-driving residents right out of Wilkes-Barre?

As a licensed CDL driver, I’m just asking.

Hillary Clinton now has her own television show?

No more need for no PBS or NPR.

Here‘s a one-minute long video clip of a woman who typifies the average Republican candidate for office in this city.

I‘m back from some unexpected early afternoon snow shoveling excitement. I heard plenty of whining about the area’s road conditions on WILK this morning. Some callers were even demanding answers from our local politicians. Still another said the National Guard should have been mobilized. And an obvious stooge even demanded some PENDOTT higher-up’s heads on a platter. Steve Corbett went as far to say something to the effect that this should never happen to us again. What? Outlaw 36-hour blizzards? Or make them disappear just as soon as they hit the tarmac?

What the fu>k is wrong with these people?

Did the meteorologists not predict that this would be one humdinger of a 36-hour long snowstorm? Did they not? Did they warn us about possibly significant accumulations of sleet in addition to the snow? Did they not say there would be high winds, low wind chill numbers and drifting snow all over the area? And didn’t they warn to us to hunker down for a spell? Didn’t they?

So, Wednesday morning it was business as usual just as the height of the storm was pounding down all over us. Oh, but some of us heeded the advice and laid low. And guess what? We didn’t get stuck on any roadway. Nope, we got to sit home watching the video of all y’all stuck all over the place while chuckling at your predicament. My son even took a ride on his mountain bike. A very punishing ride, but a ride just the same.

And dig this. Wilkes-Barre declared a state of emergency banning all non-emergency vehicular traffic, but I sure saw plenty of traffic rolling by all night long. And I did get the biggest kick out of the auto clubs informing their marooned customers that they were overwhelmed and no more calls for a tow would be honored on this day. Malls closed. Businesses locked their doors. The Penguins game was cancelled. We had emergency vehicles get stuck in the snow. Ditto police cars. Ditto salt and plow trucks. Oh, but little Nicole in her dinged-up Neon will be just fine?

What the fu>k is wrong with these people?

I say again: You wanted snow and you got it. And now that you got it, once, heads should roll, people should be fired?

Maroons all.

Keep digging.