Snow Day in Chicago, Before the Arctic Chill Arrives

Despite the large amounts of snow we’ve gotten the past 36 hours, yesterday I had to go and dig out our car and visit our house in Hyde Park. I wanted to go and check up on the furnace and condensate pump, and to just do a general check on all the bathrooms/sinks.

The back entrance to our apartment. It’s not terrible, but decently covered. The alley was a bit of a death trap for cars, though I eventually got rocking back and forth, and got through this section.

Some guy who never came out after the first snowfall, many days ago. With the extra 4-5 inches that got dropped the day prior, whoever owns this car has seemingly given up on it for the winter.

A look down our street, behind the apartment. No real room for plows, so when the snow accumulates, there’s a lot of digging to free the car… and then it’s kind of a gamble whether you can actually get out to the main road or not.

A view of our street in Hyde Park. A bit better overall, but the main roads were still pretty rough.

On turning onto Blackstone, I found myself pointed at a car that was half-jutted out into the street. There wasn’t room enough to pass by, so I ended up just throwing on my blinkers and waiting. An older lady was in the car, and an older man with a snow shovel was advising her (the car door was open). After about 3-4 minutes, I got out of my car, walked over, and asked if I could help.

They both were having trouble with the car’s parking brake, and didn’t know how to disengage it. I suggested a lever, and after the brake popped free… she was able to get going again.

The man’s name was Earl, and he apparently helps people dig cars out of their spaces. I wasn’t sure if he was just being helpful or not, but he referred to his “clients.” I mentioned that he must have been having a good day due to all the snow, and he replied “It’s just money. I’m getting too old for this.”

He was a super nice guy, and we hung out a while on the street, just talking.

Later on, when I was shoveling my driveway (still feels weird to say it), I ended up talking to some more neighbors. I met Bernie (who lives two doors north of us), and also saw Calvin and Diane again, as they were clearing out their driveway as well.

Despite the numerous times I’ve shoveled out the driveway and sidewalk in front of my house lately, it’s felt good every single time I’ve been out there. There’s something different about the work when it’s your own place. And while I’m still (still) adjusting to the idea of owning property, every time I clean up the place it feels like it becomes a little more mine.

Back home, looking at the back porch. It should be noted that this is a covered porch area, so most of the snow here has drifted in from an angle. It should also be noted that I left out this way several hours prior, and my footsteps from that time were totally gone. Snow always seems to provide a clean slate.

Chicago Blizzard 2011, Day 2: Early Morning
First Snow

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