scout in a snowstorm
I’ve always thought Scouts were really neat-looking because they resemble toy trucks so much. I would love to drive a rugged old truck like this but don’t feel I could justify it unless it was a hand-me down or I could do work on the engine myself. And there’s the gas mileage issue.
The headline about the weather was actually the second thing I noticed in the newspaper box this morning on 15th Avenue. First was what has to be arguably one of the gosh-dang ugliest mullets ever worn in sports, that belonging to the cranky, snarling and lanky Randy Johnson. He was a nearly 7 foot tall fireball pitcher for the Seattle Mariners at one time and before his career was over won a handful of Cy Young awards. Before he got good, he scared batters primarily because he threw the ball very fast and very wild.
This part of Capitol Hill was a veritable ghost town in the morning, there was practically no traffic whatsoever. Not that drivers seemed to be having much difficulty on the flatter arterials. Three-quarters of the neighborhood may have simply decided the night before to stay home to work or take the day off. That would not include Diana, however. Her attitude was if anyone were capable of reaching the office, it should be her since we basically live within long walking distance of downtown. She could only ride the bus part-way because there’s a long hill by our house that gives buses fits and messes the entire schedule up. So Adam and I walked (well, I walked- Adam rode in the sled) with Diana to 15th Avenue and East Thomas, where she caught a #43.
I wanted to take all sorts of documentary pictures along 15th Avenue and perhaps Broadway, but the combination of fat, fluffy flakes and unpredictable stinging spindrift from seemingly every direction made it nearly impossible to keep the camera out for more than a few seconds before it would get soaked (this is Seattle, even our snow is really wet). I noticed Adam’s coat was starting to lose it’s water repellent qualities so I decided we should go home and play there.
We played hard. We were outside all day long and basically outlasted all the other kids (and adults) on the block. A day or week like this comes once a year (or maybe once every couple years) in Seattle so I let us stay outside perhaps a little past our prime. Adam and I rode the sled a few times down our entire hill for a stupendous Olympic Winter Games-caliber run. It’s basically a quarter mile and spans four city blocks and includes three hill crests, one of which will send you rocketing faster than the legal speed limit if you’re not paying attention. I sit with Adam in my lap, our sled is rectangular with raised sides and has a heavy climbing rope I attached to the front. Today I had Adam wear his bike helmet. I’m very good at bailing and braking in case it gets too scary, but I was starting to feel a little self-conscious because none of the other parents were doing the whole hill with their kids. Most people sled for just the block in front of our house or head down to the Arboretum where there’s a steep grassy knoll. It’s true, sledding down city streets is an inherently hazardous activity. But I’m eagle-eyed for cross traffic and furthermore, our neighborhood is so hill-bound it basically closes to traffic. Only the really dumb people are still trying to drive their cars anywhere. Ever furthermore, the city put a snow closure sign at the top of our hill this year. Usually there’s only one on Aloha. This Do Not Enter sign is at the top of our hill. This is where the sledding excitement begins! The snow doesn’t look very impressive here because I took this on Sunday morning, before things got nasty.
On Sunday afternoon I made a movie of a full downhill run, but it was boring because I had the brakes in 80% mode in consideration for the family movie camera. This morning I braved the snow and took pictures on the way down and it turned out to be almost disastrous for the camera. You can’t tell here, but we’re flying! This is the second crest in the run we’re about to go over, the one that puts you in afterburner mode. Even with my legs out of the sled and snowplowing, we were still zooming. Our house is the blue one on the left. I didn’t execute this picture the way I should have- the focus was on us in the sled and I was going for a blurred effect of everything else. However, I set the shutter speed too high. I had to have it high enough to compensate for us bumping along as we made our way down. I could get it right if I did it again, but one time down with my camera held high in the air was enough to convince me that’s a stupid thing to try for a crappy-at-best picture.
Adam and Diana sipping a hot chocolate and chai at Victrola (Sunday morning):
This is a picture I took when all hell broke loose (i know, i know…..our “snowstorms” are of a different caliber):