never too much

Now this is winter!

Snow’s been on the ground for weeks, it’s cold enough to freeze farts, and the wind’s blowing hard enough to dry your eyeballs into shriveled raisins. Still nothing to brag about, the way they do here. The kids sure like it, though. They go outside just as soon as everyone’s done shoveling the walks and have a snowball fight that lasts for hours and spreads the snow around evenly.

One of the side effects of winter here is the icicles. The houses are insulated for shit, so as soon as we get a heavy snowfall, it all immediately starts to melt, and every building on base is left hanging with icicles as big as telegraph poles. Then the clouds break for a day and the icicles weaken at the eaves and they come crashing down so that it sounds like sex-starved elephants are mating with the side of your house. That can go on all day.

We have to make sure the sidewalks in front of our quarters are cleared before eight in the morning, so these last few day watches I’ve had the pleasure not only of getting out of bed at quarter to five, but adding a brisk morning shovel fest to my list of chores to do before the sun comes up. Snow in these amounts is such a novel thing to him that Tim still thinks shoveling it off the walks is great fun, does it with a smile. Works for me.

I’ve been on day watches for the last three days, so I’ve seen very little of the snow except for when I have to drive through it on the way to work. If the Japanese speed limits are good for anything, they keep people driving at a sane speed when the road is a sheet of ice. Top speed allowed on the road up to work: 36 mph on the home stretch. Most other places it’s 20. Drives most people nuts, but I’m in no hurry to end up in the ditch.

I also get to tromp through it on the way from the car into the building, and that’s the last I see of snow until I leave at night. We do mobilize a snow removal detail at work that goes out with snow blowers and shovels to clear the walks around the buildings, but I’m not allowed to do that because I’ve got too much rank. Any other place I’ve been stationed and had to pull scut-work details like that, I would’ve killed to ride a snow blower around; now they won’t let me. Figures.

Dave Arnzen replied: First of all there’s never too much rank, except for maybe during any war tribunals in which you ended up picking the wrong side. Second, think back, when you were an airman, the MSgt’s and TSgt’s didn’t have to pull any details either, but that sure didn’t stop them from grabbing the paint brush out of my hands, painting “This Stinks” on the wall that I was working on and say, “Better cover that up Airman before the Commander sees it!” … likewise, grab a snow blower, say they missed a spot, take it for a ride, cover the flt. cc’s [flight commander’s] car in a mountain of snow, park the blower out front, then let the detail get yelled at by facilities for leaving it out. TA DA !

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