Wednesday, January 12, 2011

3 days and counting below freezing in the deep South...

At the end of the third day of being snowed in, the approximately 6 inches of snow in the yard has not diminished except in the places where one of us has walked on it, or shoveled it out of the way to allow safer access to the yard for ourselves or our dogs. The dogs tread cautiously around the treacherous back yard. The crust of the snow has turned into solid ice, resulting in the younger dogs skidding and sliding around the yard like young kids on ice skates, only not enjoying it nearly as much. The ancient dog, Jake, has the same problems but with less stable footing, so that he frequently skids down on the ground or his feet slide out from under him. Occasionally the iced crust fails to hold their weight and one or more legs breaks through, which is even more difficult for the old dog, who creeps gratefully back into the house as soon as possible. The young dogs also do not care to linger in the yard.

Threatened with the requirement to make it to work or take personal leave today, my niece Dorothy managed to walk to the nearest MARTA stop (Atlanta subway) - a normally 15-20 minute walk that took more than 30 due to the slipperly road conditions - and made it in to work, only to return about 4 PM. They decided the 11 AM - 4 PM work day had been ill advised, sent the employees who made it in home and declared the business closed for tomorrow.

I have not exited the house since Sunday night except to help the dogs down the back stairs and to shovel off the back deck so they could make it into the yard on their own.

Temperatures did not rise above freezing today, and are not scheduled to do so tomorrow either or anytime before Friday afternoon at the earliest.

Never the less, CDC has announced to employees that we will open tomorrow, just at 10 AM instead of 8 AM. I guess someone got impatient with all those federal employees staying home, despite having spent the past couple of years encouraging the employees to telecommute whenever possible. All fine and good except that the dangerous conditions that closed the agency have not improved. Wishful thinking will not make it safer to try to drive to work tomorrow, and it is not possible to walk that far or take public transit since the subway does not go anywhere near most of the campuses.

I worked full time at home yesterday and today on CDC business - starting with a teleconference this morning at 9 Am and finishing about half an hour ago. So just over a 10 hour work day, and a slightly shorter one yesterday. GRanted on Monday I only did a few hours of CDC work, and having depleted my at home resources, likely would not have been able to do much for CDC tomorrow. Still out of 3 snow days I have performed work from home for approximately 2.5 full working days - not bad. I am not really thrilled about risking my car and my life trying to get into work tomorrow over very dangerous icey roads.

I will wait until 10 AM and hope that either the weather predictions are wrong or someone with authority will come to his or her senses and call off the work day. But if not I will be treading my way into work tomorrow and hoping I do not wind up in the hospital again - this time for trauma. After 8 years in Minnesota and 2 in Boston I am pretty comfortable handling my car on snowey roads. But even up there I would be attempting to stay off these roads, since unlike the upper midwest and new England, we have no road clearing equipment so if the snow does not melt it simply turns to patches of ice and the roads do not improve. And being able to handle your own car does not protect you when the guy next to you who has never driven on ice before goes into a skid.

We hear they are planning to cut the agency staffing by 10% by attrition as a money saving plan. We just did not realize they were planning to do it all tomorrow.

No comments:

Post a Comment