Groundhog Day -- 02/02/11

Yeah, I've not posted anything here for two and a half weeks or so...

Just busy...

No, really... I have been picking up a new task at work... being a "facilitator" for the development of professional certification exams for some of my employer's high-end software tools that corporations use to develop and run their key business systems. (When I was first with the company, from late in 1995 through the middle of 2003, I was designing and writing training courses for these tools and since mid-2003 I have been working in a quality assurance role, doing editing and QA review of course materials.) The department that develops certification exams (which programmers and analysts can take to earn a certificate that demonstrates that they are qualified with these tools) was feeling a bit short-handed so they asked my manager for help and he asked me if I would be willing to take on that assignment.

This means I've been juggling the new tasks along with my regular tasks -- and this has meant running a number of meetings (via a web conference tool plus a telephone conference call). A typical work session runs three hours, although there are some that are scheduled for twice that length. Of course there are lots of other activities outside of the actual meetings, preparing documents and spreadsheets and such -- plus this is not stuff that I usually do, so it takes me longer than someone who does it all the time. This means that I have put in a number of days running in the ten to twelve hour range... which reduces my time for writing entries for here. And, even more so, reduces my time and energy and interest in spending time in front of a computer at night after spending all day with them.

Plus, I had planned on spending a few hours between Christmas and the New Year working on updating the Culture Coalition site that I built and maintain -- but I was sick that week and once my vacation days were past and I was back at work, I had to squeeze in some time for that. And I also made some changes to the Kinney Bungalow site -- simple things like changing a telephone number or adding a logo for a wedding-related website that had named KB as a pick of the year -- but to do them meant changing some headings and other logos which meant re-working some graphics, etc.

And have I mentioned shoveling snow?

Anyway, about that groundhog...

When I was a kid, people just talked about some generic groundhog... but since then the good folk of Puxnatawny -- a small rural town in Pennsylvania -- have learned how to milk this for a public relations fest for their township. As I noted in my entry for the day after Groundhog's Day in 2000:
Yesterday was Groundhog Day. I didn't notice any mention in the paper this morning about Phil seeing his shadow or not. Well, if we were still living in Binghamton (NY) I would feel lucky if we only had six more weeks of winter left, seven or eight would be more likely... here in Rhode Island it's more a case of Spring being right around the corner. Sure, we could have a big Spring snowstorm... I've not checked my '99 calendar, but I remember there being a major snow in March with schools closed, etc. because I had to be over into the middle of Connecticut to assist with a presentation to a client company. It had mostly stopped snowing overnight and, once I was able to get out of my neighborhood in the morning and get to the highway, the driving wasn't too bad...

And on Groundhog's Day a year later I made a very similar comment:

I grew up and lived for most of my life in Upstate New York. When we heard "you're going to have six more weeks of winter" our reaction was always "Oh wow! Only six more weeks of winter!"

Winter is milder and spring comes earlier here along the Rhode Island coast than it did deep in New York State. Oh yeah, sure, we can still get a huge blizzard in February or March... but spring is inexorably on its way. Back in Binghamton, NY I can recall April snowstorms that dumped more than a foot of wet heavy snow... heck, I can remember a snow storm in May (okay, so it was only an inch and it was gone by noon, but nevertheless it was snow in May)...but I know that spring is on its way!

But in 2007 my Groundhog's Day entry included a wintery photograph of a snowstorm.... and two years ago on Groundhog's Day I made comments very similar to those I had made in previous years... and just two days later I posted a photograph of mounds of snow along the sides of our driveway.

Right now we have much higher snow mounds along the driveway. We have had snow -- lots of snow -- on the ground since Christmas week. There has been at least one major snow storm every week since then. Yesterday's storm brought snow followed by sleet and freezing rain which had schools dismised early (around lunch time) and that was followed by another snow storm that also changed to sleet and freezing rain and resulted in the cancelation of school today. I went outside around two this afternoon (this was my "lunch hour") and spent about 45 minutes scraping a half inch thick layer of ice off the driveway and the walkway from the driveway to our front porch. The temperature had come up to the point where it was easier (relatively) than earlier in the day to scrape up the ice sheets with a shovel. Now that it is night, the driveway is covered with a thin (but slippery!) coating of ice and I had to go out a few minutes ago and sprinkle ice melt all over the walk and the driveway.

The forecast for a couple of days of cold weather (not getting above freezing) and then Saturday will bring a 70% chance of a storm -- snow changing to ice pellets changing to rain then changing back to ice pellets -- doesn't that sound pleasant.

I am really getting tired of winter. I would not mind an early spring.

Okay, I'd settle for an on-time spring...

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