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Medium Dawn Felagund of the Fountain

An RL Dog's Breakfast

The (Cyber) Bag of Weasels

bread and puppet




"About as much fun as a bag of weasels"...when I first saw this Irish adage, it made me think of the life of a writer: sometimes perilous, sometimes painful, certainly interesting. My paper journal has always been called "The Bag of Weasels." This is the Bag of Weasels' online home.

An RL Dog's Breakfast

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Hmmmm ... where to start? Last I wrote about my life--and not LJ drama or fiction--I was lamenting Murphy's poor timing. Well, to Murphy, it's good timing, I suppose. Alas.

Let's start with drama and intrigue as only Dawn Felagund can provide. I reported my workplace to the Fire Marshall last week. That's always exciting. Why? Well, our building has three doors that allow entry into the ground-floor level of the building. Each door is on a different side. There is the public entrance at the front; there is an employee entrance on the opposite side from my office where one must scan an ID to enter. (My ID doesn't work in it.) And there is a door on our side of the building that one needs a key to enter.

Of course, we use this third door, as it is literally right outside our office, and we all have keys. However, building security doesn't like that we use this door because they like "to know everyone who's in the building," and since we don't have to be scanned in, then we are permitted to exist without their knowledge.

Now that third door--the one we use--is an ordinary glass door. One side is locked and the other is an emergency exit only with a push-bar and alarm. But in addition to the glass doors is a sliding wooden pocket door that I suppose exists primarily to keep hooligans from tossing bricks through the glass after-hours. (My office is not in a nice neighborhood.) After hours, the wooden pocket door is closed and padlocked from the inside.

Well, it had been happening lately that security was opening the wooden pocket door later and later each day. At first, it would be closed when I got to work at eight (so I'd be buzzed in by the correctional officers at the basement entrance), but would be opened shortly thereafter. Then it got later and later. Well, last week, come 10 a.m., the building is full of employees, and the wooden door is still padlocked. In other words, if there was a fire, our one emergency exit is padlocked shut with a heavy chain, and none of us have the key.

Well, Becky (the office secretary) was starting to get annoyed at all of this, so she calls maintenance to remind them to open the wooden pocket door. They blame security; say it is their job. So she calls security. They blame maintenance. It is going on 10:30. She calls DGS Police and finally gets someone to come down and grudgingly open the door.

Okay, I'm a bureaucrat, so I understand a pissing match as well as anyone else collecting a guv'ment paycheck, but it generally isn't a good time to hold a pissing match when dozens of employees' lives and safety are at risk, k'thanks?

Becky, meanwhile, washypothesizing that DGS Police didn't want to open the door because they don't like that the four of us in the Administration Office use it instead of scanning in across the building and making our presences known to Big Brother. Well, I was not quite ready to stoop to believing that a police officer would be enough of a control freak to endanger lives just to have that modicum of control, but I made note of it.

Next day--Friday--I come into work, and the door is again padlocked shut. Now I'm annoyed. I'm alone in the office this day, so there's no one to report it (since I don't have Becky's endless wealth of important peoples' phone numbers at my fingertips), and truthfully, I'm fed up anyway, so before I do anything else, I do a Google search for the Baltimore Fire Marshall and email him about our little "problem."

I get a reply back that he will send out an inspector to check it out.

Four hours later--nearly noon--the door is still locked. I hear voices in the hall: the chief of DGS Police and the fire inspector. The fire inspector is inquiring as to why the emergency exit is blocked with a padlocked wooden door. Okay, I'm intrigued. I listen in, and since I'm tucked away in my office--out of sight but not earreach--then I hear every word.

The DGS police chief replies that the pocket door is opened every day at 6:30 a.m. Then, once the employees start arriving, it is closed and locked again so that they can't use it to enter and exit the building!

So it seems Becky was right. My jaw is on the floor.

Well, the fire inspector told him that this wasn't allowed and reminded him that this was his fire exit too, if there were to be an emergency. I mean ... wow. In this modern era, do we even need to specify that emergency exits can't be blocked and locked? What is this, the Triangle Shirtwaist company? Or WalMart??

Anyway, bet that I will be keeping a good eye on that door, now that the Baltimore City Fire Marshall is in my address book!

Moving on, for once, Murphy did not strike. In fact, Bobby and I were smiled upon by the anti-Murphy, if such an entity exists. On Sunday, temperatures dropped, and we got ice here in Manchester. The next day, we were due to travel to New York, so we were nervously watching the weather because--if temperatures stayed low--it looked like we wouldn't be able to make it.

But things warmed up ... well, if the mid-40s can be considered "warm." But it was warm enough to melt the ice, and we made it to our New York trip.

The next day (Tuesday), temperatures dropped precipitously again, so a day earlier or a day later, and we might not have made it.

Meanwhile, New York ... it has become something of an annual tradition in the Felagund family that we go to see the Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular in NY and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra's Christmas Spectacular here in ol' B'more. My dad literally orders tickets for both in the summertime so that we get good seats. So Monday morning, Bobby and I got up at an ungodly hour to take a bus north with the rest of the insane Family Felagund to NYC.

Bobby and I always break from the rest of the pack on trips like this. It's not that I don't love my family but ... well, let's just say that we don't have the same travel styles. They deliberate much more than Bobby and I do. We just go. If we get lost ... well, we would have found a new place then, won't we?

Besides, we had most awesomest plans for the first half of our day in NYC. We got to meet heartofoshun for lunch! Oshun was the first online friend that I've met in real life (and now someone can testify that I really am who I say I am online! :^P) Every other meet-up has fallen through. We had a great time. Oshun is just as cool in RL as she seems online, for those of you who haven't met her yet. And it is really, really great to be able to talk about writing and Elves with a live human being. Also, I got the latest LJ drama news from a person for once rather than from a flist post. Interesting, that.

When Oshun had to depart to babysit Baby Fingon, then Bobby and I headed back to Saint Patrick's Cathedral--where we went last year, and it didn't burn down at sight of us, so we figured we were safe again--and ogled the architecture and stained glass for a good half-hour. Then we browsed around some stores and headed back to the music hall for the show, which was excellent as always. There was a lot of new material this year since it's their seventy-fifth "diamond" anniversary.

Then we went home.

It was funny because the Ravens were playing Monday Night Football that night. So on the bus ride home, the driver first put on Snow Day to keep us quiet (which I'd seen once--and that was one time too many--already and really didn't need to see again, but the Book of Lost Tales 2 that I brought ain't a whole lot of good on a pitch-black-dark charter bus). Then, the movie ended, and everyone got restless. You could almost hear it beating in our blood: Raaaavennsss. RAAAAvennsss.

The driver must have been a Bal'more boy because he knew that to keep a bus full of Bal'morons content, one must only put on Ravens football. So we watched the Ravens play the cheaters Patriots on Monday Night Football. Well, the bus wasn't exactly quiet. It was full of clapping and cheering and bastardized north-south twangy accents saying, "I think they got them there a quarterback in Boller, hon."

Speaking of football. Hearken. Especially you, tarion_anarore. I am about to say something that I never thought I'd say. Quick, screencap it before I edit the entry. I am rooting for the Steelers this week. Yep. There it is. I said it. The Steelers are playing the Patriots. I would rather see the Steelers win than the Patriots. Can't believe it? Neither can I. I used to like the Patriots; actually, I was half a supporter, until it was uncovered that their head coach was cheating and he got off scot-free, added with the myriad convenient calls always in their favor. As Bobby often says--and I heartily agree--while I support my team totally, even when they suck (like this year), then I can't stand the NFL. We should have won that game on Monday. The officials lost it for us. And no, I'm not a conspiracy-theorist Bal'moron spouting the usual, "'Cause they hate us, hon, for stealing them Browns from Cleveland!" No. Sports writers are taking note of the number of games lost because of officiation. Ravens fans have been talking about it for years. We're not a popular team in the eyes of the NFL, and whether that means were more vigilant or more prone to confirmation bias because of it ... well, either way, we've been complaining about the officiation for some time now. And conspiracy theories aside, it sucks when the calls always go against you, even if that's just a coincidence.

So. *ahem* *squeaks* Go Steelers.

Now excuse me while I go pump an entire bottle of antibacterial soap into my mouth.

Okay, I'm back. So, after we returned (late) from NY, we had Tuesday off from work with nothing pressing to do. I got caught up on online and creative stuff, which was a good thing. Then came the inevitable return to work. It's always depressing to end a four-day weekend when I can remember too clearly bounding in the door on Friday afternoon with four whole days stretched in front of me, seemingly as long as eternity, and lots of fun stuff to fill those days that--I suddenly realize--is all past tense. What do I have to look forward to? Finishing up research on an additional 1200 cases that some honcho decided he needed? Warrant investigations? Oodles of Noodles for lunch and tepid tea for a treat?? Bleh.

But ...

There was snow in the forecast.

When it came time to wake up, it still hadn't started, but my half-a-weatherman husband was tracking the storm online and said it should begin around eight, i.e. when I was due to arrive at work. Now snow in Maryland is an interesting thing. I know that the states north of us laugh at us. Laugh away! We deserve to be laughed at because we are utterly incompetent when it comes to driving in or dealing with snow, even though we usually get a few heavy snowfalls each year and so can't plead inexperience. Then again, I'm talking about a city that sees an increase in accidents because the sun is too bright or it's drizzling. We can't deal with weather, period, even if the weather forecast sounds something like, "We expect that there will be air today ..."

So Bobby and I, sadly, were both "sick" on Wednesday. I'm actually quite comfortable driving in the snow, if I have to. But. But. Note the "have to." Going to work, to me, is not a "have to." Death and doom do not descend upon us if Dawn misses a day of work. Sorry, but it's not worth risking my life and property so that I can sit at my desk and read Book of Lost Tales and run databases that a monkey could manage.

And while I am fine with driving in snow, the majority of my Bal'more brethren are not. If Baltimore drivers did stupid things to start, multiply that by ten to see how they behave in the snow. I remember my first experience driving in a snowfall in my old station wagon Louis, coming home on the Beltway, watching drivers in giant SUVs careening willy-nilly across the lines because, well, the snow covered them a little, so clearly, drivers didn't need to mind what lane they were in. Or this morning, when the roads were still covered in slush and I was doing just the speed limit (heaven forbid), and the driver behind me had to zip around me first chance he got because I was clearly exercising too much caution in the presence of slush and ice by driving the speed limit and coming to a full stop at a flashing red light. That is why I don't drive in the snow unless I absolutely have to.

Funnily, the forecast was calling for only one to two inches (2.5-5 cm). Know how much we got? We got seven inches (17.5 cm), by official measure, here in Manchester. It was a soft, light snow that made everything gorgeous; it was still draping the tree branches when I came home this afternoon, and as I drove up the street, I realized that my town looks like something off of a postcard. The sun was setting scarlet; the snow was pale in the gloaming. I wanted to be nowhere else, in that moment, than going home to my husband and puppies. It was really nice.

Speaking of puppies, Lancelot loved his first snowfall, and we can barely keep Alex indoors for wanting to go outside and eat snow and ice or play with toys that are now so much more fun that they're frozen. But then, living in the apartment last winter, it was often our unfortunate experience that Alex would want to go outside to pee, so we'd leash him up and take him, but he'd eat as much snow and ice as he'd peed out, so a half-hour later, he'd have to go again. I got a lot of exercise, last year, on those three flights of stairs. Now, luckily, we just shove him out the door when he starts his shenanigans and hopefully remember to let him in a reasonable amount of time later.

But at last, today, I had to go back to work. I even sort of wanted to because I couldn't imagine the backlog I would have after three days' absence. However, it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. I finished researching those 1200 names by ten. I only had nine warrants to research once recalls had been pulled and detainers had been filed. I had a lot of recalls, but that's a good thing: those are cases that we don't have to worry about anymore because someone else has arrested them.

And ... that's been life lately. Now, I have some emails to catch up on quickly, then it's movie- and bed-time!
  • I'd put money on the office getting a new door within the year, egress fire exit only, no entry. Still, padlocking is not a good idea.
    • I would too ... except this is the Maryland State Government, and we're so poor that they are debating whether or not they can afford to keep supplying the employees with water. (Since the water from our taps more resembles mud than anything one would want to drink.) Also, they are doing construction on the building, so it'll be a moot point in a few months anyway when they tear down the space in which we are currently working. Hopefully, they'll let us know before they send in the wrecking ball! (Though I don't hold out too much hope for that! ;)
  • Here's a little something to entertain you while you dream sweet dreams about the Fire Marshal:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=831LMyfMRBI

    Just so you know -- this band, Cordelia's Dad, has a personal meaning to me. The lead singer is Tim Eriksen, the man who taught me to sing shape-notes when I was in college. The harmony singer/dulcimer player is Cath Oss, and the bodhran player is Peter Irvine, both of whom also sang in that group. The fiddler is Laura Risk, who will be fiddling at the Chicago New Year's Ball in January. This song is one of my favorites. The words are old, but I have a sneaking suspicion that Tim wrote the tune.
    • I will have to hijack Bobby's computer to watch it ... Pengolodh Lord of Gondolin still lacks a sound card! (Yes, I should have named him Rumil Lord of Tirion, by Felakverse conventions. :^P)

      But thank you, I look forward to it.
      • I know what Bobby should get his beloved wife for Christmas!
        • A sewing machine and books on illumination?

          ... Oh, wait, that's what he is getting me ...

          I sort of have a bad feeling that the fall of Gondolin is around the corner, only unlike the canon, this time Pengolodh might not survive. He's been acting really strangely lately and is getting sort of old, even for an Elf.
  • Ah, Dawn, I love that you called the fire department, that is just the kind of dangerous stupid things that causes disasters like Triangle Shirtwaist factory. During the big earthquake in Mexico (and I include this in my book about Mexico, that I will re-write some day) many women, seamtresses, just like in the Triangle Shirtwaist factory incident died because doors were locked, because the owners of the sweatshops wanted the women to have to ask the supervisors before they left the workfloor for any reason.

    I will also confirm, that you really are who you say you are and that you and Bobbie look just like pictures you have posted here before! (Dawn is really tall--but then I am really short; so perhaps that is a matter of perspective.) Talking about writing and Elves with a live human being is definitely the best. Pandemonium was envious--we have to do that sometime when she can meet us too.

    You certainly have been cranking out those stories this week. What a treat. Hoped you watched a great movie. Yes, going back to work after a few days off really is the hardest thing to do.

    Edited at 2007-12-07 10:34 am (UTC)
    • During the big earthquake in Mexico (and I include this in my book about Mexico, that I will re-write some day) many women, seamtresses, just like in the Triangle Shirtwaist factory incident died because doors were locked, because the owners of the sweatshops wanted the women to have to ask the supervisors before they left the workfloor for any reason.

      Ugh. The priorities of companies ... but I'll spare you. I won't go there when I know you agree. :)

      But it does annoy me this attitude that, "This won't happen here!" Like with padlocking the doors because no one ever thinks there would be a fire or another emergency when we'd need to leave quickly or where other exits might be inaccessible. And they're doing construction on our building too, and in the two months I've been there, have already let noxious fumes into the whole ground floor once and another time miscalculated plans to break through a wall and ended up giving a day's notice to move our armory. (At which point they put a lock and seal on the new armory door ... with the screws on the outside so that the whole lock could be removed with a screwdriver. >_<) So clearly, I have no reason to trust that these idiots won't blow up something flammable in the weeks to come and trap us all inside a flaming building.

      But we didn't go in through the forbidden door! *eyeroll*

      (Dawn is really tall--but then I am really short; so perhaps that is a matter of perspective.)

      I find this so funny that you noted/said this! I always feel short in real life because I've surrounded myself with a race of giants: five out of six guy friends (one of whom is Bobby) are 6'3" or taller. If not for their wives and girlfriends, I'd think that I was the abnormal one!

      In elementary school, I was always the tallest girl in the class.

      You also look like your pictures! I was pretty sure that I'd spotted you in that crowd, but then, I would have sworn that you joined the line to buy show tickets. :^P

      You certainly have been cranking out those stories this week.

      Five down. Fourteen to go. O.O
    • Oh! And Bobby mentioned the same thing about Pandemonium. As we were riding home that night, he said, "Doesn't your friend Pandemonium live pretty close? Do you think we could all meet up in NY some time?"

      So apparently all our blathering about Elves and writing wasn't too terribly boring for him!
  • Eugh bureacrazy, go you! You know that common sense should work here, but no ensue a tag team of that department is responsible for it, but what if something happens... you don't want that. At the hospital, everyentrance passage was locked, but then it was nearby a zoo so only the monkey's - if they'd escaped - could cause damage. Either get a card reader there, but do not bar doors. Idiots.

    I really really love the way you described the snow, doggies and such. I envy you! In my mind I have lil' Kevin playing with the dogs in the snow, if you don't mind ;)

    Ah and NYC, meeting with friends *sighs forlornly* I have no fannish friends living nearby, but I know a few (male) Tolkien friends, but both have been dealing with RL things as well. With Hans I really can talk for hours about the Silm.
    • If you ever come to New York again, Rhapsody, we should organize the meeting of a huge cabal of Eastcoast U.S. Silm nerds.
      • I really really would love to Oshun, meeting you, Doc B, Dawn, well just meeting each other. I'd be sitting there and taking in every person's face, listening to voices and what people are sharing. I am not much a talker when a group is big, but I just love to listen and drink in all the impressions of such a gathering. And oh, I am known for eum getting lost in bookstores and libraries ;) Just FYI.
    • If you ever end up over here in the States again, I agree with Oshun: We will have to all meet up! In the meantime, I will be traveling to Europe frequently with my sister now in England, so maybe friends will come to you as well. ;)

      At the hospital, everyentrance passage was locked, but then it was nearby a zoo so only the monkey's - if they'd escaped - could cause damage. Either get a card reader there, but do not bar doors. Idiots.

      That's really scary. You never know what could happen when people would have to escape. Even in our modern era with all the modern conveniences and technology that money can buy, people still die from being trapped in buildings.

      I echo you: idiots.
      • If you ever end up over here in the States again, I agree with Oshun: We will have to all meet up!

        Well I promised Isil that when I have saved enough money, Tennessee will be visisted at the very least (although my stay there is guaranteed if I'd bring along that yummah fruitcake and chocolate), so when that time comes, we most certainly must do some schedule comparing. Hubby at least wants to Washington DC, so hmmm I'd be in the right state for you. Right now we don't have money at all to go on holiday, but ah well, never give up dreams. :c)

        I also want to go back to NYC and I want to visit the West Coast and I want to... Actually this evening hubby said: who's this Medium Dawn Fela-guund? (he read the Silm.. once, I still am not allowed to borrow his copy because I tend to litter it with post-its) He loved the photo's of the pups :)

        In the meantime, I will be traveling to Europe frequently with my sister now in England, so maybe friends will come to you as well. ;)

        Just let me know, this year when Trek came to the continent we looked very hard to find a spot in her hectic schedule to meet, but we couldn't. She was in Germany, 10 hours driving with a car away from me and it was around the period were we could not find a babysit so easily, let alone that I don't have a car... *sighs* She called though and that was so marvellous!

        That's really scary. You never know what could happen when people would have to escape. Even in our modern era with all the modern conveniences and technology that money can buy, people still die from being trapped in buildings.

        We were instructed what to do in case a fire breaks out, also how to put out a small fire, what to do when things escalate ect ect. The security staff took a lot of pride in their work, they are not as asshats as you guys have. They would rather have you call for the tiniest things and ask them. They made rounds often and when we moved outside the main building into the cellar of the old blood bank (I don't know if you remember, but we suddenly had the sole view on the morgue), they checked in often if all was fine, especially during evening opening hours when I sat there most often alone. I guess I am used to carrying badges, also to get access to locked gates. I know that their system was designed that all doors could be unlocked in case of an emergency and escape routes were visible. Well one has to in such a big hospital... I am rambling... should be writing! *hugs*
  • We deserve to be laughed at because we are utterly incompetent when it comes to driving in or dealing with snow, even though we usually get a few heavy snowfalls each year and so can't plead inexperience. Then again, I'm talking about a city that sees an increase in accidents because the sun is too bright or it's drizzling. We can't deal with weather, period, even if the weather forecast sounds something like, "We expect that there will be air today ..."

    You know you live in Baltimore when stuff starts falling from the sky & you know the accidents (& all the assholes who SLOW DOWN TO STARE OMG DIE A HORRIBLE PAINFUL DEATH JERKWADS) will start to pile up & you'll never get off the Beltway.... ;_;

    .....Yeah, it pisses me off when people slow down to stare at an accident, then speed up after they pass it. Once we got rear-ended (well, one of the times), & a woman on the other side was crawling & STARING. I started staring back at the people who drove past & stared. If I ever get in a serious accident, I hope I've got enough life left in me to flip off everyone who crawls past to stare at the mangled cars & to see if there's any corpses lying around. DRIVE, YOU BASTARDS, I HAVE PLACES TO GET TO ON TIME! (growls)

    But yes. Snow. :D Prissy bitches complaining about the cold, & the snow, & one said she wished it was summer year round (Sadist!), but I like it.

    Or this morning, when the roads were still covered in slush and I was doing just the speed limit (heaven forbid), and the driver behind me had to zip around me first chance he got because I was clearly exercising too much caution in the presence of slush and ice by driving the speed limit and coming to a full stop at a flashing red light.

    Don't you just love those self-important people? Oh, & the ones who drive down the road during rush hour that the sign says will end in such&such feet (or the way that's moving faster), & then expect people to let them over because they're impatient, selfish little bastards.

    And people wonder why I hate people. HMM, I WONDER.
    • Driving in Baltimore will make the nicest person a misanthrope. I am convinced of that. One week into work at my new office, and I was seriously having fantasies of doing violent things to some of the other drivers on the road. I've since stopped using the highways to the greatest extent possible to go to and from work, and I am much happier.

      I had been spoiled, doing short commutes when I lived in Ellicott City and now living in the boonies where people, like, let you merge into traffic and don't tailgate if you're going a mere five mph over the speed limit. I'd forgotten how it was to drive on the Beltway with all the corporate tools with their constant "I'm in a hurry!" attitude and its attendant entitlement complex.

      Rubbernecking is the worst. Everyone complains about it, yet most everyone does it! When I still worked in Jessup, I was driving to work past the Patuxent Institution, and there was a helicopter landed in the field, probably as part of a training exercise (since they do a lot of police training in Jessup, not surprisingly). But the woman in front of me hit the brakes, and I watched her turn her head and lower her sunglasses for a better look before stepping on the gas again.

      Or when traffic backs up because someone has a flat tire beside the road, or because MSP has a speeder pulled over and is writing a ticket.

      I'd seen an article once (and I don't remember where to give a linky :( ) about local governments investing in screens to put up in front of accident scenes because the rubbernecking--and ensuing traffic--had gotten so bad. I wish they would do that here. Seriously. I wonder how much emissions would be cut back if governments took a few simple steps to cut back on traffic (much of which, around here, seems to be caused by rubbernecking) rather than pointing fingers at the Evol Citizens who aren't forking over booku bucks for hybrid cars and don't seem to have cut down on driving that much. (Uhhh ... maybe because we're driving to work? So why not legislate making it mandatory that government and private sector companies log a certain percentage of hours via telecommuting? Oh yeah. Because that might solve the problem and piss off the oil companies that are financing their campaigns!)

      Anyway.

      On those asshats that go to the end of the lane: yes, these were primarily the people I was having bad fantasies of pummeling into a gory pulp. (Yes, I am a pacifist. :^/) 83S backs up every morning in part because of these annoying opportunists who save themselves five minutes and doom the rest of us to sit for a half-hour by flying to the end of a lane that they know is going to end.
      • Ah, so it has a name...

        Everyone stops & stares at everything. u_u

        I give up on humanity. But you already knew that. :p (Oh, the angst. :P )
  • oooh fun trip! ugh, I'd be frustrated too about that door situation. Peeps were using an emergency door here too but it was for the smokers going out to the smoking area. However, it isn't like we don't have a lot of doors (we have TONS) and there's one for them that isn't an emergency one just 10 ft away, they just have to walk a bit further. *rolls eyes* hehe, keep us updated on your door fiasco. I want to hear if heads roll. ^_^
    • If heads roll, Teh Flist is always the first to know. ;) I'm really not this bitchy in real life. I just tend to write about my bitchy moments on LJ. Especially since an endless procession of, "I went to work and ran some warrants and wrote a little bit"--which is a Day in the Life of Dawn Felagund--is dreadfully boring to write ... and read!
  • Fire doors are a touchy subject here after 197 kids choked to death at a rock concert just three years ago when a flare went off (why flares in indoor concerts? well, this is Latin America), the sound proofing in the ceiling caught fire and the excessive number of people tried to get out only to find the emergency door locked from the outside. After that fire drills and emergency stairs and fire doors became mandatory. It was one of the saddest events in recent history -and we've had our share of sad events.
    Is it normal to have that much snow in early December (thanks for the metric)? Or is it just another manifestation of climate change? Here we had an unusually cold and long winter (even snow in Buenos Aires!) and all of a sudden we've switched to hot and humid weather with tropical type of showers. To think that we used to have mild weather with few extreme events!
    • I think it's awful that it takes the deaths of hundreds of people to inspire governments to produce legislation that protects ordinary citizens from the greed and stupidity of businesses and corporations. I think that fire codes in the US were in part brought on by the Triangle Shirtwaist fire, when hundreds of women died for the usual reasons: the company had blockaded the entrances lest the women steal or waste valuable work time.

      Is it normal to have that much snow in early December (thanks for the metric)?

      You're welcome! Inches to centimeters is such an easy translation that there's no excuse for me not to translate our backwards measurements to a more universally understood term. ;)

      As for whether (weather? :^P) it's normal ... yes and no. Lately, no, because it's been so warm. It was in the 70s F (about 21C) last Christmas, for example, which is really, really odd, looking across the records for Maryland over time. I remember having "white Thanksgivings" when I was a kid, with American Thanksgiving the fourth Thursday in November. So in terms of what I grew up with, yes, this amount of snow is normal. It seemed, when I was a kid, that we'd always get a small storm before (or on!) Christmas. But the way it's been recently, with the cold and snow not coming until January and then gone by March? Definitely doesn't fit that pattern. But I'm pleased to have it this way. Even though I'm miserable in the cold, this feels right, the way Maryland autumn/winter should be.

      As for extreme weather ... well, we have the saying here that if you don't like the weather, wait five minutes. :) We could have a whole January below freezing and a whole July over 35C with 100% humidity. We get blizzards, hurricanes, tornadoes ... not a lot, but we do get them. I guess it's the luck of the draw, being between the cold, cold north and the hot, humid south!
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