Washington Hospital Center, Shame on You!

Washington Hospital Center has fired 11 nurses and 5 staffers for not coming in to work during the snowpocalypse. I still can’t believe that they would do such a thing. Seriously, if your street wasn’t plowed (and really, in the days between the two huge storms, almost no streets were plowed) there was no way you could get anywhere. You guys saw my pictures on Flickr – SUVs with 4-wheel drive were getting stuck on the main roads! If you had a car like mine, which is really low to the ground, it was impossible to drive through the two feet of snow that was still on the side roads. And public transporation wasn’t an option for many people, because above-ground Metro service was suspended, as was all bus service.

It boggles my mind that the Washington Hospital Center thought it was appropriate to fire nurses who had been working there for decades because they were unable to make it in during the absolute biggest snowstorm in history. I’m grateful to the doctors and nurses who were able to get to the hospital and complete their shifts – they are nothing less than heroes to me for making that trek. But people who were unable to do the same shouldn’t be punished for not having the foresight to purchase the right vehicle, live on the right street or in the right neighborhood, or spend the night at the hospital so as not to miss work during this once-in-a-lifetime epic storm.

Advertisements

Chinese New Year 2010

I went to the Lunar New Year Celebration in Chinatown yesterday, along with friends Michelle and Florangel. We got there too late to see the parade, but we saw a bunch of dragon dances and the smoke from a five-foot tall tower of fireworks!

The Friendship Arch, with tons of people gathered for the festival.

There was a group of women drumming away, providing the music for the dragons to dance.

This long dragon was trying to eat a round thing on a stick.

Eventually a red dragon hopped onto the stage, and the people on the stage began feeding it envelopes of something – maybe money?

The dragon eating an envelope.

Next, the people on stage filed through the crowd to the area with the fireworks. I’m assuming they then lit them, but there were so many people (and the fireworks weren’t on a stage, just the ground) that hardly anyone could see what was going on. I saw plenty of smoke, though, and heard plenty of bangs and pops, so I assume everything went off correctly.

Lots of smoke!

Next came the most exciting part for me. The dragons retreated through the crowd, and did one final dance. I was able to maneuver  my way right in front of them, and got some really good shots! Hooray! Close to the action at last!

Dragons - so close!

At one point, I think one of the dragons spit out a whole bunch of black cats, which popped like crazy on the ground and terrified a little girl in front of me. Pretty exciting.A

After the dragon’s last dance was over, the crowd began to disperse. It was fun, and I’m really glad I went! Please check out my Flickr page for more (and more artistic) photos of the event.

Clean-up has already begun.

Hello, blog! (say like Faron Young)

Well, a lot’s happened since I last wrote here. Mostly blizzards, but also a terrible bout of food poisoning/stomach flu/being about to die. Seriously, never felt worse in my entire life. And I had swine flu for two weeks, and was in the demographic most likely to die from that! I’m beginning to think living at Centro Maria is bad for my immune system somehow…

Anyway, back on track. As most people with access to internet/news are aware, our nation’s capital has had a serious pile of crap dumped on us over the past week. Our dear city became enchanted, then incapacitated, then cranky1, then overly-confident2, then furious3, all in the span of a week and a half. Here, let me illustrate the blizzards through pictures (mostly of my beloved car-check out my Flickr photostream for pretty pics):

Friday morning (the day the blizzard hit) I went to Giant to pick up a prescription, having done my pre-snow loading up on groceries the night before. And BOY, was I glad I’d planned ahead! Here’s just one picture of the insanely long lines:

That's right, the line goes more than halfway into the long aisle. Every. single. checkout was this backed up.

Feb 5: It begins.

Two hours later, the ground is white.

Four hours after that, and the snow is still piling up.

Midday Feb 6: My car is disguised as a snowcar.

At this point, I decided to go out to take pictures. But I realized I’d left my earmuffs in my snowcar. No worries, I thought. I’ll just shovel a path to my car. And while I’m out there, why not clean the snow off the roof too?

Up to my knees!

The lonely road I shoveled.

Shoveling the snow was hard work! I never thought about it before (though it’s obvious if you do think about it for two seconds), but snow compresses the snow it lands on, meaning that the bottom is much harder to shovel than the top. But I am no quitter! I even cleared off my entire car, too!

Proof!

Feb 9th I ventured out to Target to stock up on some more groceries, since we were about to get hit by a second blizzard. The streets were not yet fully cleared, as you can see:

Slightly treacherous.

The Target parking lot was pretty bad. Being a former Chi-town res, I expected there’d be parts made unusable by huge piles of plowed snow, but I was a little surprised at just how bad it was:

One car could barely fit through here, much less two cars passing each other!

Luckily for me, I didn’t need milk, because Target was completely out. Not even the little 16oz bottles were left!

Plenty of soymilk, though.

The next day we got more snow, this time accompanied by strong winds and whiteout conditions. Hooray! All the hard work put into plowing our parking lot, decimated!

My car's totally hating me for bringing her here right now.

So, to sum up – I really hate snow (although it can be pretty). There’s way too much of it, and it’s hard to stay positive as there’s yet another storm coming today – 4-8 more inches predicted. Ugh. May, where are you?!

1 cranky, as the streets weren’t plowed immediately and perfectly, and people were stuck inside homes (sometimes without power)

2 overly-confident when the government re-opened on Friday the 12th, despite anyone with sense knowing that the city wasn’t cleaned up enough yet

3 furious when workers trying to go home Friday night sat in traffic that took 20 minutes to go one block, because only two lanes of four (or four of six, etc) had been plowed, and congestion got so terrible AAA called it one of the worst commutes in history; also when a red-line train derailed during morning rush hour, causing some passengers to be stuck underground for over an hour