I really do enjoy the winter. Not only is the cold air refreshing, the snow also covers up my ugly dog-ruined yard and makes it look white and fresh. Even better, there also are no annoying, blood-sucking bugs to contend with.
But the one thing I don’t like about winter is...ice.
Don’t get me wrong, when I was a kid, I loved, even was obsessed with, ice, because of ice-skating. In fact, during the winter months I practically slept in my ice skates, I wore them so often. But now that I am of a more “advanced” age, I associate the word “ice” with compound fractures, and cars becoming intimate with trees.
Last week, my area had an uncommonly warm day for January – nearly 60 degrees in some parts. This, in New Hampshire, could be considered swimsuit weather. It would have been a day to enjoy...if the skies hadn’t opened up and dumped enough rain to warrant the building of an ark. Even worse, the warm weather melted all of the snow that previously had been on the ground. So the end result was water everywhere...including in my basement. But that’s a whole other story.
Following the deluge, a cold snap arrived and instantly froze all of the water into an assortment of skating rinks. My entire backyard was so thickly covered with ice, I expected to see Nancy Kerrigan out there performing triple toe-loops at any moment.
When I let my poor dogs out to “do their thing,” they ran out there at full speed, as usual, and both ended up sliding right into the fence. Then, I couldn’t help but giggle as they tried to assume the crouching position so they could “go,” but couldn’t get a solid footing and kept falling over.
It wasn’t so humorous, however, when I tried to maneuver my car down the long, curvy driveway, complete with a slight incline. It had so much ice on it, it honestly resembled a bobsled track. And even though I was crawling along, when I came to the first curve and turned the steering wheel, the car decided to just keep going straight, right toward a huge pine tree. At that moment, my life flashed before me – not because I was afraid the tree would kill me while I was going only about five miles per hour, but because I knew that any impact, no matter how slight, would deploy my car’s air-bag, which would come exploding directly at my nose at about 1,000 m.p.h.
By some miracle, I was able to get the car to go around the curve at the very last second. Once I made it out of the driveway, I headed straight to the nearest hardware store and stocked up on something called Ice Melt, which the container said would leave my driveway stain-free and ice-free. Sounded good to me. I knew, however, that it would take a truckload of the stuff to fully de-ice my driveway, which is over 400 feet long, but I figured I at least could remove the danger of the curve, if nothing else. I never wanted to be able to see pine needles that close to my windshield again.
When I got home, I put on my ice cleats (a necessity where I live) and stomped out to the bobsled track. I unloaded the Ice Melt on the curve, then, for good measure, also put some on my garage floor, which was covered in ice, thanks to the rain leaking in underneath the doors and then freezing.
|THE CONCRETE FLOOR|
This presented a problem. First and foremost, I had to take out the trash. And then I had to pick up my mail. Even with my ice cleats securely on my boots, I could take only tiny baby steps as I dragged the heavy trash container behind me down the ice-covered driveway. Any step bigger than a baby step all but promised I’d wind up doing a split worthy of an Olympic gymnast. When I’d made it about three-quarters of the way to my destination, the garbage truck went whizzing right past my house. Had I been able to run with my cleats on, I’d have chased after the truck to its next stop and thrown myself in front of it, then demanded that they turn back and pick up my trash.
So back to the house I went, once again dragging the container behind me.
And then I came up with a plan.
I grabbed a broom, a dustpan, a sifter, a bucket and a cup, and slowly inched my way back out to the road – the road that was covered with a nice layer of fine sand the town had dumped on it during the ice storm. The sand was completely dry, perfect for sweeping up into my dustpan, sifting it of any debris, and then flinging it over my driveway.
So I ventured out to the middle of the road and feverishly began sweeping up the sand. Usually, I’m lucky if I see even two cars and a mail truck on my road all day. But on this particular morning, everyone in town seemed to be using the road for a drag strip. Just as I’d manage to sweep up a dustpan full of sand, a truck would come barreling toward me and I’d have to jump out of the way – losing most of the sand in the process. And not only was I worried about being flattened by a propane truck, I also was afraid a police officer would drive by and arrest me for grand-theft sand.
By the time I finally managed to fill the bucket, my back ached from bending over to use the dustpan so many times, my nose was running like a waterfall from the frigid weather, and my hands felt as if they permanently were frozen into a curled position from clinging to the broom handle for so long. Using the cup, I scooped up some sand from the bucket and flung it onto the driveway as I headed back toward the house.
When the bucket was empty, I’d managed to cover only about 20 feet of the driveway. That meant over 380 feet left to go.
I actually considered going back out to the road for more sand – until I heard the weather report. More rain, sleet, snow and ice were headed my way mid-week. This meant that all of the sand I’d just painstakingly collected and sprinkled soon would be buried...so all of my hard work had been for nothing.
You know, I’m thinking that maybe blood-sucking bugs aren’t so bad after all.