Wednesday, January 17, 2007

A very timid foray...

We so seldom see this much ice in south Texas that the effects of this momentous weather event fascinate me. If this is nothing new to you please feel free to skip reading this post. I won't be offended. Right now the ice is a new toy and I am a child exploring it.

The weather has stopped dripping but not the roofs and trees. The temperature is at 32 and so where it does drizzle we get a little freezing still happening. We are not quite through this yet.

I just had to get out. I made the excuse that I needed to check the mail and put a letter in the post. The walk to the mailboxes looked short enough and I told myself that I'd stop and go back in if the sidewalk was icy. So on went my long coat, my winter leather gloves and the shoes with good traction soles. I grabbed my cell phone in case of mishap and also a cane for support with the idea that if I needed to I could use it to test the ground ahead. I put the letter in my pocket. Then went outside.

The first thing I noticed was that while the sidewalk seemed free of ice the rails along the steps weren't. So the cane was a good idea. Then I went down and took a closer look at my car. Yep, it was covered with the stuff. Underneath there were spaces where some water seemed to be flowing. It was melting from underneath. I could actually chip some of the ice and managed to break off a fair bit of it with my key. This wasn't the greatest of ideas because the ice landed on the ground and made it hazardous. My neighbor's car let forth a swish, crack and the ice from his windshield fell off in one huge piece shattering on the ground. I wondered how long it would take before my own did the same. This ice is about 1/8th of an inch thick and more in places. Then I looked up.

Icicles are hanging from the building roof. I suspect some ice is also on the roof itself. The trees aren't laden though so perhaps the leaves provided some shelter. Walking along towards the mailboxes I see that a neighbor is getting ready to go out. We both agree that it is pretty nasty. I'm doing fine walking down the parking lot. Then I get to the curb and step up on the grass. Big mistake!

The grass is icy and very slick. It isn't solid so there are spots to get around the worst of it on. Against good sense I persevere and make it up a slope of ice covered grass to the mail boxes. I feel really stupid and am mentally berating myself while doing this. Why am I still moving forward? Once I reach the boxes the cement is safe and traction is once again good. I tell myself I will go down the ramp on the other side instead of attempting the grass again. In goes the letter to be mailed. My box only has one envelope in it. All that for just one piece of junk mail? I must be crazy. (g) But the trip has lightened my gloom from being indoors for so long. So I don't feel too bad about being out in this. I make it back down to the pavement with no mishaps thanks to the safe concrete ramp. Why are man made stone surfaces safer than the lawns and plants that God made?

On the way back I notice someone heading out in their car who hasn't done a thorough job of deicing their car. It still has icicles hanging from the rear license plate and bumper. I get back to my car, knock a little more ice off, and head inside. I'm happy. I've been outside, braved the dreaded ice and survived. :-) Inside I get out of my coat and gloves. Warm water from the faucet helps to take the ache out of my hands. I add water to the pot on the stove and am grateful for the steam coming from it.

The picture above is an image of an ice hotel in Quebec, Canada. I understand that staying the night in these buildings made entirely of ice is becoming quite popular. It might be fun to see one. I find it hard to imagine sleeping in one even if the bed, which is made of ice, is covered with furs and designed to keep you warm. Still, the people who live up north have managed to do this for many years and survive. Maybe I should give ice hotels a chance and add staying in one to the list of future vacation possibilities. I think that it will require much research before I can do that with confidence. Has anyone ever stayed in one?

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