Ice And Snow

I went to my daughter’s place today, and discovered another blog-theme.  It may be of interest to some of you.  Canada has ice and snow in the winter.  Despite what some folks think, only places wayyy up north have ice and snow year round.  I’m not as much of an expert about it as you might suspect.  I live almost as far south as Detroit.  Sparklebumps, in Minnesota, is north of me.  ByronicMan, on the Left Coast, is north of me, but all the lit doobies out there keep the temperature up.

My blog-friend, Nicole, in Phoenix, just went through a cold spell.  The thermometer dropped all the way from 75 F, to 65.  She has to go to the fridge to see what I’m talking about.  Meanwhile, I’ll get comments from SightsnBytes and Benzeknees, saying, “Wimp!”  TheHaremsMaster, whose back door opens on the North Pole, is too busy choking with ironic laughter, to take my rant seriously.

For you lucky people in warmer climes, I’d like to make you aware of things that we have, that you don’t.  Things that get us through the winter, both personally, and for our vehicles.  Snow falls on our cars and obscures the view.  Some of it will melt, and then, while we’re out of the car, it refreezes on the glass.  When we go to use the car, the first thing we have to do is remove that ice and snow.

We have windshield scrapers.  These are two-foot-long wooden or plastic handles, with a brush on one end, and a scraper on the other.  My “Don’t Yell” blog tells of using one in the summer, to convince a road-rager to stay away from my car.  You use the brush to clean the snow off the car, and then the scraper to get the ice off all the windows.  At least, that’s the way it’s supposed to work.  All too often I see idiots who have swiped a small patch off the driver’s side, but the rest of the glass is obscured.  It must be like trying to drive through a drinking straw.  If you don’t brush the snow off the hood and roof, the windstream just blows it back onto the front and rear glass.

Something else that most vehicles, sold in Canada, have, are block-heaters.  These are little electric heaters, which are installed in the bottom of engine blocks.  You plug them in when the car sits in the cold, so that the oil doesn’t congeal from the cold, and lack of lubrication causes engine damage.  In Sudbury, which is 500 miles north of here, but still not above the big 49th parallel border, many of the parking meters downtown have electrical plugs provided.

We have a TV show called Ice Road Truckers.  These are guys who deliver goods to the northernmost, often Indian and Eskimo villages, on or near the Arctic Ocean shore.  This stuff can’t move by truck when it’s warm, because there are no roads through the swamps and muskeg.  In the winter, they bulldoze up the snow and spray water on it to create a drivable surface, literally made from ice.

They bore holes in the ice of lakes that would be too thin to support these big rigs, and keep spraying it on the road path, till it’s feet thick.  There are several of these ice roads, some of them 1500 Kilometers long.  It’s so cold that often, the trucks are never shut down.  If they sit in the cold too long, they’re almost impossible to restart.  If they do have to sit for an extended period, just before they are needed, small fire pans are placed under the engines to warm them.  Some truckers have been known to pry off a hub-cap, and fill it with diesel fuel to burn.

Driving in the winter is very different from summer.  Plows remove most of the snow from the roads, and pile it on the edge, narrowing the available driving room and blocking vision.  Much salt, and a little sand is applied to the roads by works crews in spreader trucks.  This damages the road surface, nearby vegetation, and car bodies.  A new and better system has them spraying liquid brine, before a snow or ice storm is expected.  It uses less salt and causes less damage, and works better, because it melts the problem from the bottom.

Much attention must be paid when there is ice and snow on the streets.  Going up or down icy hills can be an adventure.  Sometimes you go down, even when you try to go up.  You can’t pull out into traffic as quickly.  You have to take turns more slowly.  You should think, and drive, ahead.  Will the road be slick at the stop light or sign?  Streets conditions can change so quickly.

I was driving the daughter and grandson to our house.  We were on a two lane street.  The outside temperature and the volume of traffic had the road surface bare and damp.  As we came around the inevitable bend in the road, for the last half-block before a T-intersection, the road widened to include a left-turn, and a right-turn lane.

Combined with a more open area, the entire street was a skating rink.  I made the anti-lock brakes do what they could, but still slid broad-side in front of a driver trying to get up a small hill.  One moment of inattention caused $3800 worth of damage, just to our car.

When we visited South Carolina, I noticed a sign on each bridge which said, “Bridge freezes first.”  I asked a native how often that occurred.  Only about every three years, but we have to keep reminding the fools, so they don’t fall off the road.  If you live where ice is in drinks with little umbrellas, and the only snow you see is on the TV when the cable connection comes loose, count yourself lucky.  I have to go take the snow-scoop and shovel, and clear my driveway.

Excitement Unexpected

 

versatile-blogger2

I may have to borrow BrainRants’ Thai hot-sauce.  My life is beginning to acquire some taste and flair.  T’was not always thus.  My life has been uninterestingly, go to work, come home, eat, watch some TV, repeat, repeat, repeat, for years.  That’s the way my medical providers and I have wanted it.  I have raised lowered bland to new depths.  If boring were an Olympic sport, I’d be at the top of the podium, wrapping the gold medal around my neck, while the guy with the drying paint watched the other guy’s grass grow.  There’s a Chinese curse, May you live in interesting times.  Between my hopefully now defunct eyesight drama, and the ever-growing blogosphere adventure, this has been an Interesting six months.

Wow!  Lightning struck three times on the same day.  Well, actually, it was more like the static sparks you get when you scuff your feet on the carpet and touch a doorknob, but they impressed the Hell out of me.  I have a very low tolerance.  First, LadyRyl read one of my pieces out loud to two of her gal friends.  One of them was sufficiently impressed that she wished to follow me, so LadyRyl posted a link to my site on her Facebook page.  Exposure like that might get me two, maybe three more potential readers.

Next, I got my Jerry Seinfeld piece reblogged.  Abauerporsche is a blog from a small Porsche dealer/repair shop in Oakland, California.  I would have thought that a lot full of Porsches would be enough to generate interest, but somebody there sieves the internet and reposts four or five blogs a day.  They’re always about cars.  They’re almost always about Porsches and many of them contain photos of body lines and chromed turbochargers and races.  I didn’t see any search terms.  I don’t know how my site was reached, or why that particular packing case of verbiage was shoehorned in, but, I’ll take the exposure.  Now I have upscale readers to consider.  I can write for Intelligent, but I’m not sure I can write for Expensive.

And finally….KayJai couldn’t pass on that case of strep throat, so she inflicted me with my second case of Versatile Blogger.  I guess every blogger must have some degree of ego, or we wouldn’t be here.  I have a very small one.  That’s why KayJai could massage it and still be done in time to get home for lunch.  Ego!  Pay attention!  I feel like Sally Field, accepting the Oscar.  You love me!  You really love me!  Either that or, I’m being given something to do, to get me out of your hair for a couple of days.

You all know the rules.  If you don’t, look ‘em up.  It doesn’t matter.  I didn’t follow them the first time, and I’m not going to follow them even worse, this time.  I am going to proudly thank KayJai.  She is a strong, kind, intelligent blogger, whose writing I appreciate, and whose opinions I respect.  It is humbling to receive such recognition from a person like her.

Hmmm, seven things about me…?  Go back and read my first acceptance speech.  I feel that I, personally, am about as exciting as tapioca pudding, but, I keep my eyes and ears open, and interesting people and things have passed though my orbit.  I have been within ten feet of Queen Elizabeth.  The Second!  I’m old, but I’m not that old.  Twelve feet from Prince What’s-his-name.  I got a kiss on the cheek from the Secretary of State for External Affairs.  She was a woman, or at least, that’s what she told me.  And, I had a very brief conversation with (and some photos of) the singer, Roger Whittaker, dressed up as Don Quixote.

Blogs I wish to acknowledge….include the group I wrote about a month or so ago.  SavortheFolly is partly back, and much welcomed.  H E Ellis was also M.I.A., and sadly missed, but is now back, to den-mother us.  I continue to take baby steps and expand my circle of blogs-read.  Some I have liked, others, not so much.  Two I wish to add are; from a link on Rants’ site, TheByronicMan.  Intelligent and well written.  He has something to say, and says it well.  From a recommendation from the missing Hellis, TheHaremsMaster.  He drops the occasional clot of keystrokes.  Sometimes talks about himself, sometimes about politics or life in general.  Sometimes prints excerpts from, not one, but two books he’s simultaneously working on.  Damn!  Am I the only one not working on a book?  Well, there is that ever-growing pile of research notes that the Hermudgeon keeps urging me to deal with.  If you think I live on the tundra, visit Harem Master’s place.  He’s so far north; the only thing keeping him from falling off the top edge is the North Pole itself.  He gets his internet delivered by dogsled, and it takes him an hour to defrost it.

Another management seminar impressed how a group decision is almost always better than any single person’s.  In the short time I have been observing “my” group; I have seen the individuals teach each other, new, better, more creative ways of doing things and challenge the others to new styles and new heights.  Figuratively, I have graduated from Velcro runners, to tying my own laces and taking those baby steps.  But it’s time to stop all this shoulder patting.  Let’s get out there and impress someone.