Haven’t you always wanted to live on an ice rink?
Would you like to try it–just for a day or so?
If your answer is an unequivocal “yes”, please move to the North Woods. Preferably on some country back road, away from the liberally salted or sanded main highways.
Put on your ice skates and enjoy winter!
OK, dear reader, you can perhaps intuit that I am being a wee bit sarcastic.
It is not very fun living on an ice rink.
It is even kind of dangerous.
You have to walk ever-so-slowly toward your car. You have to pray the car tires don’t spin on the ice leaving you stranded in your own driveway. You have to pray that little-old-lady taxpayers don’t come with their checks for $452 on a bright sunny day such as today and fall whilst attempting to clutch a receipt while toddling back to their cars.
As some of you know, I am a part-time township tax collector and sinner. (I am only quoting the Bible about the sinner part, although I do sin daily by checking my email too much and sometimes being irreverent and sometimes eating a half bag of almonds at one sitting.)
After collecting taxes for more than a quarter of a century (gasp!) I know by heart which taxpayers will be showing up to pay their taxes in person. Ninety-nine percent of all taxpayers stuff their check (angrily, happily, with resignation, in despair, or sweetly with a nice note for their township treasurer) in an envelope and mail it. One percent come visiting.
I am scared for the one percent who will come sliding in the driveway before tax deadline next Tuesday.
Therefore, for the sake of visiting taxpayers (and for ourselves, of course) we opted to thinly spread ashes from the wood stove over the slippery ice. It works. You can’t wear your shoes inside due to ash residue, but you may find a navigable path through the treacherous “rink”.
You may be wondering what Phenomenon of Nature caused the ice rink. I shall tell you. Even though I was in Nicaragua when the ice reached epic slipperiness.
First, we had nine inches of snow. Then, a week later, another nine inches of snow fell from the heavens. All the local driveways were then plowed, compressing the new-fallen snow to make drive-able.
The fickle 2012 winter then decided to warm up to 30-40 degrees. (-1 to 4.4 Celsius.) The snow melted, followed by rapidly freezing overnight temperatures.
Show of hands, please?
You’re right. The exact equation to create a driveway ice rink.
I must also add that this is not a pleasant driveway ice rink, such as the ice rinks where you don skates and merrily circle around and around laughing cheerfully before drinking hot chocolate.
This ice rink is filled with divets and holes, choppy surfaces and impassable slopes.
Besides maneuvering on ashes, how can one walk?
With ice grippers, of course. You buy them at your local North Woods store, and secure them onto your shoes or boots. It is not an easy feat. (Pun intended.) You then can not walk on your grippers in the house, and you will ruin your wooden front porch if you attempt to walk on them.
Nonetheless, grippers are helpful, especially if you have bad knees like one member of our household.
I prefer to find the crunchy areas of snow in the driveway, hidden in between the ice sheaths.
It is a slow walk to the car.
Don’t even dream of prancing to the mailbox. Stop your car out by the mailbox and drive the mail in.
I know you’re wondering about the snow, as well.
Yes, it’s hard as a rock, too. Slippery as the ice rink.
Impossible to make snowmen. Impossible to shovel.
If you attempt to walk on it–keep crutches nearby.
You can do three things.
1) Pray for a heavy wet snow that melts into and covers the ice. (A thin dusting will only cover the snow and make it much more treacherous.)
2) Stay inside. Venture outside only in an emergency.
3) Find a sled and head to the nearest hill. Speed down like the thrill-seeker you really are. (I, of course, will not be doing this. The last time I joined another woman on a sled at a ski hill she chided me for dragging my hands, attempting to slow down the sled. As I sat sniffling from her scolding in the back of the sled, praying for safety, convinced of certain death, our sled overturned and she broke her wrist. Last sled ride I ever enjoyed…)