Saturday, March 6, 2010

Battling the Ice Giants

In a way, it's kind of sad.

Each year about this time, my wife and I both wage a battle against ice. We're ready for winter to go, and with the sun getting stronger and the air getting warmer and the snow on the roof melting and filling the gutters and downspout with the melodious trickle of liquid winter, we get giddy.

We start attacking the ice.

First to go is the ice that cakes in the driveway. Michelle this year chipped away at it with a shovel until just about every square inch of driveway is clear. But then there's the conundrum: All the melting ice and snow causes a lake to form at the end of the driveway. It's inches deep. When the cold invariably comes, it freezes over, making the end of the driveway a slippery slab of ice. So while the water is still liquid, we chisel away at the ice and gunk in the gutters and pound our way toward the French drain in front of the neighbor's house. We reached it today, but there's still a formidable ice dam between the drain and now both our driveways. So tomorrow, weather permitting, I'll be out there chiseling awy at that last bit of ice until the dam is breached and the drain is reached.

But to make that truly effective, I had to clean the gutter in front of the house. That meant a lot of lifting, including prying up 100-pound slabs of ice and tipping them into the yard. I used to throw them in the street, but that got to be untidy, so into the yard they go.

I love this ritualistic time of year. Phooey to those who say we don't have rites of passage in our society. This one certainly counts for me.

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