Tuesday, January 16, 2007

A Spot or Two of Ice

The ice storm affecting so much of North America over the weekend just grazed this part of Illinois, with rain turning into ice and then snow before sunrise Monday, but not much – a little less than an inch of snow was on the ground in the morning, with ice underneath here and there. It wasn’t the kind of storm that ices up power lines and tree limbs to any dangerous degree.

Then again, the car that I park outside was pretty well iced over. On Monday night, I had a mind to go somewhere in it, and discovered two things. The windows were opaque; and our ice scrapers were AWOL. The location of the scrapers hasn’t been much of an issue this winter, with its weeks and weeks of icelessness. Actually, I did find one. The brush was still intact, but the business end was broken off.

It was tough ice. Improvised scraper-edges – a paint-mixing stick, the edge of a sturdy cardboard box – were no use. So I did the rational thing: I changed my driving plans, and waited for the sun this morning to soften the ice, which it did.

Just the latest in chipping, scraping, cracking, breaking and otherwise dealing with inconvenient ice: an unavoidable part of living in the North. Years ago, I drove through the beginning of an ice storm on I-55 northeast of St. Louis and had to stay in Normal, Illinois, for the night. The next morning was clear and sunny, but the driver’s side of the car, including the window, had a solid coat of ice on it, maybe because that side of the car had faced the storm overnight. Inside the car, I was able (amazingly) to roll the window down, leaving the coat of ice in place. I shattered it with my hand, busting it like candy glass in the movies. Too bad all ice isn’t that much fun to get rid of.

On Monday afternoon, though cold, driving was normal. I took Lilly and Ann in the other car – which was parked in the garage during the storm – to see Night at the Museum. Lilly was much amused. Ann mightily enjoyed the slapping contest between man and monkey, among other things. It wasn’t so outrageously stupid that I couldn’t put up with it, but it was thin gruel for me. It doesn’t pay to think about the premise of a movie like this too much, but that’s what I did – the premise being that everything in the Museum of Natural History in New York magically comes alive from sundown to sunrise. But I had to wonder: that’s fine for summer, but isn’t the museum open after dark in the winter, since for a while it gets dark before 5 pm? (The movie is set in winter, but this isn’t an issue.) And how is it that, besides Dick Van Dyke and his cronies, no one noticed this in 50 years? No one ever worked late?

I could go on, but that’s a fruitless activity. It was what it was, not completely without entertainment value. Had a handful of funny lines, though strangely I can’t remember any just now.


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