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Thursday, December 23, 2004

Oh, the weather outside....whatever

I do like winter.

Today we've got a good dose of Canada dumped on us. My boss decided to let us go home at noon because the word was that the temperatures were going to drop during the day, and that, combined with the freezing rain that was going to fall, meant potentially very dangerous driving conditions.

I called my son and reminded him that his filial duty was to shovel. He looked outside and tried some weak protest, but it wasn't going to work. I half expected to find him still planted in front of his computer when I got home. Little did he know of the wrath that would descend on his teenaged head if such were true.

My car was covered in about 2 inches of ice all over so I chiseled my way in and spent 15 minutes clearing the windows and windshield wipers. Then off I went, never leaving second gear.

If you've never driven in bad winter weather, especially icy conditions, you've missed a treat. You kind of have to take liberties with stop signs, for one. Because if you come to a full stop, good luck getting going again.

And I get stuck at a traffic light.

I drive a little Hyundai accent, standard. I'm trying to rock back and forth to get some traction and I'm going about as far as a thief with Rosie O'Donnell's Doc Martens - nowhere. I put on my sad blonde puppy dog eyes and will other drivers passing me to look my way. Look, damn you!


So I get out and flag someone down. He and his wife get out and push me out of my rut and off I go. I got home okay, until I had to turn into my street. It had yet to be plowed, so again, I'm stuck - the snow was about a foot deep and I think it lifted my little car right off the ground. Sort of. Well, maybe not but I wasn't getting anywhere.

Out of the blue came my knights in shining armour - the Chinese man from across the street who speaks no English, the two teenage kids from next door, and my son, who was shovelling the driveway (what a GOOD boy you are Adam!). They rushed over and pushed and we rocked back and forth till I was safe and sound in the driveway. Because they were so kind, Adam and I helped the two teenagers finish their driveway, which adjoins ours.

Then I got out and helped Adam finishing shovelling. Cutting through the two inches of ice layered on top of the 10 inches of snow. There's different kinds of snow, and the worst is wet snow. So this was heavy ice, covering wet snow. By this time, the wind's picked up and is probably 40-50 km/hr in gusts.

Check out the little weather person on the right. It'll say the current conditions. To help those non-metric among you - a rough conversion for C to F temperature: take the C figure, add 18, and multiply by 1.8. So, 2 C would be about 36 F. Roughly. And -10 C would be about 22 F. But the temperature only tells part of the story. On days like today, we get what's called the wind chill factor. They add in the speed, direction, and humidity in the wind and convert it to a figure that tells you what it *feels* like outside, rather than what the mercury says. Some days the mercury can read -15, but the windchill makes it feel like -25. And at those levels, Celsius and Farenheit are pretty much the same.

We were fine doing the front of the house - then we turned the corner to do the 120 foot sidewalk down the side of the house and BAM. The wind. We were, all in all, almost 2 hours shovelling.

Work is all done now. And I'm sitting, relaxing with a cup of hot chocolate. I'm fighting a bit of a cold, but I actually feel a bit rejuvenated doing all that physical labour.

And I would imagine that no matter what, this year will be a White Christmas.

Blogger Dangerous Mind said...
I guess we both experienced the joys of a Toronto / Canadian winter today. Even after six years in Canada I am still getting used to the winters. Somehow I don't think I ever will!

A bad winter in London, England (my home town) meant an inch of snow. So my first winter here was a real shock to the system. Mel Lastman calling out the troops blew my mind as well. But then he did & said a lot of stupid things.

Anyway I had taken the day off work because we were going to drive down to Hamilton to visit my sister and her kids. But wasn't keen on driving in these conditions so that got cancelled.

Wasn't in the mood to clear the driveway either. Eventually got around to doing it around 6pm. I think it was more the prospect of facing the wrath of the missus than not being able to get the car out of the driveway in the morning. So wise choice Adam.

Enjoy reading your stuff - keep it up.  

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