I have been back in Canada for a little less than three weeks and I discovered that while I was away Mother Nature had smiled upon my neighbours and had given them at least one week of exceptional weather. There had been much melting in my absence and I could even see the brick that makes up the walkway to my home. The quarter inch of ice from December’s ice storm was gone and the snow had diminished in height substantially. The long range forecast was for above average conditions and I thought things were looking up. Then the bitch found out I was home.
Blizzard number four of the winter arrived on Monday. It began with rain that started falling mid-morning and at noon there was thunder and lightning. What the hell?? It’s March 6th!! We don’t get lightning it March!!! It didn’t last long but the thunder was so intense that it shook the house. Then the temperature started to drop and by 3pm it had turned to freezing rain and the winds had started to increase.
I’m sure most of you have experienced freezing rain. It’s the precipitation that falls and stays were it lands. It defies gravity. The weight makes tree limbs droop and power lines sag. Freezing rain creates a sheet of ice on the streets that shimmers like glass and it becomes treacherous to walk or drive on them. It builds up as it falls, creating icicles from the eaves of homes and coats the snow banks making them as hard as stone and just as grey. That freezing rain went on until Tuesday morning and then stopped. There was almost a half inch of ice everywhere.
The computer forecast was still flashing red with a blizzard warning when I went to work Tuesday morning at 4am, but the rain had stopped (mostly) and the winds were calm. I scraped the windshield of my truck for 15 minutes while I warmed it and blasted the defroster. The problem is that my truck is diesel and they don’t warm-up unless they’re moving, so after a quarter hour I left my yard with a hole to see through the size of a cantaloupe. I drove slowly on the ice covered streets and stopped before going onto the Trans-Canada highway and scraped again increasing my peephole only fractionally. I stopped twice more before I reached my destination and even with the heat blasting at the ice covered windshield I had only managed create a watermelon sized hole! Okay I know that wasn’t very safe but in my defense there was no other traffic on the road because they highway was closed west of me and the road crews had laid so much salt on the road it was merely wet.
This risk taking was pointless I discovered when I reached my first account and was unable to open the rear doors. The lock was frozen and the hinges were coated in thick ice, there was no way in. I drove around to each of my stores and did what I could and when the car dealership in town opened its doors at 9am I took it and put it inside one of their service bays. It took two hours to thaw it out and clear the ice!! I went back to work which now meant getting back on the highway and driving to the big city and my company’s warehouse and then back home. The forecast hadn’t changed, “Blizzard Imminent!!!”
I made the trip and arrived home twenty minutes before the Highways Department closed the Trans-Canada from one side of the province to the other. It stayed that way for the next 24 hours. Snow was falling heavily and the winds were gusting to 100kph, you couldn’t see anything but white out on the roads. The snow drifted around my house and up against the garage door where my new snow blower was stored. When the snow finally stopped I went to dig it out only to discover that the door to the garage was frozen shut by the same ice that had coated my truck. Even with an ice chipper I couldn’t make a dent in that ice!! I shoveled out the car and drove to the hardware store and bought a 10kg bag of safety salt, went home and poured it along the garage door and along my walk, then went inside and brooded.
I waited for four hours for the salt to do its thing, then went back out with the ice chipper and hacked away at the ice holding the garage door. I can only guess how long it took to finally free the door and gain access. Since our garage door swings out and up I had needed to cut away six inches of ice before I could achieve this feat, my arms and hands ached. I raised the door and there before me was my new snow blower, the one I had purchased after blizzard number two, the one that was meant to help alleviate the aching muscle of exertion… it was frozen to the floor. Are you kidding me?!!! The rain had run under the garage door and spread over the concrete floor for five feet and then frozen there, trapping my snow blower. I couldn’t get it to budge!! I scooped up as much of the salt that remained from freeing the door and spread it around the snow blower, went back inside and brooded some more.
Why do I live here? What did my ancestors see about winter that made them not pack up their belongings after the first one and head south? I must come from a long line of idiots!!! Oh sure the health care’s good but it wasn’t back then!! What the hell possessed them to stay??? Canadian history tells of countless lives lost to the harshness of those first winters, yet the damn morons stayed!!! They almost annihilated the buffalo just to make warmer clothing!! Entire industries are now dedicated to trying to help us survive these stupid winters!! At least the bears and gophers get it right, they sleep through it!!!
I for one am done with it, my ‘Super Awesome Retirement’ calendar reads 50 months and 2 weeks to go until I can free myself of Canadian winters and then I’m out of here! I am done with snow and freezing rain. I’ve put up with enough of it and I have developed an enormous hate. I am going to break the idiot cycle and do what my ancestors should have done millennia ago… I’m liquidating and relocating.
Until then I’m keeping the snow blower in the hall closet.