The iceman cometh

Yesterday the temperature dropped all day–when I drove home from work, it was drizzling and about 33 degrees. As I built a fire in the fireplace, I heard the rain turn to sleet, its telltale plink-plink-plink hitting my living room windows.

Because it’s been pretty warm all week (a friend on Facebook called our weather the Bi-Polar Vortex) I figured the streets were still holding enough heat that nothing would really stick.

But this is Central Texas, and every few years we get the wrong combination of rain and freezing temperatures, major highways freeze over, and a couple hundred drivers crash into each other. So while it’s not Snowmageddon in which we’re hit with a massive blizzard, the Icepocalypse can paralyze the city just as easily. My school district originally said they’d decide by 9pm whether to delay schools for this morning. But at 9:00, all they managed was a text saying they planned to operate on a normal schedule, but they’d continue to monitor the weather. I went to sleep a little nervous–I live outside the city, and if the district based its decision on downtown road conditions rather than factors involving the greater metro area, I might have to navigate some treacherous roadways in the morning.

My alarm went off as usual–no robocall from the district, unlike the last time we’d had a two-hour delay and the damn thing started calling at 5:15am. But I checked my phone anyway, and I was rewarded with a text that had come in just after midnight, announcing that the district was closing all schools for the day. I started to go back to sleep, but then the district robot called my house phone with the cancellation. Five minutes after that, another text. Then the kid was up and wanting to make pancakes, so that was it for sleeping in.

That's not snow--it's ice.

That’s not snow–it’s ice.

I built another fire in the fireplace while B made pancakes. We were out of syrup, but he improvised with honey. I skipped the morning news programs, knowing it would be an endless parade of meteorologists having what my friend Ilene called snowgasms, even though there was not any actual snow. It was cold though–one of the outside faucets had frozen, despite my attempts at dripping it overnight.

I lived in northern Virginia until I was 12, and every winter we experienced the mythical snow day. Once, the snow was nearly as tall as I was! But I was like eight and not really tall, so it’s less snow than you might think. So I understood B’s enthusiasm when he piled on a bunch of clothes and went out to play in the white stuff on the ground.

After a while, he appeared with a snow ice man. He’d collected a bucket full of these sleet pellets from around the yard and driveway, then assembled it with a little tap water to freeze the whole thing together.

You can be my wingman anytime.

After a while, the neighbor kids came over and all three of them took off for parts unknown. They came back wet and cold an hour or so later, warmed their hands by the fire, and eventually went back out before the last of the ice melted.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I parked myself firmly on the couch. I had coffee, my quilt, a book, a warm fire, and replacement firewood delivered by the aforementioned boys. I got up to fix some lunch, to throw another log on the fire, and to make more coffee. I only went outside to take a picture of B with his iceman, and to shut off the faucet, which started spewing water when it finally defrosted late in the afternoon. I managed to slip in the ice on the back deck and land hard on my knee during one of those sojourns, but the fall generated only a slight bruise. Good thing my big race was last weekend, though!

This afternoon the temperature eventually got up into the 30s and most of the ice melted. The streets should be dry by now, although I haven’t ventured out to check, and I assume all systems are go for me to get in a 12-miler tomorrow morning. After a day of lazy, I think I’ll need it.


One thought on “The iceman cometh

  1. We had similar stuff here today; I was up at 4:30 watching the conditions deteriorate, and at 6:15 I made to call to shut our jobsite down for the day…just not worth having people out on the road. (Houston drivers see less sleet and ice than most, so they completely lose their minds when it happens – not that their mentis is all that compos to begin with 🙂 )

    Everything thawed and dried out by around 3pm, and so even though it’s dropping to the high 20’s tonight, I’m still on for two hours on the trails at 6am tomorrow, about 10 miles…which will be the first running I have done since the marathon last weekend! Talk about out of the frying pan and into the freezer!


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