Friday, February 4, 2011

No More Ice-Breakers

For the last several days, I have been busting, cracking, shoveling, melting, tossing, cursing, stomping, and begging the three-inch-thick layer of ice lain upon my world. My hands are blistered and trembling. And after all I have done, there is still more ice, mocking me. Yes, it mocks. It groans with sarcasm as I approach it with my garden shovel.

We'll see who laughs tomorrow when my new employees arrive to finish the work. Who have I hired, you ask? Well, well, WELL! Let me clear my throat!

Asashoryu, having not much else going on, is on the way to spread salt upon the ice and stomp it into unrighteous bits.

These Irish Cloggers are also en route from parts unknown. Well, unknown parts of Wisconsin. They are sure to break up the bigger parts of the sidewalk.

Finally, the stompiest solution to my problems, if the first two can't cut it....

If Savion Glover can't break up the frozen waste that is my property line, then I give up. Nature, you win.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Stupid Life of Boys

As the Midwest, and especially Indiana, is gripped by the icy clutches of this year's winter, I can't help but recall winters of my youth. We were young once, and stupid. I found myself today describing to my daughter what it was to bumper ride at the bus stop on icy mornings. She agreed I used to be quite stupid.

If you can't guess by the name, a bumper ride consists of grabbing onto the bumper of a car which stopped at the bus stop corner, then holding on to slide as long as you dared until you had to let go. No one was ever hurt, but the possibilities of injury now stagger my adult mind.

After buying another sled as well as a snowboard earlier this season, I remembered the equipment my brother and I used on our snow and ice hills. We careened on cardboard, tobogganed on trash can lids, and sliced on aluminum siding. Our parents had, in fact, bought actual sleds for us, but many of our friends had to do without, so we got used to the fun of improvisation. Never did anyone wear, nor even own, a helmet, pad, or piece of actual protective gear. There were more than a few icy chutes of a hill streaked pink from someone's split lip or newly rearranged dental alignment.

And we kept going. The rule in our neighborhood was simple. You went in when, and only when, no one could understand you anymore because your face and mouth parts were too numb to respond. By then you trudged home in some sort of exhausted, trance-like state, famished and beaten, but Mom still looked at the clock as if to say, "back already?" When the jeans came off, they stood on their own by the door, infused with ice.

As I fell flat on my back yesterday for about the ninth time, I started to complain to myself, but then I remembered, this used to be what we called fun. Nothing was broken, and to someone watching, the falls were probably funny. So I went back chopping the ice in the driveway wondering how much longer my hands would work. Did I suddenly turn ambisinister, or had the cold and fatigue finally beaten me again? I dropped the shovel and started to ask someone walking by what time it was, but they couldn't understand me. I figured then the work was done.

If someone grabs your bumper by the bus stop, don't worry, I've done it lots of times before.