Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Where is My Invincible Summer?

In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me
an invincible summer.
-Albert Camus

I am desperately trying to find my inner invincible summer this morning, but it is simply not working. It could be that it is 2 degrees below zero right now. Not too terribly bad, considering this is winter in Minnesota, but the wind chills are approaching -20. I close my eyes and try to visualize myself sitting on a beach with a Mai Tai in my hand and Caribbean music playing in the background. I really try, but I suddenly and inevitably return to reality when I can no longer feel my toes and the membranes in my nostrils freeze solid. Or perhaps it is the piles of snow taller than me that dots the landscape in every direction. Try as I might, my mind in incapable of turning those enormous snow masses into Tiki huts.

This winter has been, by far, the worst (and longest) winter I have encountered in my thirteen years of living in Minnesota. Oh yea...and the most expensive. Yesterday, I wrote out yet another check to a guy who risked life and limb to climb up on my roof to remove the snow and ice dams that keep forming. Several of you have asked me what an ice dam is. For my readers who are more intelligent than I am and, therefore, live in warmer climates, please allow me to explain. When heavy snow piles up on a roof, the heat escaping from your home causes the bottom layer of snow to melt. This water flows down your roof to your gutters, where it freezes solid, forming a giant dam of ice. As more snow melts and flows down your roof, it hits that ice dam and has nowhere to go. It pools right on the other side of the ice dam, eventually leeching down into your walls and into your home. It is really quite a lovely phenomenon.

You will find yourself laying in bed reading one night and look up to find a strange growth on your bedroom wall. Upon closer inspection, you will find that it is a large bubble that has formed under the paint on your wall. Though logic would dictate not to touch the unfamiliar growth, your inquisitive nature will get the better of you and you will poke the bubble. Suddenly, a deluge of water will flow from the bubble and down your bedroom wall. That is only the beginning. Within a matter of minutes, a veritable Niagara Falls of water will be seeping from under the paint on your wall and soaking your carpet below. You will grab towels to try to clean it up. You will say words that would make Mel Gibson blush. You will spin around in confusion, your mouth gaping open, looking for someone to suddenly swoop in and save the day. Sadly, you will come to the eventual realization that you are all alone and this is your shitty mess to deal with.

The only way to avoid the formation of ice dams is to completely remove all of the snow from your roof every time in snows. The problem, however, is that it has snowed practically every single day this winter (or so it seems, at least). Given that I have three children who require every free minute of my time, a two-story roof, and an inexplicable fear (terror, really) of ladders, that simply isn't going to happen. And I don't want Ruanita climbing up there either. I certainly don't need a paraplegic to care for. I have enough on my plate already, thank you very much.

So we are left with two options. We pay someone exorbitant amounts of money we don't have to climb on our roof and clear it for us. Or...we truck in some sand, create a beach on our bedroom floor, build that Tiki hut I was having trouble visualizing earlier, throw a few lawn chairs under the water fall, and drink Mai Tais until we are so drunk we no longer care.

Tough decision, huh?


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