Winter Woes

Whose bright idea was it to drop temperatures overnight, after a few hours and several centimetres of freezing rain?

I grew up bearing (and loathing) Canadian winters. But when I was a child, you could count on them to either dump an unwelcome pile of snow on your driveway, or taunt you with insultingly low, frostbite-inducing temperatures. Oh sure, we got the occasional freezing rain episode, but for the most part winter meant cold and snow.

Now, the rules have changed. It can be above freezing point one day, and -25ºC the next, without so much as an apology. So last night, after we received a heaping helping of freezing rain, the temperatures dropped so fast everything cemented over.

This morning, I bundled up to survey the damage and start scraping away at my car. For several minutes, I tried unsuccessfully to chisel my way through a wall of ice with the corner of my scraper. Just as visions of breaking my windshield (a perfectly acceptable and permanent solution to the winter windshield problem, I think) entered my mind, Chris came out, grabbed his scraper and started helping me.

Me: “…stupid winter… @#& scraper isn’t even making a dent… can we try the blow torch? Why the %#& not?”

After 20 minutes of scraping, cursing and crying, my car is finally rid of enough ice to allow me to see where I’m driving. Let’s call it legal-ish.

But I think I could still learn to love winter. From a distance. Like from a Caribbean beach.

(sorry folks, this one’s in French only!)


Baby it’s cold outside

It’s cold as hell out there. For anyone who hasn’t had the excruciating experience of walking out their front door lately, think twice before you do. That is, unless you’re either actively looking to lose a few fingers to frost bite, or your home is on fire.

I’m not sure what kinds of shenanigans Mother Nature is up to lately. Last week, London, Ontario got nearly 100 cm of snow; and now, Sarnia is dealing with 360 cars in the ditch following 3 days of insane snowfall.

We can’t complain about record snowfalls in Ottawa (yet – give it time), but we are experiencing temperatures of near -30 C with windchill. Look, don’t get me wrong, I know we should expect ridiculously low temperatures during Canadian winters. But that’s my point: it isn’t even winter yet. Winter solstice isn’t until December 21st.

It’s technically still fall. As in leaves falling from trees. Our eyelashes shouldn’t be freezing shut for at least another two months. Even my car mocked me as I tried to start it tonight.

I end this post with the hope that Mother Nature behaves soon, and that I eventually regain at least partial feeling in my fingers.

Spring is in the air?

Mist on the windshield

Mist on the windshield

Don’t get me wrong.

I know we haven’t had the mother of all winters. No record snowfalls burying our cars and street signs like it did in 2008. No unbearably long stretches at -30ºC. Overall, a Canadian’s dream winter.

Last week, from March 12-15 or so, temperatures climbed up to around 16ºC — that’s above zero. My daughters wore thin spring jackets to school. Joggers were spotted wearing shorts. I wore flip flops on a walk to the drug store. Ah, the exhilaration of having your toes feel the warm breeze!

Then we headed to Sherbrooke, QC for the weekend. Originally, they were announcing around 12ºC, sunny with a few clouds. The weather forecasts again proved themselves consistent in their inability to accurately predict weather and temperature.

Not only was it barely above freezing point, but it actually started to snow on Sunday. Or, as my brain translated, a trillion pigeons circled overhead while letting loose. And on the 2nd day of spring no less.

We drove back home to Ottawa through an insulting mix of snow and rain, which eventually faded into a fine mist. The kind that mockingly speckles your windshield, but never quite enough to justify the wipers, who would only smear it all over the windshield, causing more reduced visibility than the mist.

Sigh. Did someone not get the memo? It’s spring.

On the other hand, we’ll appreciate our upcoming vacation in the Dominican Republic all the more. I can already taste the rum…