Mar. 19th, 2011

beboots: (Canada "discovery" history)
 I like to think that I'm prepared for Canadian winters. I've lived here since I was three, born of a manly Canadian outdoorsman father who puts wild game on the dinner table. I never leave home without gloves in the winter, and I never foolishly wear stilettos or ridiculous shoes if it's cold and/or icy out, no matter how stylish I want to seem. Stylish goes out the window as soon as it hits below zero, right? (I know a friend who got frostbite and lost a toe because she wore stilettos to go to the bar in January and the busses abruptly stopped running. Just bring a big enough purse to hide your bulky boots in at your destination.) There's always an emergency blanket and shovel in the trunk of my car just in case I get stuck in a snowdrift somewhere. 

I am Canadian, hear me roar. 

Anyway, the weather's been so nice lately, right? It's actually been oscillating between about -10C and +5C every day for the past week. It's been surprisingly sunny as well, and there's been little wind to surprise you with the windchill. That sounds great!

...Until you remember that because of that big dump of snow we got in January, we have giant windrows (giant rows/drifts of snow created by snowplows, not a typo of "window") everywhere. That means that when the temperatures reach above zero, basic science tells us that some of that snow will melt. And refreeze at night. Then melt again. Repeat ad nauseam. The sidewalks go from being puddles or streams one day, and ice rinks the next.

And because of the windrows, the ice/water/whatever it decides to be on that particular day has nowhere to go. So it accumulates.

Now, after all that setup, I begin my story.

I spent much of my day doing homework, from about 9:30am until my sister came by to visit at 5:00pm or so. I was pretty productive! However, aside from opening the window every so often, I hadn't gotten any fresh air for the day. So after supper I decided to go for a walk. I would normally go for a jog, but that's just asking for trouble. I don't want to slip and break my writing arm or something, this close to the end of the scholarly season. 

Anyway, so I was navigating the ice and puddles just fine. I was on the home stretch. (I walk a sort of circle around my neighbourhood so I approach the house from the opposite direction that I started out on, which is how I got no warning.) I was walking down a hill, and I saw a lady and her small yippy dog, coming from the opposite direction. That's why, when I saw the giant LAKE of melted snow at the bottom, I presumed it to be passable. I mean, that lady and her tiny dog got across, so why can't I?

It was HUBRIS, plain and simple. I'm betting now that the lady just saw the giant pool of water and turned right back around... but didn't bother to warn me. :P Thanks, random lady. 

Anyway, I saw that the temporary lake was fairly deep, probably reaching halfway to my knees. But I saw a few footprints on the snowdrift on the side, so I figured it was pretty solid. I didn't want to go all the way back up the hill to pick a different path, so I continued on. 
 
BIG MISTAKE. The first ten steps or so were fine, fairly solid. I only sank about a handspan or two down into the snow. And then suddenly, I plunged downwards, up to my knees. My feet were soaked instantly: there was more water hidden beneath the snowdrifts. 
 
It was too late to turn around, though. Taking a desperate glance behind me, I decided to man up and keep going. Dry sidewalk was only about ten meters away. I plunged down through the snowdrift almost midway up my thighs a few times. I then veered slightly right, clinging to the chain link fence, but I couldn't get far just pulling myself along with my arms. I had long since reached the point of no return, though, so I had to keep going. 
 
In the end, I remembered something I'd learned in girl guides, about what you do if you should find yourself on thin ice: you spread your weight around. So what did I do? I got down and crawled. 
 
I literally crawled across this patch of snow and ice so I wouldn't get completely soaked. I was in no real danger (although I've since noticed some bleeding scratches on my shins from the snow when I was sinking deeply through half melted ice and got a bit of an abrasion when I came back up), and especially not from drowning or freezing or getting hypothermia so close to home, but... yeah. 
 
There was a guy walking his dog coming down the hill at me just as I got up. I warned him off. The sidewalk was impassable. He thanked me for telling him, and he went in the other direction. I can only hope that the prints in the snow from my flailing the last six or seven meters will warn other people off. 

I'm wearing pajama pants now, because damn it if the ice didn't melt off of my trousers and soak them as soon as I stepped inside the house. :P
 
Canadian winters still need to be taken seriously. Even if (and maybe especially if) it's above zero. 
 

Profile

beboots: (Default)
beboots

April 2011

S M T W T F S
     1 2
3 456 789
101112 13 141516
17181920212223
24252627282930

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Sep. 23rd, 2017 12:08 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios