Wilder by Far

A look at life with the Wilder family. Updated most weekends and some vacation days. You can contact me at movingnorth@gmail.com..

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Location: United States

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

"On behalf of myself and Harold and the whole gang up here at Possum Lodge, keep your stick on the ice." - Red Green, The Red Green Show

The Boy took this. I call this "Still Life, Suburban Street, Where's The Frigging Ice?"


Pandemonium in the streets! Call Jack Bauer! Call Walker, Texas Ranger! Call, umm, somebody! Anybody!

I first heard about the looming terror last week in a series of whispered rumors. It might be coming. It would be coming soon.

Then my neighbor, Gladys Kravitz (more on that in a future missive), indicated that, in breathless terms, there was a run at the supermarket – everything was flying off the shelves. Bottled water. Milk. Diapers. Toilet paper. For Heaven’s sake – there’s a Pez shortage! People were digging in, and preparing for disaster.

The looming terror? Tornados? Foreign invasion? Brad and Angelina moving to town?


A minor taste of what people in Alaska would call “summer.” Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Houston is caught in the fevered grip of panic from the thought that it might be a bit chilly this week. I think it even has it’s own theme: Ice Storm, 2007. It’s been the lead story for the last five days, and it certainly sounds like the newscasters are talking in bold when they mention it.

I see stories spring up in the news about what do if you catch hypothermia, as if you can even do that in three or four hours of walking around in nothing but Wonder Woman™ Underoos® outside holding a can of spray paint and looking for spare change under a trash can to buy breath mints (don’t ask how I know that to be true, but just trust me). To listen to the media, Houston was about to see temperatures similar to the last ice age, which resulted in the formation of the Icecapades and the popularity of Olympic Ice Clog Dancing.

Strangely, Global Warming® stories are not in the news this week . . . .

I will admit that houses down here are woefully unprepared for anything approaching weather. In Fairbanks, I had triple pane windows. Here, my windows are made out of a single sheet of the stuff that wraps a Twinkie©. The original builder apparently also thought that it would be a good idea to put bare copper pipe outside and exposed to the elements. The copper pipe has the patina of age, so, I was probably being a bit silly when The Boy and I went out and put foam insulation over the pipe coming out to the valves for the garden hoses. In the 240 years since Casa Wilder South has been built, well, those pipes haven’t frozen.

The Boy and I wrapped the pipe just in case that it might get to 32.14ºF or slightly below and cause the end of human civilization in Houston, or at least a total shortage of toilet paper. Oh, and burst my pipes.

Do I mock? Yes. Last winter I saw temperatures that were 87ºF colder than Houston will be at it’s coldest this year. And I saw them for longer than a week. And, I’ve been in real ice storms, where glaze ice was thick enough to coat Donald Trump’s hair. I understand that they can be and have been serious business this year.

But in Houston??? As of today I haven’t even seen temperatures that would require a normal human to seek a coat, let alone the assortment of knit caps, parkas, mufflers, insulated gloves, and snow boots that I’ve seen before it even got to below 40ºF. I wonder: why do these people even have these clothes? Really, is it that hard to brave a day or two of discomfort rather than purchase an entire new wardrobe that would make you the envy of people working outside all day in darkest winter in Fairbanks? When you live in Houston? I will say this, with emphasis: it’s not cold enough outside to get beer to a decent and drinkable (beer is always drinkable- editor) temperature.

Enough random musings. The other day, The Boy indicated it was hot. It was in the 60’s out. He was sweaty. This summer I fully anticipate that he’ll melt when it hits 80ºF, saving him from the problem of bursting into flames since no member of our near-albino family can tolerate much more light than a 40-Watt bulb for more than twenty minutes at a time without blistering. And forget going outside to get the Sunday paper – all you would find of us would be a little pile of ashes on the driveway.

Last night, however, I got to see the supermarket in shambles, anything that could burn having been ripped off the shelves, the occasional tumbleweed and slowly smoking fire dotting the aisles between housewares and ladies undergarment thingies. Each clerk had a dazed expression, looking like they’d just stared into the face of an unspeakable evil for ninety straight hours. You could see the desperation and terror in the eyes of the clerks as they looked upon the desolation that had been the local Target®. In short, it was like a place where Stephen King would shop.

Armed with the latest reports on the local radio station, I bravely took to the streets this morning. I wish I could say something dramatic like there was a bazillion car pileup, but, really, it was a boring, uneventful drive to work at 70 mph (3,084 km/hr, if you’re French, or maybe even Canadian – I think if you’re French-Canadian, it’s definitely km/hr). I think there was certainly the possibility of a bazillion car pileup, but, sadly, we were lacking ice. The coffee was good.

So, here I sit. A veteran now of some mildly chilly weather. Dang, I’m tough. Jack Bauer, look out.


Blogger Spencer said...

You just couldn't leave Alaska behind, could you? You had to have it tag along behind you. "John is coming! Get water! We're all gonna die!!1!"

2:14 AM  
Blogger Jacie Wiggs said...

Okay, like don't even get me started on the French-Canadians John. He, He! All I'm going to say is, with French-Canadians on the road driving at, well their usual speed is between 140-160 km/hr, well the possibility of a bazillion collision is increased dramatically.

Oh and it is -31 C here in Ottawa with wind chill. On Monday we had 10cm of snow and the media went nuts calling it a "raging blizzard", cars were off the road everywhere. On the 'real' east coast (east of Quebec) 40-60cm is a 'raging blizzard'. A couple years back, Halifax got 90cm of snow in one dumping. Now that's winter!

4:02 AM  
Blogger Dame Koldfoot said...

Does this mean that Texas will kick you out if the temperatures hit (gasp) 20F? The state just can't handle anyone tougher than Walker, Texas Ranger living there.

9:48 AM  
Blogger Duck Hunter said...

You just had to drag "The Donald" into it! Now he's going to sue you.

1:54 PM  
Blogger shawnkielty said...

You know -- I woke the neighbors again. It was on the knews here that it was "cold™" in Tejas. I knew this was going to be hysterical.

At least in california they don't buy out the toilet paper when it's going to freeze.

I have been to Dallas twice. The first time it was 8° F. (not that silly metric crap). The second time it was 175°F. The boy is going to get hot.

And so are you.

12:37 AM  
Blogger Joann said...

Strangely, Global Warming® stories are not in the news this week . . . .

....nor did President Bush get credit when he kept all those hurricanes away from the east coast.

2:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

5:19 PM  
Blogger John said...

Nope. I brought it with me. You can blame the mildly chilly weather on me.

Arrgh, see, all that km, and C stuff - it makes me think that Canada is plotting to invade!!!!

dame koldfoot,
Oh, Chuck Norris is tough, but I've got a chainsaw. My tears also cure cancer. It's a shame I don't cry.

duck hunter,
He can bring it on. Really. I would love to put freezing rain on his hair in court. Imagine, my defense involves freezing Donald Trump? If I could only freeze Rosie, too.

Yeah, I *almost* broke out a jacket. Then I thought better of it.

I'll keep you posted on the melty part.

Ahh, the hurricanes. That I'm going to have to figure out.

I'm just mad at Bush for not stopping the ice storm short of Houston - oh, wait . . .

6:18 PM  

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