ice jam

Defying Logic

Defy logic.  That’s what 100 inches of snow and sub-normal temperatures do. I picked up one of my son’s friends for an overnight late one afternoon.  Popping open the swinging gate to their yard, I was greeted by two big, lick-happy dogs.  Two days and one 12-inch snowfall blizzard later, I took Will’s friend home and the dogs greeted me in the front yard.  I must have looked at the mom a little perplexed.  “I know!  With that last snow, they just walk over the fence!”  The four-foot high fence.  I don’t think I have ever seen such gleeful dogs.

Our 4-foot high fence -- two storms ago.


Where we stayed while skiing in Vermont was heated by forced air.  The bedrooms were on the cool side.  Liam slept like a rock and, back at home, said he missed that coolness.  I agreed.  I turned the heat down from our standard 69 degrees to 65.  The next morning when I turned the thermostat back up to 68, the heat wouldn’t come on.  I picked the wrong night to drop the tempurature, for I set off a domino effect:  I turned the heat to 65.  The water stopped flowing through the pipes.  The outdoor temperature dropped to minus something.  A cold breath of air found its way into the wall and gave the water pipes a cold blast.  The pipes froze.  I called therapists for the pipes.

First, just keep the heat up high in the rest of the house and that should take care of it within hours.  Many hours later, no change.  We ran our gas fireplace in the bedroom for hours a day and set up a little space heater in the boys’ room.  After days of a balmy 75 - 80 degrees on the main floor, I couldn’t do it any longer.  Then, let’s just wait until an above freezing day and that should take care of it.  That day came and went.  Finally, after Will came into our room with a morning chill, I scratched out all appointments for a day and pulled space heaters up to the walls and pipes in two suspicious rooms.  Bill pulled heavy furniture away from walls so the heat could get to hidden pipes.  Finally, ten days after the initial freeze, I felt a spring of hot water rush through the pipe to the boys’ bathroom radiator.  Oh the relief of having un-constipated heating pipes.


We Malcolms are fortunate to be a snow-loving family.  I use the royal “we” here as Bill is a ski-lover but not a snow-lover.  This year I found that a chairlift up the mountain is one place where small talk still exists.  Fingers would turn blue outside of gloves in -9 degree weather.  Plus, there is that long drop from the high-flying chairs to the slope: That keeps cell phones zippered tightly in pockets on the ride up.  The small talk experience is akin to flying in the 80's.


The spring thaw should be interesting.  We’ve installed two sump pumps in our basement in preparation for the inevitable week of 45-degree temps, a big brilliant full sun, and a ginormous melt.  Our sled inventory has suffered over this winter.  We are down to only one good sled and one duct-taped together -- and two others are under a snowbank.  Two saucers – dug out from the loft and used only in desperation – nearly disappeared in the scant four inches earlier this week, but I believe Bill rescued them.  I think there may also be a glove and a snow shovel re-appearing in May.  Thinking it might be good to replenish sleds soon, and these Paricon Winter Lightning Sled (3-Pack) look great!


Then, there are the ice jams… the science behind those is a whole wondrous story in and of itself.

Happy Winter!

(Fierce Mountain Gnomes also defy logic.)