Lost Arts studio

A lot of the fiber arts I enjoy are things like tatting, netmaking, chair caning, and even weaving, where people will come up to me when I demonstrate and solemnly tell me, "That's a lost art."

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Location: SW Outer Nowhere, Michigan, United States

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08 December 2008

Two Words I Dread

I love winter and I love snow, but there are two words I do not like to hear or read in a weather forecast.

Those words are freezing rain.

As in

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN GRAND RAPIDS HAS ISSUED A FREEZING RAIN ADVISORY...WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM 4 PM THIS AFTERNOON TO 10 AM EST TUESDAY.

I used to work about 30 miles from home, north up a highway that seemed to go through the snowiest part of winter storms, so I got to work a lot on my winter driving skills. I learned that I could chant my mantra ("I am not going in the ditch, I am not going in the ditch") and drive through blizzards, blowing snow, deep snow, wet snow, fine dry snow.

I can remember storms with snowfall rates that were so heavy, my windshield would be covered at every half-stroke of the windshield wipers: wipers up, windshield snowed over, wipers down, windshield snowed over. That was the time that I made it all the way to my exit, only to get stuck because the Honda Civic sedan I had just could not push through the drift that had formed across the ramp. (Fortunately the two guys in pickup trucks following me jumped out, pushed me out, and jumped back in their trucks with hardly time to yell "Thanks!" into the wind at them.)

You can drive through a heck of a lot of snow as long as you slow down, keep going, and remember that you might not be able to stop or change direction.

Freezing rain, on the other hand, I think of as a lot more merciless. First it ices up your windshield and must be chipped away. Then it ices up your wipers, so it can't be so easily wiped off. Then it ices up the road surface, so that instead of slowing or stopping when you apply your brakes, you hear this: "Clunk, clunk".

That's the spooky sound of the brake shoes grabbing and stopping the wheels, meanwhile with the whole car continuing to slide forwards any old how, maybe straight, maybe sideways - who knows?

Even antilock brakes won't stop you on pure ice. The ABS will growl away, pumping the brakes on and off and vibrating the pedal against your boot, and there again the car is just . . . going.

That's what I dislike the most about freezing rain. Being inside a car that has been under my control, moving and stopping when I choose, to being inside this metal thing that is just going under the control of the laws of physics (and a lot less friction than I'm used to!)

(This was going to be a post about re-knitting the thumbs of my mittens. But so far I have failed to find the 10 grams or so of the mitten yarn that I know I should have left over. I reorganized my stash, and I've looked in the bags it should be in, and the bags it might have been in, and I even weighed the mittens to see if I had forgotten their real weight. Maybe there will be a knitting post next time, if I manage to dig it up!)

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11 Comments:

Blogger Roxie said...

The other thing I hate about freezing rain is that people actually expect you to buckle up and go drive in it. Any job I take, I tell them up front, "I do not get in my car in slick conditions. If there is snow, ice, or freezing rain, it is a given that Roxie will not be there." Guess you can't really get away with that where you live, can you? Major bummer!!

11:32 AM  
Anonymous Martha in Kansas said...

I sure agree about the freezing rain. We get lots here. A couple of years ago, tho, I discovered that I'd rather be negotiating the streets with a CAR around me than on foot. It took me an hour to slowly navigate down the hill from work, across many busy streets (they were driving on the glaze), to home. A walk that normally takes 10-15 minutes. My legs were cramped and I was pretty well frozen over by the time I got home. It took me hours to calm down. I drive to work now when the weather's threatening.

12:57 PM  
Blogger Donna Lee said...

I hate the fact that people think 4 wheel drive will protect them when they're driving in freezing rain. We get that alot more than snow. I hate it. I was on a commuter train once that slid down the side of the bridge all the way back into the station. The conductor came on and said "folks, we're going to back up and give it another try". Not with me on board! I got off and went the other way-towards home.

1:03 PM  
Blogger Rose Red said...

Ugh - freezing rain - sounds awful. I knew there was a good reason I live in Australia!

4:00 PM  
Blogger Marguerite said...

Great rant on freezing rain.

It's supposed to warm up and thaw as the night and the rain go on. It's 11 pm and we're still waiting to get above freezing.

I'm so excited that I have no where I need to go tomorrow.

10:58 PM  
Blogger HobbygÃ¥sa said...

I do so agree about the freezing rain, it is scaring to drive then. Much better is a lot of snow, but the best is sunny summer lol. Looks like we have similar weather during winter, and I too live near a big lake. The weather is freezing cold until the lake is frozen - sometime during January... We just have to find our warmest clothes and enjoy the fireplace until it is time for spring lol.

8:36 AM  
Blogger amy said...

I hate freezing rain too. I remember one time in college I had to make what was typically a 20-minute drive to the restaurant where I worked. The highway was like an ice rink. It was horrible. It took forever to get there. When I finally arrived safely, I went into the kitchen and asked the cook for a cigarette. "You don't smoke!" he said. My hands shaking, I said, "I think I do tonight." And of course, hardly anyone was stupid enough to go out to dinner on a night like that, but god forbid I didn't show up to work to make my $10 in tips. Sigh.

11:46 AM  
Blogger Lucia said...

Ah, yes, wonderful things, the laws of physics. I despise wintry weather of all sorts. I was once trapped in Newark airport starting at about noon with a colleague of extremely impatient temperament, the Friday before Presidents' Day weekend, in a snow/ice storm that had basically socked in the entire eastern seaboard. Practically no flights were getting out. She found us one that appeared to be leaving, and we got on it and sat there for an hour or more, then got off again. Helen was all for renting a car and driving home. Having already suffered a certain amount of cardiac distress riding with her to the airport, under no circumstances was I getting into a car with her and driving at 25 miles an hour, tops, from Newark to Boston. Our flight eventually took off, arriving in Boston at 12:40 am. Normally I fear flying, but I felt much, much safer i the air than on the ground.

8:24 PM  
Anonymous walterknitty said...

Hearing you talking about driving in snow reminds me of growing up in Iowa. I will never forget winter driving lessons with my Dad telling me never to slam on the brakes, go slow, and give yourself extra time to stop. Here in Oregon people have no idea how to drive in the snow. We had a snow/ice storm a few years ago that shut down Portland for 3 days. No salt trucks. I'll never forget getting a lift home during a snowstorm a couple of years ago and watching some guy in a Porche try to drive 40 miles an hour in the snow and slam on his brakes.

10:36 PM  
Blogger Felicia said...

I hope you survived your ice storm well. I have one (apparently a different one than yours) heading my way. Up to half inch ice and 1-5 inches of snow. Rather get the snow first.

5:47 PM  
Blogger Knitting Linguist said...

Just reading about it makes me tense up! I don't like freezing rain either (and freezing fog isn't much better). That's one good thing about not living very near freezing weather, I guess...

5:56 PM  

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