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.
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!)