Sunday, February 1, 2009

I Don't Mind the Snow, Except . . .

Georgiana usually liked the snow.

She liked how the snowflakes fluttered like bits of lace torn from the gowns of angels amid an odd hush, as if the snow were a thick white blanket muffling the world’s noises.

She liked the way the snow shone through the windows at midday, lighting up the room brighter than any chandelier. And she especially liked it when the sun came out and set the snow all aglitter, sparkling like a frosty fairyland of diamonds.

The above is an excerpt from one of my unpublished Regency historicals. Like Georgiana, those are things I like about the snow. And I like it as long as I don’t have to be in a car, whether as driver or passenger. I also like it as long as the power doesn’t go out. That’s where my heroine and I part company. Georgiana didn’t have electricity, but she still liked the snow—usually.

When I turn on the news in the evening and see what the snow is doing to other parts of the country, I’m glad to live in Florida. I’m glad I don’t have to bundle up Baby Bear like Mrs. Parker did to Randy in A Christmas Story, then worry that he’s going to take everything off once he’s outside. And I’m glad I don’t have to nag Mr. Lucky to shovel the front walk or get the snow tires put on before the first flurries fly.

I have a hang-up about the latter. I grew up in Washington State, where my father owned a service station in my hometown—this was back in the days before they morphed into self-service pumps and convenience stores. At the first flutter of a snowflake, everyone in town would mob my father’s business, wanting their snow tires put on that very day.

I learned from that. After I grew up and was on my own, I never wanted to be caught in the snow without the snow tires on and the engine winterized. When I was in the Air Force stationed at Fairchild Air Force Base in Spokane, WA, I took my Chevy in to be winterized the first weekend of November, even though there was still no sign of snow, because I wanted to avoid the rush. Indeed, the manager told me that on the first snowfall the previous winter, they were so swamped with customers wanting their snow tires mounted that same day, that the employees didn’t even realize there were local news cameras present, making a story out of the chaos. They didn't know till they went home that night and saw themselves on TV.

I was reminiscing about this the other day when Mr. Lucky looked at me funny and said, “Snow tires?”

Except for the three years he spent in Germany while in the Air Force, my husband has never lived anywhere above 40 degrees latitude north. Apparently he knows about chains, but not snow tires. And that’s not all: I learned the first winter of our marriage (in Germany) that he knew next to nothing about scraping ice off a windshield.

I've made up a lot of stuff about Georgiana, but I swear to you, I am not making this up about Mr. Lucky.

He didn’t scrape--he chipped, one flake of frost at a time. Maybe he thought the scraper would scratch the windshield. I couldn’t believe my eyes, and had never been so annoyed with him before. “For crying out loud, it’s not an ice chipper,” I told him. “It’s an ice scraper. GIMME THAT!” I could scrape the ice off every window of the car in less than three minutes; he was going to take three hours just for the driver’s side of the windshield. But he wouldn’t let me have the scraper. He insisted on doing it in his own way, and ordered me to sit in the car and wait. And sit. And wait. And seethe. And—I popped out of the car again and tackled him. “Give that to me and let me do it!”

Honestly. The way he was doing it, why even bother? Why didn’t we just wait for spring to come and melt everything away? I finally managed to wrest the ice scraper away from him, and I showed him the Northern way of doing it. (I may also have told him this was another reason the South lost, because you can't scrape an icy windshield with cotton and a lot of arrogance--just ask Rhett Butler.)

Mr. Lucky's explanation today for not wanting to let me have the scraper? “It’s a man thing.”

And like my heroine, there’s one last thing I don’t like about the snow:

But Georgiana didn’t like it when it kept people from venturing out of doors. Especially when three days went by before Anthony came calling again. The snow that had fallen upon his first visit had turned into lumpy, grayish-brown slush that reminded her of a bad batch of mashed turnips.

I don’t miss the slush, either.


JulieLeto said...

Karen, I remember when I lived in Georgia and had the first sheet of ice on my windshield. I ran back into my apartment and demanded to my husband, "There is something very cold and very icy on my windshield...get. It. Off!" We didn't even have a scraper! Had to use a spatula. He bought me a scraper that day. Now, I use it to clean the guinea pig cage.

Karen Lingefelt said...

LOL, Julie! My husband will feel vindicated by your comment.