The snow/ice storm of February 3/4 was a serious pain. The local newspaper wrote afterward: “While areas to the north enjoyed fluffy snow, the communities around Albany received a ‘prolific’ dose of sleet that kept the inches [1.6″] down but left residents digging through a heavy, cement-like mixture to clear streets, sidewalks, and cars.”
Th, Feb 3: I need to pass out kudos to the Albany City School District, which had decided to cancel classes for the 4th on the 3rd before 12:45 pm. And not just have a remote day, but no school at all. Perhaps it was the concern for ice disrupting distance learners. At 7 pm, there were only three major school districts that had decided to shut down, but by 10 pm, EVERYONE was on board.
Fri, Feb 4: As the storm bounced back and forth among rain, snow, sleet, and freezing rain, I decided the previous evening that shoveling would be counterproductive. But the dry snowpack covering the ice was all but impenetrable. Two of my neighbors told me the same thing. And it was cold enough to maintain the status quo.
But one neighbor was slowly chopping through the ice on the sidewalk. How is he doing that?
Sat, Feb 5: My neighbor lent me his tools. One was a pole, a little thicker than a broomstick, but it must have weighed 30 pounds. I tried that briefly but it was too much like Mjolnir.
The other tool was much easier to use. It was a shovel, more like a spade, with what looks like the serrated blade of certain knives. It worked well in cutting into the tightly-packed snow, leaving a layer of thick ice that I could treat with rock salt.
Meanwhile, my wife was working on digging out her car. She couldn’t move it – the tires spun – but we figured we could work on it more the next day.
Ice station zebra
Sun, Feb 6: After church, I was determined to finish up the sidewalk. Then I tackled the walkway towards the house.
But before I could finish the walk, my wife called me over to her car, which was parked on the street. The entire driver’s side was caked in ice like waterfalls that had frozen. There was a large puddle/pothole near where she was parked. The water splashed on the vehicle and then froze over. And as bad as it was on the body of the car, the tires on the driver’s side were even worse. I poured some salt around the tires.
My wife called various entities, including the non-emergency police number. That person suggested we call AAA. She had – she’s a member -but they couldn’t help, because… I’m not clear, actually.
Mon, Feb 7: My wife got a ride to work, but took two buses home. Fortunately, she lives with a resident expert on getting around via the CDTA.
The icing of the driver’s side repeated, not quite as severely as the previous day. [The photos were from the second day.] In the afternoon, I broke off the coating on the car. Then I return to chipping more ice, pouring more salt, and cat litter. I was aided by a neighbor, and eventually, my wife, my daughter, and even a total stranger. The neighbor tried to move the vehicle. It’s a four-wheel drive. It looked like a large feline attempting to pounce except that its rear legs were stuck on the ground.
That evening, my wife noticed that her insurance allows for towing, so she got them to send a truck, It kept telling her it was coming soon: 18 minutes, 10 minutes, 5 minutes…12 minutes, and it turned out to be an hour later than we expected. The guy couldn’t use the winch because there wasn’t enough clearance underneath. But he was convinced he could drive the vehicle out of the space. He couldn’t.
Same as it ever was
Tues, Feb 8: The daytime temperatures were getting warmer, which made other people’s sidewalks that would melt and refreeze more treacherous, as my wife, who took the bus to work both ways, could attest.
Meanwhile more digging. The imperative now is that there is alternate-side parking coming up so they can plow the streets to the curb. But despite our efforts, nada. My wife called the parking enforcement, and she left a message to tell them her plight.
Wed, Feb 9: Sure enough, the ice floe that her car was on was even more inaccessible, with the plow pushing even more ice under the car. And my wife got a $50 ticket, although the two folks from the parking authority called to tell me that they would take her situation into “consideration.” I do not know what this means.
My wife took two buses to a mall to get picked up by a colleague so she could go to a conference.
When she got home, pretty much in desperation, she called John, our contractor. He came over with a jackhammer to break up the ice. Then he put down a 50-pound bag of salt.
Free at last
Th, Feb 10: John broke up more ice with the jackhammer. Then he started the car. It sat there spinning for about 90 seconds. I’ve seen this rodeo before. But then it MOVED. But there was nowhere to repark it so when my wife returned from her roundtrip bus commute, she could tell the vehicle had moved to the top of the ice mountain. John came back after the school let out, and reparked.
I’ve lived in Albany for over 40 years, and this may have been the worst one. Twenty-six inches of snow in March 1993? No big deal; just keep shoveling.
Lots of people gave us suggestions for our auto problem throughout. Call AAA (did that). Use cat litter (did that). Our failing was that we didn’t use our jackhammer (which we don’t own) and that we used salt when we needed to use…