Not quite Das Boot

I went to a pretty big suburban high school–you know, the kind that they’re trying to get rid of, in the post-Columbine years. The kind where there are so many students that they have four vice principals, one for each class of the school. The vice principal who was associated with my class (to anonymize him, I’m going to call him Mr. Braveman) was a member of the so-called Greatest Generation (although we weren’t yet calling them that yet).

Anyway, I worked on the student paper, and another student and I were sent to interview him about his experiences in WWII. He told us a long, involved story about his service on a submarine, and how at one point, his sub had to stay underwater for 86 days in the North Atlantic. He said that the sailors were so bored (and dirty) that for fun, they would pop each other’s blackheads.

That story has stuck with me for nearly 20 years. And while the current wretchedness of our winter hasn’t lasted for nearly 86 days, I’m still feeling like a trapped sailor, with no way to get out.

The cold sucks.

The snow sucks.

My house, which I normally love, has one major winter flaw. The back steps, which are completely out of the sun for most of the day, become a sheet of ice, which appears on the first day of snow and doesn’t melt until about mid-April. It does, however, get worse, because the little porch that overhangs it does get sun, and then it drips water onto the steps during the day, which freezes at night.

The first year that we lived here, we just put out rock salt on our steps, and that worked great. Turns out, though, that if you put rock salt on brick steps, you destroy the mortar, and the steps fall apart. Oops! $500 of re-mortaring later, I’m cursing every time I come in the back door.

The kids, of course, think its hilarious to see me and their dad trying to hack off the three-inch thick pieces of ice that form. Naturally, they themselves also want to climb the stairs. It is not a good idea for an 18 month old to try to climb a sheet of ice. Especially while he’s carrying Mr. Bear. Just in case you were tempted to let your own kid do it.


February 1, 2005. random other things.

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