I’m used to extreme weather. Extreme heat, that is.
Summer in South Australia was my least favorite season. Since Christmas, my home town of Adelaide has had 13 days above 104 degrees.
Of course, there are the inevitable wild fires that go along with that sort of weather. I used to live in a high fire danger area and every year I would pack a couple of crates of photos, documents and personal items and put them near the car with the cats’ cages, ready to evacuate.
We never had to do it, but I spent three months on edge every year. When I left two months ago I was looking forward to winter.
When I arrived at the immigration desk in San Francisco (17 hours after I left home in South Australia — that’s another story!), I told the border guard my final destination was the Appalachian Mountains.
The look he gave me made me wonder if he was going to refuse me entry. “Why do you want to go there? It’s winter and the weather is terrible,” was his official decision.
Luckily he stamped everything that needed stamping and let me through, probably wondering about the intelligence of Australians. I thought he was crazy — snow is beautiful, isn’t it?
Like many things in life, I soon learnt that snow is beautiful to look at, but ... .
The first warning was the water. The lack of water, to be exact. Within two weeks of moving to Cumberland I turned on the bath water — and nothing came out.
I called the city water department emergency line and a charming man (I especially admired his charm because it was 6 a.m. and below freezing) checked the connections to the street. Then he explained my frozen pipes.
I was lucky because with some heat the pipes unfroze themselves a few hours later. A couple of hours after that the kitchen flooded. A pipe in the dishwasher had frozen and when that thawed — free floor wash, not so free repair.
Now I check the overnight temperature forecasts as obsessively as I used to check bushfire warnings in Australia.
Then there is the “adventure” of winter driving. My kids insisted I buy a Jeep. A Jeep? Who, me?! A little old lady from Down Under? They said I would appreciate it in the winter.
Those were wise words. The first time my wheels got stuck on ice in a car park, a kind man came up and told me to put it into four wheel drive.
“Will that work?” I asked (perhaps Australians are dumb).
“Put that sucker into four wheel drive and it will climb a tree,” he said. And it did — get me off the ice, that is. I have still to test it on a tree.
I have learnt about “dry gas.” (How does that work? I thought all gas was wet?)
I now stock up on food when bad weather is forecast, and I judge whether it’s safe to drive by listening to notices of school closures on the radio. We haven’t had a power outage yet — praise God!
At least here we have a gas fire to warm us if it the power goes off. In Australia, several of my friends lost power for 20 hours and suffered through 110 degree heat. No backups for that!
Despite everything, I still love the snow, and like the cold more than heat. And I might learn enough so that next winter I won’t act quite so much like a dumb Aussie.
But wait! Don’t go! Does anyone know a good method of removing the four inches of snow that seems to be frozen solid onto my car?
I’m used to extreme weather. Extreme heat, that is.
We’re certain that Donald Rumsfeld, who served as Secretary of Defense under Presidents Gerald Ford and George W. Bush, echoes what many Americans feel about the complexity of filing income tax returns.
When he filed his return, Rumsfeld sent the following letter to the Internal Revenue Service:
The first step
If all goes as planned, Frostburg State University will one day offer a doctorate in nursing, a physician’s assistant program and a new health sciences building on campus.
Where to look
Drive anywhere in Maryland and it seems there is one highway construction project after another. While it is good to see our roads and bridges being upgraded, it can be nerve-wracking for anyone traveling a long distance.
Public libraries remain one of the best uses of taxpayer dollars. They are open to all. Young or old, poor or wealthy, residents can use computers and read current magazines and newspapers. Compact discs featuring a wide variety of music and
movies on DVD may be checked out in addition to novels and other books.
Legislation that increases hunting oppportunities on Sundays in Garrett, Allegany and Washington counties has passed the Maryland General Assembly and reached the governor’s desk.
One cannot compromise on God’s word
A recent letter asked, “What is it about compromises that seem so undesirable?” Most of us are familiar with John 3:16, which says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” The next verse goes on to say, “For God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him”
Ballpark project a partnership, not a government handout
To the Editor:
Regarding Mark Nelson’s recent objection to county government assistance to exploring the placement of a minor league baseball team in the Cumberland region, I would answer that the project should be considered a partnership between private enterprise and government. The private support would come by way of donations collected from local citizens, currently banked through the Dapper Dan Club.
- Editorial Cartoon
Decriminalizing marijuana lines pockets of drug cartel
Has the Maryland government decided they like contributing to the drug cartel? Their new decriminalization of marijuana does nothing but line the pockets of the cartel.
We’ve never been big fans of speed cameras, primarily for two reasons. First, because the cameras are not always accurate, and secondly because many jurisdictions seem to create revenue by installing cameras and issuing high numbers of speeding tickets.
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- We concur