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.
It’s a secret
Could someone enlighten us about why not even the names of the two entities bidding on development of the Footer Dye Works building can be divulged?
A Times-News article about the bids included an explanation from a lawyer for the attorney general’s office about the need to keep the names and other information secret at this time. Despite that, the logic of not divulging at least a little more information escapes us.
What do we do about those who weren’t criminals after all?
Now that Maryland has become the 17th state to (finally) decriminalize possession of marijuana, one could say that the legislature and governor should be patted on the back for doing the right thing.
Which approach to the school makes sense?
What exactly is the long-range plan, according to the Allegany County Commissioners?
I’ve read in the Cumberland Times-News that the current County Commissioners intend to spend $9 million to construct a new high school.
H.O.G. Rally coming to Cumberland in June
Let me introduce myself. My name is Francine Kraft and I am the Maryland/Delaware State H.O.G. Rally Coordinator for 2014.
With a team of seven others, we have put together a rally for June 19-22 to be held in Cumberland.
Access to trout ponds hard for those who have trouble walking
I took my 5-year-old grandson Easton, who lives in Cumberland, to the Evitts Creek three ponds on March 31, the day it was stocked with trout.He had the joy and excitement of catching his first trout and two more. I have a Maryland fishing license and trout stamp.
Wait long enough; they will die off without being cared for
The letter to the editor of April 14 (“Military veterans have few friends in Washington, D.C.”), I am afraid, hit the nail on the head — sort of — about this next set of returning veterans.
Translations differ, but the message is eternal
This letter is in response to a recent letter titled “One cannot compromise on God’s word” (April 13 Times-News). I had previously written a letter titled “Why are compromises so difficult to achieve” (April 7).
Closing the loopholes will help clear the regulatory waters
After a decade of uncertainty over Clean Water Act jurisdiction following Supreme Court challenges in 2001 and 2006, the Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers announced a forthcoming administrative rule to close enforcement loopholes, restoring protections to 20 million acres of wetlands, more than half the nation’s streams, and drinking water for 117 million Americans.
Remember where your freedom comes from before criticizing
The deal at Fort Hood could have been avoided if it was caught in time.
When you think a GI is not acting right, have him or her checked out before you put them back on duty and give them a weapon. Post-traumatic stress disorder is a serious and dangerous problem if it is not taken care of right away.
Midterm elections give chance to return to American values
A movement has been started by veterans of our armed forces to get out the vote in 2014. That includes Coast Guard and Merchant Marine personnel for those not familiar with the history of both and their sacrifice. This is no small special interest group, but many millions of Americans who can have an enormous impact on the outcome of the November election if they all respond.
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- It’s a secret