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.
Known as Brenna’s Law, the legislation requires that all Maryland high schoolers will be required to complete CPR training as part of the graduation requirement.
Cat sanctuary could use help with veterinarian bill
Dawn’s Cat Sanctuary, Fort Ashby, W.Va., recently rescued 11 cats and one kitten from a home in Keyser, W.Va.
Walk along Frostburg’s Main Street in the spring and summer and one can’t miss the beautiful floral arrangements that adorn the lampposts.
President and Obamacare: Who needs Congress?
Being a fellow from a small town like Cumberland I don’t always really understand what’s going on in Washington. But I have watched a few houses being built over the years. I even helped some with one house, but my brother fired me from that work pretty quickly, mainly because it was his house being built.
Sweet Success Business Forum this evening in Frostburg
As a member of the Frostburg Business and Professional Association (FBPA), I am pleased to inform the community of the “Sweet Success” event sponsored by the city of Frostburg and our organization.
The idea of spending up to $7,500 for a study about the possibility of bringing a minor league baseball team to the area should at least be allowed to reach first base.
You can help United Way reach its goal
The United Way of Allegany County campaign for 2013-14 will end April 30 and to date has raised more than $430,000, which is over 86 percent of its goal. But there is still $70,000 to be raised in a very short time.
Support Canal classrooms with tax-deductible gift
While your April 17 article (“Park Service opens Canal classrooms,” Page 1A) described this exciting program accurately, your readers may be wondering how they can help support this new educational opportunity for school children in Allegany County.
Ivan Hall story brings back memories of a unique man
I enjoyed Mike Sawyers’ Ivan Hall story. It was well written and brought back some wonderful memories of my Cumberland days and especially, an unique man.
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.
- More Opinion Headlines
- Life-saving law