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.
A letter of protest from 38 journalism and open-government groups to President Obama over his administration’s lack of transparency and openness could not have been more blunt.
Don’t be too quick to legalize marijuana use
Perhaps our society should consider some facts before jumping on the bandwagon for legalizing recreational marijuana use.
A man of the Midwest, of Cumberland, and a friend
His obituary was neither extravagant nor trumpeting. Yet it was a fitting tribute to the man and the life he lived. It was succinct yet sincere. Like the man, it was gracious and understated, and it was filled with love and with warmth, and all of the names of his family and the things in his life that made him memorable.
Cumberland officials and residents can easily relate to a tour that took place in Baltimore on Monday. U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Barbara Mikulski were at the Montebello water treatment plant to draw attention to the needs of municipalities nationwide for federal help to upgrade aging water infrastructure.
Why have all the visionaries in our government disappeared?
In his Jan. 11, 1944, State of the Union Address, President Franklin D. Roosevelt suggested that the nation had come to recognize, and should now implement a “second bill of rights.” His argument was that the “political rights” guaranteed by the Constitution and Bill of Rights had “proved inadequate to assure us equality in the pursuit of happiness.”
Roosevelt’s remedy was to declare an “economic bill of rights.” which would guarantee:
Thanks to the unknown patriot who has kept the flag flying
I drive back and forth from Little Orleans to Cumberland five days a week to go to work. I want to thank the unknown person that has kept the American Flag flying above the pine tree on the hill by Interstate 68 on Polish Mountain. That flag reminds me daily of those who have served our country and are serving us now so that we can have the freedoms we have.
Now that Congress has returned to work after a summer recess its members finally have to decide what to do about the embattled federal highway trust fund.
Fracking: People will be sick, hurt financially
I read with interest the article in the Cumberland Times-News on the health impact assessment (“Study completed on fracking in Md.,” June 30, 2014). I attended the meeting and after reading the article decided to write this letter.
Allergy shots to bee venom truly life-saving
We read with great concern the reader commentary from July 1 in the Cumberland Times-News by the Rev. James Blubaugh and were very relieved that he survived his anaphylactic reaction to his wasp sting. Unfortunately, at least 40 to 50 people annually in the U.S. do not survive such reactions.
No human studies on hydrofluorosilicic acid
Cumberland’s Mayor Brian Grim, when asked by a citizen about discontinuing water fluoridation recently, stated that he hasn’t made up his mind on this issue and would like to open it up to the rest of the council to possibly reviewing the information currently available.
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