A few days ago, when the world looked like a glazed donut, I thanked my lucky stars that last winter, for the first time, I discovered that keeping an ice scraper in the house works better than trying to tug open a frozen car door to get the ice scraper inside it.

I joined my neighbors in a symphony of scratch-scratch, up and down the street.

See, in these months, everything seems to take more time and effort.

Here’s a winter-stupid example: 

Remembering that our fat bag of ice-melt was in a locked toolshed behind our garage, I blithely grabbed the key and went out to snag it and spread it everywhere. 

But, no. The lock was locked, with ice. 

So, back I went into the house to rummage around for a spray can of de-icer; then back out, to the scene of the cursing. 

Spritz-spritz. Tried the key again. But, no. 

Cursed my way back into the house – sometimes Navy vocabulary training is JUST the thing. 

Filled a saucepan with water and cranked up a burner under it. Put boots and gloves back on, again; toted the steaming pot out to the lock, slipping and sliding on the very iced-up path and trying not to fall and scald my ass. 

The lock hasp is mounted so high on the doorframe that I couldn’t see, from below, through the pot, whether I was actually managing to immerse the lock in the boiling water. Struggled with that, a while. 

Tried the key in the lock. But, no. Crescendo of cursing. 

Re-immersed the lock…I think. Tried the key again. 

Very grudging cooperation. 

A reluctant, slow, slow turning; with odd crunching noises.

Lock and key were now dripping boiling water and aromatic de-icing chemical. Toted that recalcitrant, redundant “security” system back inside, plopped it on a Gazette newspaper section to ooze and dry. 

Mitts and boots back on, again, I went back out to where I’d tugged the ice-melt bag from the shed. Picked it up – 40 pounds, slippery plastic, and my gloves were slick with the aforementioned unlocking compound. Struggled with it across the crusty tundra of our back yard, slipping and sliding – salty language having NO effect on the ice underfoot.

Then, Zak ice-melted our walkway, front steps and sloping driveway, so Ellie could get to an errand with less risk to life and limb.

She went to get a COVID test.

Results: NEGATIVE.