a citizen’s journal by Thomas Nephew

Lessons of the Snowpocalypse

Posted by Thomas Nephew on February 16th, 2010

Narnia in Takoma Park and other pictures from the Snowpocalypse
Slideshow created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.
  1. Magnolia trees do not do well in heavy snow.  If 10 inches or more of snow are forecast, consider chopping down the tree, most of it’s coming down anyway.
  2. Vintage Comfortmaker gas furnaces are sentient, know the difference between good and evil, and have chosen evil.  They do this by arranging for their ignition devices to fail the morning after a blizzard makes your house and neighborhood inaccessible to repair technicians.
  3. To relight a vintage evil Comfortmaker (non-pilot light) gas furnace:
    1. turn the thermostat to its lowest setting
    2. go to the basement,
    3. return to the dining room for a flashlight
    4. return to the basement, turn off the electricity to the furnace and basement lights.
    5. wait 5 minutes.
    6. squeeze through a six inch opening to a 18 inch space behind the furnace, remove panel
    7. light a candle.
    8. yell upstairs to set thermostat to 65.
    9. repeat request loudly but without yelling because you don’t need to yell
    10. light wooden kebab stick in candle flame, wait
    11. when you hear a ‘click’ put lit kebab stick above burner-looking things where you hope gas will be pumped in 5-10 seconds.
    12. wait 15-20 seconds; relight kebab stick quickly at least once.
    13. second 21: FWOOMP.  Resolve not to peer in quite as closely next time.
    14. Since ignition device is still broken, set heat to 78; the furnace will go out, the house will cool, and you can repeat steps 1-14 whenever you’re cold enough.
  4. The co-op will have everything you need that you spent three hours buying inadequate substitutes for at Safeway.
  5. While deep snow is your enemy, it is also your friend, cushioning falls from ladders.
  6. Try not to use ladders any more than necessary.
  7. A cat staring at a door for five minutes is unnerving.
  8. When released into conditions of deep snow, cats will either
    • retreat immediately
    • vanish for unpredictable lengths of time
  9. When you look for a cat in deep snow, the cat will appear at the front door either
    • just after you’re done suiting up to go outside to look for her again dammit
    • just before you return from looking all over creation for her dammit
  10. When removing ice dams from a roof gutter, avoid being swept off your ladder by an avalanche of snow no longer blocked by those ice dams.  One way to do this is by not removing ice dams in the first place.
  11. When snow first falls, take time to really enjoy the serene beauty of the scene.  It’s the last time you’ll feel that way for days.

3 Responses to “Lessons of the Snowpocalypse”

  1. RobertNAtl Says:

    Enjoyed the pictures and learned from the lessons. Hope things are back to near-normal now.

  2. RobertNAtl Says:

    Of all things….I ran across an article on preventing ice dams.|compaq-desktop|dl3|link3|

  3. Thomas Nephew Says:

    Thanks, Robert! Some useful stuff here; in particular, I may see if the local hardware store has a roof rake, esp one I can screw on to the all purpose telescoping pole I have. For whatever reason, we don’t appear to have serious ice dams yet ourselves (possibly because we’re relatively shaded even in the winter, so there’s less melting). But I may be wrong about that since it’s hard to get a good look, and even if I’m right it may not last.

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