By RICH FOLEY
Yes, it’s true. After 11 years and 272 consecutive original submissions, two weeks ago I was forced to repeat a column. Or maybe it would sound better to say it was an encore presentation. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed a trip down memory lane.
Hopefully, it won’t happen again for a long time, if that wacky weather of two weeks ago stays away. I’m blaming the ice for the repeat column and 24 hours plus of being stranded at home. At least I had power, which made me luckier than many. I had already completed my column, well ahead of deadline. I even had a perfectly running car to deliver it with. I just couldn’t break through the bonds the ice had formed around and in the Buick’s doors to get inside.
When we get a cold rain followed by freezing temperatures, I sometimes have a problem opening one or more car doors. After a similar storm back in February, 2007, I yanked a bit too hard on the drivers door and broke something inside the handle. I was forced to go in the passenger door, move everything off the passenger seat, crawl over the console, and try to keep the seat belt support from stabbing me in my own seat as I settled into the drivers side.
Unfortunately, when I took the car to a body shop to get a new handle, they had to order one, meaning for several days, I had to be creative to keep from having to make repeated trips through the passenger side obstacle course. I soon figured out if I left the drivers door open just an inch or two, it wouldn’t latch and I could pull it open when I returned and enter the car the easy way.
That seemed to be a good solution except for overnight when I’d have to close and lock the doors. Sadly for me, there always seemed to be a Good Samaritan around when I didn’t need one. Almost every time I returned to my car, someone had came along and shut the door for me, forcing me to go in the passenger side again. It’s nice that people wanted to help, but that got pretty annoying after the tenth time climbing in the wrong side.
Finally, the new door handle was in, painted, and ready for installation. A mere $107.41 later, I had an operating door and a lesson in being gentle with it. After that episode, when ice came calling, I would hook up an extension cord and bring a hair dryer out to the car to melt the ice around the door.
That solution worked pretty good the few times it was needed until the ice of February 21st. I had the hair dryer working overtime with no results Monday morning, then decided to concentrate on clearing the windshield and brushing the snow from the car. That little task went according to plan, up until I broke the ice scraper. I had another one, but it was inside the ice-bound Buick (and probably laughing at me). I was forced to continue with one of those tiny scrapers not even as long as my hand. When the snow started coming down again, I decided to wait until Tuesday to finish the job.
The sun was out Tuesday morning which was a good thing because it didn’t take long before my hair dryer quit working on all but one speed. Since the sun was hitting the passenger side of the car first, I decided to clear as much snow and ice as possible from that side and wait for the sun to do its thing.
In the meantime, I selected a column to rerun just in case my efforts failed. When next I checked, the sun had disappeared and I went back to work with my one-speed dryer. Eventually, I gave up and called in the replacement column you saw last time. Then Mother Nature finally decided to get to work.
The sun came back out and within an hour, the passenger door was working. I checked with Kim, who had already finished the page with the repeated column, so there wasn’t any hurry to bring the new one in. I went back to the Buick, got in the passenger side and started it, and turned the heater on full blast. By the time I finished cleaning the ice from the windshield and the remaining snow from the rest of the car, I was able to open the drivers door for the first time in two days.
So that’s my excuse, such as it is. You’ll see that missing column someday, perhaps in two weeks. In the meantime, I need to go shopping for a new hair dryer and ice scraper. The way this winter is going, it’s best to be prepared. And after all, who likes wet hair?