Posted by: stillironic | February 9, 2010

Snow and Ice and Salt, Oh My

Baltimore’s been a gawdawful mess since last weekend’s blizzard. (BTW, we’ve decided to pronounce “blizzard” blizZARD now. Must remember to notify local media about change.) Even primary streets haven’t been cleared or are down to one lane. Grindall Street, though, is clean as a bone. We residents took up the task of shoveling the snow off the street. We also removed snow from most of the cars (my specialty ‘cuz of my back). We started this tradition about 10 years ago. This year we’ve already taken to the streets twice and it looks like we might have to do it again Thursday. That is if we can find a place to put more show.

The reason for this volunteer effort is that otherwise we’d be in quite a pickle. Until a couple of years ago the city didn’t even operate plows narrow enough to drive down our one-lane street. And so far this week we haven’t seen a plough. So we shovel the snow onto the sidewalks and clear paths from our doors to the street.

That is everyone but the D-bag who lives two doors up. His name is “Do you know who I am?” and he cleared his sidewalk early Sunday morning, dumping the snow onto another neighbor’s car. Naturally, he doesn’t participate in the group effort, which usually takes a couple of hours, but this time took five, due to heavy snow sitting on a base of ice.

Several neighbors baked cookies and chocolate chip pumpkin bread. I’m now sorry I passed up the pumpkin bread. At the time I was performing a scientific taste test of two different kinds of cookies and my mouth was full. Next time I’ll use hand signals.

Unfortunately, there’s nothing all the volunteers in the world can do about the Grindall Street glacier. The north side of our street abuts a hillside and the hill is rife with springs, which drain onto our street year round at a point where the street takes a slight downhill turn. So when the temp goes below freezing we get ice. The problem was bad enough when the street had a crown, which channeled the water down the left gutter. At worst, half the street would be covered with ice, which at least gave you some traction on the right.

However, a year and a half ago the city resurfaced our street and paved it FLAT (pronounced stupid). So now the water washes, and the ice freezes, over the entire street for about 70 feet. Every once in a while a salt truck comes through, which would be a good thing if the salt landed on the icy street instead of the iceless sidewalk. That would take the radical step of the driver actually stepping out of the truck and manually spreading the salt. I’m willing to bet all the cookies and chocolate chip pumpkin bread in the world that that ain’t never gonna happen.

© 2010 by Virginia Gerhart


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