Is power outages. We are having one tonight as we weather the latest Winter Storm of the Century.
It has been cold and raining steadily for hours, and everything outside is encased in ice. Just as I was going to watch the Illinois-Penn State game, the lights flickered briefly, then died. Obviously, the weight of the ice has pulled down power lines, just as it will pull down tree limbs. Whatever happened, it was enough to affect our entire subdivision. A look out the window confirms there are no lights on anywhere. I’m betting power won’t be restored for hours.
So, we sit in the darkness, listening to the drumming of the rain that caused the darkness in the first place. Yet another reason why freezing rain sucks.
My name is Penny.
Young Master always has food in his area. Always! Sometimes it is on the floor. Sometimes it is on a table. Sometimes it is hidden. Sometimes it is out in the open. But there is always food there.
The problem is that usually I can’t get into Young Master’s area. The way in is blocked by this thing. What is it? Why is it there some times, but not others? I try pushing against it with my snout. I try scratching it. Nothing works. When it is there, I just can’t get in. During the day, I will check it from time to time. I get excited going up the hill because, this time, the way in might be open! But it usually isn’t.
I still think it is worth checking. Why not? I don’t have anything else to do, and I am hungry! I know that if I can just get into Young Master’s area, I will find food, and it will be a good day.
This morning I looked out the windows, saw the telltale gleaming shine on the driveway and road, and felt my heart sink. Of all of the crappy meteorological phenomena we encounter during a typical Midwestern winter, freezing rain is — by far — the worst.
Snowstorms are inconvenient, but you quickly adapt to driving through snow and can shovel your way out of most predicaments. Sleet is grey and depressing, but manageable. With freezing rain, there is no hope. You can’t even get down your front steps without slipping, because everything is covered in a layer of wet ice. The tree limbs and shrubs bow down and sometimes break under the weight. Streets become like skating rinks because there is no traction, and even the gentle slope of your driveway becomes a difficult, ice-sheathed obstacle. This morning, on our very brief walk, even the sure-footed Penny was slipping and skidding. And I can assure you that the quick and unpredictable movements of a leashed dog are not conducive to careful human movement on frozen streets and sidewalks.
So I sit here, secure in the knowledge that today’s commute will be a white-knuckler. It will take about two times as long as normal. We’ll see cars that have spun out and crashed into the median barrier. We’ll be told on the radio that only injury accidents need to be reported to the police. And we’ll pray that, as we are tooling along, we don’t experience that dreaded initial loss of traction and “here we go” feeling that makes freezing rain the worst winter weather of all.