Friday, February 15, 2013

Ice Scraping Chisel Thingie to the Rescue!!!

I made an awesome new discovery!!!

To be honest, I wasn't going to post about it.  Most people probably already know about this magnificent piece of awesomeness.  It's a smile inducing, extra magnificent, ice chiseling, super fantastic scraper tool thingie!

Ice chisel with black blade and gray handle sitting on snow

I'm getting the impression that you're not impressed.

Ok, sure.  It looks like a shovel.  Big deal, right?  Well, let me make it a little more exciting, then!  Here's a side view!

Same ice chisel, but this time from a side view... still sitting on snow.

Your silence is deafening...

I suppose this means I need to explain why this is the best discovery ever.

Fair enough.

I'm sure you remember the gorgeous sheet of ice that covered my sidewalk a while back, trapping fallen leaves in all their glory, showing the ripple structure created as the water froze.  It was quite beautiful.

Unfortunately, what wasn't quite as beautiful was the fact that it didn't melt.  Not only that, but when I went to grab sand to throw on top of the area - since not many people have the same love of sliding across ice that I do - I discovered that water had gotten into the garage and was soaked up by the sand bag.

The sand was frozen like a rock.

I tried to use my shovel to break apart the ice, but managed to simply break the cheap plastic while doing absolutely nothing about the ice.

Then we had another melt.

And another freeze.

Now I had two layers of ice to contend with.  I was not a happy camper.

I was near to pulling my hair out.  People were of absolutely no help, telling me to just use ice or sand.  They didn't seem to realize that I was dealing with a mass of hard, thick ice due to the fact that all water from my neighbors' yards pool into my sidewalk.  The pooling effect was so intense that I really could turn the area into an ice skating rink.

So I lost it.  Completely and totally.

Fortunately, I had my breakdown at my insurance agent's office.  I had discovered that I had paid an incorrect amount on my insurance bill this last month, and needed to make up the $2 difference.  It was then that my rep's assistant asked the question that would doom her:

"So how are you handling our Minnesota winter?"

The Desert to Minnesota Handbook (which I made up myself, and keep in my mental filing cabinet) clearly states the answer I should give her:

"Oh, well, you know... it's a bit nippy out there."

Unfortunately, she got instead was a long list of grievances which culminated in a near panic attack as I explained the ice on my sidewalk in full detail.  I went on at length, even though the voice in the back of my head kept telling me to keep my mouth shut.  I really tried to stop, but once the floodgates are opened, well...

She handled this surprisingly well.  

Even better, she gave me the answer to my problems.  The answer that nobody else saw fit to give me.  In their defense, it's quite possible that they thought I already knew about the one tool that would help, but the amazing woman sitting in front of me was the only one to actually offer me a reasonable option.

She did this by asking the receptionist at the front (another person that is awesome) to bring out the chisel that my insurance rep uses on the sidewalk outside the business front.

Thirty minutes later, I had bought a magnificent and heavy ice scraping chisel thingie made from tempered steel, and was on my sidewalk, ready to tackle the world.

I had to go through two distinct layers of ice, so it took quite a while.  I couldn't get to the bottom layer until the top layer was removed, and the bottom layer was overwhelmingly hard to break.

Segmented ice: white top layer, gray bottom layer, then melted water reflecting the tree branches above

But my ice scraper chisel thingie was happy to go through this with me, and we actually managed to break through the layers to create a - rather narrow - walking path.

A little over two inches of ice removed, showing a clear sidewalk path


If it wasn't for my insurance agent's assistant, I would never have been able to do this.  She gave me an eco-friendly way to remove thick slabs of ice from the sidewalk, and I really can't thank her enough for that.

Maybe there is some validity to the slogan, "Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there..."

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