Friday, December 13, 2013

Venturing Out - Day Five of the Ice

After a week of hunkering down behind battened hatches, I ventured out to drive on the neighborhood streets yesterday.
 It was staggering to see the volume of damage to the trees along familiar trails and to find that my trees were not the only ones affected by the storm.

The biggest tree in the backyard sustained the most damage, an  Arizona ash planted back in the early 1990s when we first moved out here.

The roads were like an ice palace with frozen sculptures at every turn. Even a speed limit sign provided a visual point of interest with its ice sheath slipped down to reveal an icicle fringed skirt.

Watching ducks swim about on the icy surface of the chilly water, the small pond by the RV Park was reminiscent of a favorite story from the movie, "Fried Green Tomatoes".

It was good to get out.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Major Ice Storm Hits Dallas Area with a Vengeance

Temperatures in the Dallas Metroplex took a turn dramatically downward this week. Taken by surprise after Tuesday and Wednesday's temperatures ranged in the high seventies, Thursday night temps would bring in more than just cold weather.

Opening the back door to let the dogs out a few minutes before sunrise Friday am, I found a nasty surprise in the backyard. Our two mature trees, which usually form a balanced pair on either side of the porch, were bent over double with limbs and leaves dragging the ground. In the dim light of morning it was difficult to see the full extent of the damage.

The all-night tinkling of freezing rain Thursday evening left a major change on the neighborhood creating an icy world of crystaline sculptures of the landscape.

Limbs of trees we planted in the early nineties are snapped off as if they were tiny twigs, held in position by a thick coating of ice.

The Popcorn Tree has suffered loss of at least 4 major limbs snapped off as if by a giant hand.
The yard was like a brickyard of spikes piercing upward through the thick coating of frost. As Tony tried to walk, the frozen concoction remained stiff and unyielding. His legs and feet slipped and slid as he tried to make his way to his favorite spot.



Today, the ice remains as seen in the photos as temperatures have remained below freezing. Some of the ice melted during the day yesterday and refroze last night creating a world of black and slippery ice. Even truckers from the north were saying they'd never seen anything like these road conditions up north. We really do things BIG in Texas.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

And the Blind Shall Show Them the Way

Small miracles happen every day if only we pay enough attention to see. The other day, I was dashing out of the front door to run errands, when I noticed something very important missing from my car keys: half of the key ring with all Mom's keys was not attached to the ring.

The first thing I did was panic. I viewed a mental picture show of all the places I'd carried the keys recently.

The Post Office? Yes, I'd stood in the parking lot talking with a neighbor in the previous days, keys in hand. I could see my hands gesturing wildly as they sometimes do, while a view from the side camera catches the arc of the keys flinging out of my hand landing in the gravel lot somewhere beyond. As I sensed this was the place to find the missing keys, I drove immediately to the cement building that serves as our postal facility and discovered it was Veteran's Day and the place was closed. Next.

The recycling facility? Oh, please, not that. Don't make me crawl through that huge green dumpster, please. I'll search there only as a last resort.
The driveway? That morning I'd carried the trash out to the street and taken my house keys with me after being locked out by Tony one time, well, more than once. Tony is our Labrador and my constant companion.
Tony standing guard over Cookie
So I walked up and down the driveway a few times, which for most people is like a walk around the block in the neighborhood. After a few trips from the porch to the road I was ready to call it quits so I drove over to Moms and mentioned that I had misplaced my keys, trying not to draw attention to the fact that it was their keys I'd lost -- That would have been a no win situation.

Anyhow, as I'm carrying on with Mom about the latest whatever she says, "Oh, by the way, Louise found the keys." Louise, who's recently passed her 93rd birthday and who's lost most of her vision had found the keys which I'd searched for most of the morning. She had located them on the couch in their living room, nestled underneath the quilt where I hadn't bothered looking.

My sanity was held together on a neat ring in Louise's trembling hand where the keys to the Post Office Box, the front and rear doors, dead bolts and gate key were clipped together all safe and sound. Taking the keys in hand, I danced the dance of joy, gave her an enormous hug and one to Grandma to make it even and another round for each of them.
I waited for some deep voice to announce from the clouds..."And the blind shall show them the way...". Nothing like that happened, but a big white "X" streaked its way across the bright blue sky as I made my way back toward the world of normalcy.

Which made me think of Indiana Jones who said, "X never, ever marks the spot."

Amazing. And so is Louise.