Have you noticed those beautiful icicles everywhere? While they are pretty, the icicles are also a sign you probably have ice dams that could make your roof leak. And ice dams have got Minnesota homeowners like essayist Peter Smith thinking a few not-so-beautiful thoughts.
Smith: February in Minnesota. Sloppy streets and sidewalks. Snow pitched, shovelful after shovelful, high as it can go along the edge of the driveway. Half-plowed streets. Parking bans. Salt-stained boots. Cold soggy socks.
Unrelenting seasonal affective disorder you can't dig yourself out from under-not even with the latest ergonomically-designed snow shovel.
Worst of all, thanks to that last big dump of snow, ice dams building up-not just on the roof-but in your mind, worming away all day and all night. Freezing and thawing. Heaving and settling. Piercing your sense of warmth and well being with shards of icy home owner's angst.
An ice dam is the harmonic convergence of every foible, urge, flaw and bad instinct a Minnesota home owner has-a perfect storm sent to bring out the worst in you.
If you're quick and cheap, you look for a quick cheap fix. Like the guy down the block who fills his wife's old pantyhose with rock salt and tosses them up there to melt the ice.
The method appears to be effective, but it startles us neighbors when we drive by. It's only a matter of time until someone calls the fire department to come rescue the lady of the house from her desperate dilemma up on the roof.
If you're accident-prone, ice dams mean metal ladders and rubber soled pack boots. You'll up there, swinging the claw end of a hammer at gutters and shingles-right next to the power line. What could possibly go wrong?
When an ice dam takes hold of your roof, it takes hold of your mind. It's going to be there, nagging at you, drip-drip-dripping all the way to spring.
You could be in the biggest meeting of your career-on the verge of closing the deal that will pay for Junior's braces-and four years of college too. But can you concentrate? Can you focus?
No. You've got bigger things on your mind. You're a Minnesota homeowner with ice dams.
February in Minnesota. The cold wind blows. The ice dam on the roof drips and grows, drips and grows...
Quick-somebody check the forecast. What are they saying about snow?