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Fuck Fimbulwinter.

This year, I've been forced to give a hard rethink to my former quasi-enjoyment of winter.

I had to buy a new battery for my car (a 2003 Kia Spectra) on Friday, 3 January, as it was "dead, Jim!" Went to work a little over two hours late as a result.

The metro Detroit area got clobbered with between 7 and 11 inches of snow and subzero temperatures on Sunday, 5 January and Monday, 6 January (the city where I live got eleven throbbing inches; it dipped to forty below). Missed work that day: impassible roads, my trailer park was indifferently plowed, plus I had some sort of gastro-intestinal complaint.

The area roads were lousy but drivable on Tuesday, 7 January, so in to work I went; took me roughly twenty minutes longer than it normally does.

When I went to leave work that night, however, the car wouldn't turn over, despite having a new battery installed in it four days previously. (It also had an oil change the Saturday after Christmas.) I'm obliged to park by a freeway at my office complex. This means that, whenever the accursed "polar vortices" or "Alberta clippers" or whatever ridiculous name the weatherpersons are calling our windstorms these days, are blasting our way, there's no windbreak to even partly protect my car.

So: my car started in the morning of Monday, 6 January and ran for half an hour or so as I dug it out, and it started in the morning of Tuesday, 7 January; it did not start in the night of Tuesday, 7 January. My eldest had to pick me up before he went to work on the midnight shift.

I took my wife's van to work on Wednesday, 8 January, but, as we'd gotten more snow and the various road crews (county and local municipalities) hadn't yet really tackled the latest precipitation, my commute once again took me twice as long as it normally does.

My eldest and my wife drove out to my office complex during the late afternoon of Wednesday, 8 January, to attempt to revive my car; as it started right up, my wife drove it home.

Come the morning of Thursday, 9 January, I had to crank the starter five or six times that morning before the motor would turn over; the car is partly protected by our house, which is doubtless the only reason it deigned to start at all.

On Tuesday, 21 January, I awoke to discover that we had no running water. We did have water when I went to bed at 3:30 a.m. Monday night / Tuesday morning. I called the offices of our trailer park, the city's DPW maintenance and the city's DPW billing, to no avail: they assured me that the problem wasn't on their end, even though the missus looked at our water pipes behind the skirting and reported that they appeared to be fine. I dropped just under twenty bucks on twelve gallons of purified water and two flats of 24 16 oz. bottles of spring water to give me and my family a potable (and washable, and flushable; c. 3 gals. to flush a toilet to a semi-clean state after, uh, "heavy use," FWIW) water supply. I'm afraid that I didn't exhibit manly (or British) self-restraint and equanimity this day. Missed work, trying to resolve this crisis.

Called the park-approved repairmen on Wednesday, 22 January; before I did so, I inspected the main water pipes myself, and discovered a cone of ice beneath the pipe nearest the shut-off valve, connected to a break in the pipe by a finger of ice perhaps half the width of a standard pencil. (How the missus overlooked this is beyond either of us; I suppose I should've stuck my head under the house the previous day instead of merely standing next to her, holding the skirting panels that she'd removed.) The total bill was a bit over $700; the park-approved repairmen informed us that our water meter and crock weren't properly installed -- the water meter was underground, when it should've been above it -- and, what is more, we were lacking something called a "freezer plate," which is doubtless why the one pipe burst and froze, or froze and burst, whichever. (Will these park-approved repairmen say the same thing to the site managers of the park? Very doubtful. Am trying to cajole the missus, who abhors anything to do with normal business, to try to convince the park managers to at least partly compensate us, since the break wouldn't have happened if they had installed the water meter and crock on our lot correctly in the first place. She doesn't work, so theoretically she should be better able to wrangle with our park's office than I am.) Went to work nearly two hours late; had to take a shower at a neighbor's. (They weren't home the previous day, nor were the other neighbors we're on friendly enough terms with to allow us to cadge the occasional emergency shower.)

When I went to leave the office on Friday, 25 January, my car once again wouldn't start, owing to another wintry blast that brought the windchill or "real feel" temperature to minus 20 degrees Fahrenheit. My eldest was obliged to pick me up, but at least he didn't work that night. This afternoon, he and my wife picked up the car, and, once again, it started right up. I was able to run errands with it after she drove it home.

The missus, and her van, will be out of town this upcoming week, which sharply curtails my options should my Kia once again fail to start, either at work or at home; we're supposed to have more high winds and sub-zero windchills, if not actual temperatures, by next Tuesday. I wish that I could plunk my magic twanger and whomp up a sable coat for my car's motor; but I also wish that Kias were better able to handle sustained arctic winds in the first damn place. (And, seriously, why would a car designed and originally manufactured in a country with as frigid winters as South Korea's be so laughably unable to function in the cold??)

But, really, Old Man Winter? Jack Frost? Snow Miser? Whatever the hell you're calling yourself? You need to hit the road. Don't let the door smack you in the ass.



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The supreme space lord who will now DEST
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The Feckless Wonder

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