Jan 6, 2017

Tea Kettle Magic


We're used to snow and cold up here in the arctic circle (I jest, we're 1,493 miles from the actual circle...I googled it, just to make sure because some days I'm not so sure we are). What we're not used to is ice. This past Monday, we were expecting a snowstorm. Instead, we received an ice storm. It was very unwelcome. It was accompanied by a lot of wind and the polar vortex. In the course of a day we dropped over 30 degrees. This was the beginning of that day.

This happened to be the first day back to school after a glorious, restful winter break. Bennett usually goes out to warm up the car before getting ready for school. During this time of winter it takes a good 20-30 minutes to get the car inhabitable by humans and workable. However, on this fine day, we were still unaware of the previous night's ice storm until Bennett headed outside to do his typical morning routine. He came back in stating that there was no way he was going to get into the car, the doors were stuck shut with ice. 

Hmmm...that is quite a conundrum. But what am I supposed to do about it? I'm just the mom. I'm not equipped to solve problems of this nature...usually. The "call a friend" option was out because Chuck was not available. Darn. Now I really have to start thinking of a solution. Then a little light bulb went off inside my head *ping* heat up the tea kettle and pour boiling water over the ice. It felt like a message from heaven. I was rescued and could now rescue my poor, befuddled children.

I got my trusty tea kettle filled to the brim and set it to boiling. In the mean time, Donald Duck (aka: Gavin) wakes up and is all in a huff because the car is not on or ready and they are going to be late now. Good thing he woke up 10 minutes before he had to be out the door. I say that to explain the duress I was forced to work under. I had to stay extra calm because everyone around me (Gavin) was falling to pieces, if not literally, at least mentally. The worst possible scenario for him is to be late. Unfortunately, we were all working under a time crunch...I was also late to work.

Do you see the black driveway I'm standing on? That is a sheet of ice. I had Bennett go salt the driveway so I wouldn't fall down while carrying boiling hot water out to the car. In hindsight, that wasn't my best decision. The kid who just busted his thumb, broke his pinky and has a basketball game that night is the one I send out onto an inclined driveway covered in black ice. Like anything good can come from that. But I was laser focused on getting the car doors unstuck - I was liable to make some errors in judgement. Remember, I work best under perfect conditions and these were less than ideal.

I slip and slide my way outside (forgetting my coat), while holding boiling water in my very full tea kettle (after all, I needed enough water to pour over both doors). After only a few seconds, we found that my method was indeed successful. What do you know, I actually can problem solve while under stress. I learn something new everyday.

Unfortunately, that was not to be the end of our problems. Bennett was able to get in and get the car started, but they were still late and still needed time to warm up the car. And then there was the little matter of a windshield covered in a sheet of ice that was not going to defrost in less than 20 minutes. We didn't have that kind of time people. Our collective ETAs were negative 10 minutes. We were working on borrowed time. 

So I figured I could just repeat the tea kettle magic on the windshield. There was no time to think through this. Donald Duck was not happy. He didn't even give me enough time to bring the water to a full boil. I skimmed back across the ice a second time to pour my magic water over the frozen windshield and watched as the ice disappeared. The boys were off as soon as they could see through the glass.

I have to admit, I was rather proud of this moment of clarity and ingenuity. This doesn't happen often for me. I like to bask in success when I get it. I'm normally "learning from my mistakes" and "putting my foot in my mouth". I'm not usually lucky enough to save any days or solve any of life's bigger problems. But this one put me on the map....until I told Chuck.

It was then that I find out what apparently everyone else already knew....you're not supposed to put boiling water on a frozen windshield because it could 'supposedly' crack the glass. It was at that point that I became grateful for a flustered Donald Duck hovering over me and not giving me time to bring the water to a boil. Apparently my water was warm enough to melt the ice, but not too hot to crack the window. Whew! Disaster averted. I didn't even know I was about to cause a disaster. Things could have gone a lot worse this morning had my water gotten to a full boil. Then things would have been out of the scope of my ability to fix. As it was, I think we averted disaster effectively, if not only out of sheer luck. What I previously thought of as an ingenious plan where 'desperate times call for desperate measures' was actually another case of me "learning from my mistakes" again. If I haven't learned humility by now, I never will.

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